2011 Detroit Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No. 2 sculpture is a true masterpiece

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 11, 2011

For Mercedes-Benz, the 2011 North American International Detroit Auto Show is not just about displaying its latest automobile offerings or even showcasing its recent technical innovations. It is also about capturing the people’s attention using art.

For the show, the brand’s Interior Design has managed to make a sculpture that conveys in a visual manner the inspiration of designers. It also allows for a chance to show the creative artistic process involved in designing the interior. Named as Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No. 2, it demonstrates the aesthetics of sustainability while remaining focused on perfect forms found in nature that are the result of millions of years of evolution.

The sculpture knowingly defies the chains that limit the technical feasibility, ergonomics, formal constraints, and the exterior of the vehicle. The reason for this is that it hopes to influence the viewer using a purely sensory-aesthetic appeal. The sculpture also gives viewers a sample of the emotionally-appealing but clear-cut sculptural form language that will be part of the brand’s future interior design.

It also manages to convey the functional and aesthetic ambitions the interior of the Mercedes-Benz is known for. Meaning, it can bridge the gap between aesthetics and the art of the interior design. The overall result is that it makes the viewer pause for a moment. It even manages to challenge and give a new interpretation to what some believe is already familiar for a car interior. As such, it can touch both senses and provide a rational reflection of why it does so.

Head of Design Professor Gorden Wagener said that automobile design at the company is about artistic creation. Inspiration is an important pre-condition in order to have an emotional, passionately but coherent and clam design of all the company’s cars. With the Aesthetics No. 2 sculpture, Prof. Wagener added, the company has managed to develop creative fantasy to go free and without any constraints.

The company has followed the diversity & perfection found in Nature by giving her friendliness and a newly-interpreted space, he further added. Gentle, soft, and infinitely beautiful -- this is her way of dealing with the resources and creating amazing aesthetics anew. According to Prof. Wagener, the company noticed this in every cell structure, blossom, and living being.

Mercedes-Benz however, he continued, did not just copy Nature but instead studied and learned from the complex and wide-ranging interplay of the elements, which represent the hallmark of art as well. Serving as additional inspiration for the sculpture was sculpted natural landscapes like those seen in canyons and deserts.

Architectural themes and the wide field of aeronautical construction also formed part of the inspiration. As a result, the seating environment gives an image of being in the gigantic wings of a grand ray fish. The instrument panel meanwhile gives the suggestion of the engine and wing design seen in modern jets. Looking at the curves of its frame cell structure, they give the visual appearance as if they are closing on themselves like that of the arches of fluid metal.

A good analogy would be that it is like that of the bloodstream of a living being. The center console meanwhile gives the effect of a skeletal structure, similar to a vertebral column. In general, it can be said that the Mercedes-Benz interior sculpture was not based on lifeless matter but rather on life itself. Like life, everything is fluid and intertwined with all the others. Clearly, "Art is the nature of Nature," to quote the poet Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829).

Press Release

Mercedes-Benz interior sculpture Aesthetics No. 2: The automobile interior becomes a work of art

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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