Mercedes-Benz – one dream,
Mercedes-Benz design philosophy.
Innovation rooted in tradition.
"No other brand can boast of such legendary vehicles," says Professor Gorden Wagener, who, since 2008, has been tasked with leading Mercedes-Benz Design towards a progressive design approach. The designers who work in the unit today consciously focus on updating the history of the automobile.
"Think about the post-war period: this is when the modern saloon and racing touring car was born – specifically the "Ponton" (pontoon) saloon from 1953 and the 300 SL. Prior to that, the 30s was the era of the coachbuilder specialist, the great art deco vehicles, the grandezza. In each era the vehicles all shared a common thread linking them to a unique tradition.
The Mercedes-Benz philosophy today is based on three pillars: tradition, innovation and the future."
No other brand can boast of such legendary vehicles.
Aspiring to a perfect symbiosis of the historic past and the future is central to the design idiom. "What I particularly like about our work and Mercedes-Benz is that we have the opportunity to take something from the past and modernise it, to create something new from it for future generations, to improve and enhance it, shaping it to match the new century," explains Professor Wagener.
Effortless superiority, dynamism, elegance, but also safety, reinforcement and quality are indispensable attributes which even Professor Wagener has inherited. "Mercedes-Benz is like a chess board on which 125 years of history are lined up. It is up to us to decide what we will keep and what we will discard. In the past we were allowed to do anything when designing each new model. It was a very creative process but resulted in completely different products. By contrast, our main objective is to link together the brand and the design. The purpose of the design idiom is to communicate the product values that best correspond to the brand."
A Mercedes-Benz can always be recognised as a Mercedes-Benz.Watch Film
Focus on design
The Mercedes-Benz design gene.
Despite pioneering innovations, the creative designers take great care and work meticulously to ensure that certain design features continue to evolve, yet still retain the brand's style. The designers also refer to these features as the brand's "gene pool". They use this "pool" to maintain, preserve and further enhance the style of the brand.
This applies to production vehicles as well as to research cars, show cars and sculptures. The designers and inventors in the five Advanced Design Studios are always one step ahead of their time. This is where the concepts of the future are born.
The concepts of the future ...
Be more daring.
According to Hans-Dieter Futschik, Director of Exterior Design, some vehicles are evolutionary, while others are revolutionary. "Seventy percent of our work is in developing show cars, the portfolio for the future, new mobility features and development testing feasibility. The remaining thirty percent involves providing support for product studies. We need to be innovative and introduce new design idioms for Mercedes-Benz as well as for smart. We need to be more daring than the others because we need to provide the foundation for the new strategy and new architectures," adds Steffen Köhl, Head of the Advanced Design Centre in Sindelfingen.
All ideas and drafts converge on his desk – from Sindelfingen in Germany via Tokyo to Carlsbad in California and Beijing in China.
In addition are the design centers in Como, Italy and Palo Alto, California that are also responsible for interior design and are therefore under Harmut Sinkwitz's directive.
"What we develop shouldn't ignite the passion only in us; it has to promote the brand," explains Sinkwitz. "The new design idiom polarises our path as we search for modernity and new niches, but the past still remains important."
It is this symbiosis between brand history and aesthetics that makes a Mercedes-Benz what it is and what it is allowed to be worldwide.
Quality and beauty.
Head of Design, Gorden Wagener takes the task of design even one step further. He considers a designer at Mercedes-Benz to be the ambassador of the product, to be "its lawyer who lobbies for the selection of high-quality materials and the necessary investments."
Sophistication, love and a taste for details as well as painstaking attention to the materials used for both the exterior and the interior are all part of the job.