Mercedes-Benz’s collaboration with the luxury designer and creative director Virgil Abloh took an unexpected turn last weekend with Abloh’s death from cancer at age 41.
Mercedes began working with Abloh, who at his death was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, in 2020 on Project Geländewagen, a re-imagining of the brand’s classic G-Class 4x4 described as a conceptual design project "to explore ways of disrupting future perceptions of luxury."
Abloh and Daimler design director Gordon Wagener then turned their hands to Project Maybach, announced in October, to imagine a show car for the Mercedes-Maybach brand that "exemplifies the possibility of design that is untethered by existing blueprints, or production specifications."
The result was unveiled this week at the Rubell Museum in Miami to coincide with Art Basel Miami. The show car is a two-door off-road-oriented electric vehicle with proportions that recall luxury cars of the 1930s such as the Bugatti Royale.
Mercedes-Maybach did not offer detailed specifications for the car, but said in a news release that solar cells under a clear hood would "increase the vehicle’s imagined range." At nearly six meters (20 feet) long, Project Maybach has "breathtaking size," Mercedes said, and combines Maybach brand design elements with a new "Outdoor Adventure" design motif.
Mercedes said that Abloh’s participation in the project would continue to inspire its design teams. "Whilst the Project Maybach show car was inspired by how one could explore nature within a uniquely luxury context with Maybach," Mercedes said, "the Mercedes-Benz teams thank Virgil Abloh for the inspiration to explore every day the power of cross-industry dialogue to imagine a better, more inclusive future."