Mercedes-Benz has joined forces with American designer Virgil Abloh to create Project Geländewagen, a contemporary design piece to help raise money for a charity that supports international creative communities.
The result, something of a cross between a Hot Wheels car and a sneaker, seeks to showcase the iconic shape of the G-Class, while offering a stripped and simplified representation of luxury.
Art can be pretty deep.
The exterior has been reduced to its most basic form, with handles (bar a pull-strap on the front door) and superfluous trim removed, and all elements are finished in the same gloss white paint.
Slick balloon tyres on white monoblock rims offer an almost cartoonish stance, while the window glass has mostly been replaced by stockcar-like netting.
Crossed-tape over the headlights, a nod to historic motorsport, is also reminiscent of the ‘crossed eyes’ motif used by American artist KAWS.
Inside, everything has been stripped back to the bare painted metal of the G, replaced with a pastel blue roll cage contrasting against flashes of red and a hugely simplified dashboard.
Curiously, all the running hardware looks to be in place, making this a 430kW twin-turbo V8 sculpture.
Abloh, currently the Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton and a former creative collaborator with Kanye West, is seeking to use the project by “inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities.”
Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer, Gordon Wagner says of the project:
“With Project Geländewagen, we create a unique artwork that showcases future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary.
"The result is something between reality and future.”
A replica of the Abloh/Wagner Project Geländewagen will be auctioned as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated collection, with bidding available from September 14.