LUXURY IN MOTION (Auto&Design n.211)
From modern luxury to luxury in motion. This is the direction Mercedes-Benz’s design philosophy is taking in the context of the “sensual purity” pursued by Gorden Wagener. The F 015 concept vehicle presented at the Las Vegas CES and later in Detroit, is a milestone in the quest for the “car of the future” and the exciting prospect of autonomous driving. “We wanted a luxury car with the interiors of a comfortable lounge”, explains Daimler’s design chief: “We were looking for a combination of sensuality and purity expressed in a special, intelligent, emotional fashion while still demonstrating a pioneering spirit”.
A creature of Advanced Design, where Steffen Köhl is responsible for externals, this concept is characterized by a monolithic structure: rather than speak of volumes, Wagener prefers to talk about “spaceflow”, a highly fluid movement from grille to tail: a single line that runs from very low at the front, wraps round the roof of the cabin and drops down to the tail after forming muscular shoulders on the rear wheels. The sides, to whose visual structure a contribution is made by the very low skirts between the enormous 26 inch wheels, are made even more eye-catching by the apparent lack of pillars (there are no B pillars and the doors open 90 degrees).
Everything’s new in the F 015: from the big front and rear lighting modules, a whole mass of LEDs (even the Mercedes star is made of lights) able to “communicate” with the outside world (for example signalling to a pedestrian that he has been seen, or projecting a pedestrian crossing on to the road to invite him or her to cross), to what Wagener calls “a perfect symbiosis between the virtual and the real” thanks to the interior side panels, enormous touch screens developed in the Sunnyvale studio in California through which the occupants communicate with the outside.
It should never be forgotten that this is a “Vision 2030+” but that according to the people in Sindelfingen, it is destined to become reality. In this context, the interiors, the work of the Como studio headed by Michele Jauch Paganetti with the final touches added by the designers led by head of Mercedes interiors Hartmut Sinkwitz, take on great importance: from the seats with aluminium frame lined with a soft and elegant white napp leather to the light-coloured wood floor, in a fusion of organic and synthetic materials that transform the lounge into a livable as well as a digital space of the future.