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Detroit 2011: The automobile interior becomes a work of art

Muamer Hodzic January 12, 2011


At the 2011 North American International Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz not only captures visitors’ attention with fascinating automobiles and technical innovations, but enthrals with an art object as well. Interior Design at Mercedes-Benz in Germany has created a sculpture that expresses visually that which inspires designers, and on the other hand gives space to the creative artistic process in the design of the vehicle interior. It makes an aesthetics of sustainability visible and is oriented towards the perfect forms of nature which evolved over periods spanning millions of years.

Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No. 2 sculpture is this idea made visible. It consciously defies the shackles of the limited context of ergonomics, technical feasibility, formal constraints and, not least, the exterior of the vehicle, in order to impress the observer with its pure sensory-aesthetic appeal. In addition, the sculpture offers a preview of the clear-cut yet emotionally-appealing sculptural form language in the Mercedes-Benz interior design of the future. At the same time it is able to transport the high aesthetic, functional and sensuous aspirations characteristic of a Mercedes-Benz interior, bridging the gap between art and the aesthetics of Mercedes-Benz interior design. It compels the observer to pause for a moment, and challenges, interprets anew that which is already familiar in the vehicle interior, touching both the senses and rational reflection in doing so.


Professor Gorden Wagener, Head of Design: “At Mercedes-Benz, automobile design is artistic creation. Inspiration is the pre-condition for the calm, coherent yet passionately emotional design of our cars. In the interior sculpture Aesthetics No. 2 we have allowed creative fantasy to develop freely without constraints. We have followed Nature’s diversity & perfection; have given her friendliness an expression and a newly-interpreted space. Soft, gentle and infinitely beautiful is her manner of dealing with her resources, creating impressive aesthetics ever anew. We perceive this in every cell structure, every blossom, every living being. However, we do not simply mimic Nature, but learn instead from the intricate, all-encompassing interplay of her elements – this, too, is a hallmark of art.”
Further formal inspiration for the sculpture was suggested by sculpted natural landscapes such as deserts and canyons, but also came from architectural themes and the broad field of aeronautical construction. Thus the seating environment recalls the image of the gigantic wings of a majestic ray fish. The instrument panel produces associations with the wing and engine design of modern jets. The curves of the frame cell structure visually close upon themselves like arches of fluid metal, almost like the bloodstream system of a living organism, while the centre console recalls the skeletal structure of a vertebral column. Life itself, and not lifeless matter, stood model for the Mercedes-Benz interior sculpture. Everything is in flux, interwoven with everything else. In the words of the poet Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829): “Art is the nature of Nature.”

On a scale of 1.5 to 1 the sculpture measures 5.6 x 1.83 x 2.6 metres. The finely wrought frame painted in alubeam Liquid Metal is light and strong; the white seating landscapes look like ivory. The Interior Sculpture from Mercedes-Benz sets a multiple chain of associations in movement, symbolising the beauty, style , dynamism and quality of a unique brand history spanning over 125 years. As an automobile work of art Mercedes-Benz Interior Sculpture Aesthetics No. 2 also gives promises of future innovations. In its details it allows vague notions of what the interior of Mercedes-Benz vehicles might be like in the future. An artistic creative-forming process has begun. And reflections about the real future are also allowed.

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