Advanced design: Working on the future

Jan 27, 2017

The Mercedes‑Benz Design team’s daily work centres on evolving vehicles which only see the light of day many years down the road. Their colleagues at the five Advanced Design Studios journey even further into the future, drawing on global trends and taking up new ideas from other continents and cultures.

At five locations worldwide, Mercedes‑Benz has set up Advanced Design studios which pick up stylistic trends at local level, analysing them and applying them to the creative process. In this way they act as seismographs, as it were, for trends in areas such as art, culture and architecture. In particular, this involves intuitively picking up on developments which might be suitable for incorporation into timeless design and acquiring an instinct for important, lasting trends. The Advanced Design Studios provide important input to drive the ongoing development of the Mercedes‑B enz design philosophy of Sensual Purity and to apply new design ideas with the aim of establishing trends which will continue to give a Mercedes‑Benz a sensual and aesthetic character in the future without betraying its roots and its brand identity.

The Advanced Designers also actively advance the portfolio strategy in the role of visionaries within the company.

Advanced Design work is manifested in show cars such as the “F 015 Luxury in Motion” (world premiere at CES in Las Vegas, 2015), the “Concept IAA” (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 2015) and the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 (world premiere in Pebble Beach, August 2016), a spectacular luxury coupé. The 2+2-seater is a homage to the glorious age of the Aero coupés as a self-assured future vision of this tradition. This brings the future to life for industry observers and the public at large and paves the way for design and technology trends. Show cars also serve to sound out how new concepts are received.

“Beauty acquires a deeper meaning by pointing towards something that is set to emerge in the future”, notes Steffen Köhl, Head of Advanced Exterior Design. “Inspired by this spirit, we apply ourselves to developing the automotive portfolio of the future on a daily basis at our Advanced Design Studios around the world”.

“The Advanced Design Studios are creative environments”, Steffen Köhl continues. Our designers here translate personal and cultural inspirations into visions of future mobility, giving free rein to their imaginations without having to concern themselves directly with series production considerations”.

The designers at the Advanced Studios draw inspiration from their local settings, as they live in places where they have their fingers very much on the pulse of the times and are the first to witness the emergence of new global trends. “Advanced Design serves as a catalyst to fire the imagination of the other design areas”, observes Köhl. “Our network of Studios located around the globe means that we live and work in the future 24 hours a day”. The Studios at a glance:

  • The Advanced Design Center in Sindelfingen/Germany is the central think tank of Mercedes‑n n Benz Advanced Exterior Design. Show cars, research vehicles, product and design proposals originate from here. This is where the design idiom to be embodied by the brand in 20 or 30 years’ time takes shape. Sindelfingen also serves as the coordination centre for all the other Advanced Design Studios around the globe. In order to maintain a close dialogue, the Mercedes‑Benz Advanced designers from the various Studios located abroad meet up regularly in Germany. As a rule, everyone is involved in the early phase of a vehicle project. The international influences also come into play in subsequently defining the design of the series production vehicle.
  • At the Advanced Exterior Design Studio in Carlsbad/USA designers evolve the exteriors of show cars, vehicle studies and mobility concepts for tomorrow and beyond. The typically Californian take on life influences work here, as does the proximity to Hollywood. This gives rise to a very special form of creativity in Carlsbad which opens up new horizons and is also reflected in Mercedes‑Benz series production design. The Studio’s remit also extends to picking up on automotive and lifestyle trends, ideas and developments in America. The unique Mercedes‑Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity is recognisable in all the Studio’s projects, however. Carlsbad also collaborates closely with the other Advanced Design Studios.
  • The Advanced Design Studio in Beijing/China is the beating heart of the regional Research & Development centre and the company’s new design hub in Asia. Its primary purpose is to offer Asian customers an even fuller Mercedes‑Benz brand experience. As a seismograph for design, cultural and mobility trends, the studio is an integral part of Daimler’s global design network. The creative inspiration from China enriches the work in the field of Mercedes‑Benz design. The scope of activities ranges from Advanced Design concept vehicles through various cooperation projects to competition with the other design studios for commissions to design production vehicles.
  • The Mercedes‑Benz Advanced UX Design Studio in Sunnyvale/USA forms part of Mercedes‑Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. Mercedes‑B enz was the first automobile manufacturer in the world to open a research and development centre in Silicon Valley, back in 1995. The location is ideal for close cooperation with experts from various disciplines: apart from the benefits resulting from the proximity to the world-class universities in Stanford and Berkeley, the Design Center is also in close dialogue with many local high-tech companies. The respective teams benefit from mutual inspiration, taking new trends on board, some of which are embodied in show cars and production vehicles today. The experts at the Advanced Design Studio in Sunnyvale focus on the design of the digital user experience and interactions, specialising in operating experiences for future Mercedes‑Benz vehicles, concept and research vehicles and digital applications in other fields.
  • The designers at the Advanced Interior Design Studio Como/Italy work on interior concepts intended for application well into the future, with a particular focus on colour & trim. The villa dating from 1750 provides an exceptionally inspiring environment for the designers, with its period ceiling frescos, far-reaching perspectives and a variety of flooring in terracotta and wood. It is situated in the region between Como, Milan and Turin. This is where the furniture industry and the fashion world are at home - and the designers draw on these influences in their daily work. Great importance is attached to traditional craftsmanship here - making this an ideal setting for the Advanced Interior Design Studio.