LUX stops off at the Mercedes-Benz Design Centre in Nice to hear about its latest projects – from EVs to NFTs, and everything in between
Few places can evoke desire like the Cote d’Azur. Home to the world’s superelite and their superyachts, it is where the most exclusive communities migrate in summertime – and where the aspirational go to see them.
All of which made it a fitting backdrop for Mercedes-Benz’s latest Design Essentials instalment, ‘The Art of Creating Desire’. Presented between their Design Centre in Nice – a cylindrical, spaceship-like structure hidden in the pine forest of France’s tech hub – and the newly-opened Maybourne Riviera, the showcase featured the marque’s latest projects and outlooks on the future of luxury.
‘We aspire to design the most desirable cars in the world. With Design Essentials, we illustrate how we approach this privilege in concrete terms,’ explained Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener. ‘The venue – our Design Centre in Nice – plays a central role in this. I see it as a creative melting pot where we forge ideas for the luxury cars of the future.’
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That future, according to Mercedes-Benz, is digital. The marque has joined as the fifth and final founding member of the Aura Blockchain Consortium – a non-profit association of luxury brands investing in blockchain solutions for the industry – alongside LVMH, Prada Group, OTB Group, and Cartier, part of Richemont.
‘Every product going forward will have a digital twin,’ explained Daniela Ott, General Secretary of Aura. ‘This is for all the use cases you can imagine, from traceability and provenance to resale and second-hand, NFTs and using the physical products you own in the metaverse’. In Mercedes’ case – the first and only premium automotive manufacturer to have joined the consortium – this means providing new digital art experiences both in-car and beyond.
Elsewhere, the marque is strengthening its commitment to the global fashion scene with the concept Mercedes-Maybach Haute Voiture, an S-Class reimagined through an haute couture lens. The car, which is expected to appear in 2023 in a limited release of 150 units, features a two-tone midnight blue and champagne exterior, and a nappa leather interior with bouclé fabric and gold trim.
We also had a sneak peek of the new Limited Edition Mercedes-Maybach. Soon to be available in a 150-unit run, the model was borne out of Project MAYBACH, the off-road EV concept created in collaboration with the late artist and fashion designer Virgil Abloh, which was presented at the Rubell Museum during Miami Art Week. The limited edition model marks the third and final collaboration with Abloh, whose Project Geländewagen set a benchmark for fashion and automotive collaborations in 2020.
The grand finale took place over aperitifs at the Maybourne, where we were introduced to the Vision AMG, Mercedes’ new, all-electric sports car concept, slated for release in 2025. The car offers a preview of the all-electric future of Mercedes’ performance brand, having embarked on an electrification plan which will see electrified alternatives in every segment by the end of 2022, and an all-electric fleet by 2030.
Speaking of the formal aspect of the Vision AMG, Wagener said, ‘it continues to write the history of the VISION EQXX and raises it to a completely new level’.
If the future really is electric, we want to do it in the Vision AMG.
Find out more: mercedes-benz.com