Louis Vuitton’s very own artistic director of menswear, Virgil Abloh, has taken a quick u-turn away from clothes and towards the famous German SUV, the Mercedes G-Wagen. He’s modified the car, removing its off-roading abilities and instead focussing on the aesthetics of the brick-like SUV. And while it may not be to some taste, it’s certainly worth looking at.
Named Project Geländewagen, it first hit headlines in July as the G-Wagen turned 40 years old. Abloh worked alongside Gorden Wagener, chief designer at Mercedes, to create this design. Surprise, surprise, you can’t drive it. But, like I said, it’s an interesting take on the car.
“I like things that stand out in a crowd,” Abloh said, adding that the car has an “unassuming silhouette” and that it was built originally “for the mountain,” and not the race track. “We played with this freedom of cross-pollinating different attributes of race cars and car design,” he continued.
But it’s not a car to the designer, who describes the car as a sculpture over something to drive. And like most other pieces of art, it will be on the market soon enough. Sotheby’s is also looking to auction off a smaller version with bidding beginning September 14.
“(Concept cars have) an eye to the future — maybe technology that didn’t exist yet, or show (what) the future would be,” Abloh explains to CNN.
“We have had that same unbounded passion to push our professions forward and break rules along the way.”
Wagener then continued, naming the G-Wagen an “iconic car,” adding that Abloh “really brings…it out of the automotive world into a new world of luxury.
“(We wanted) to put the G into a completely different environment.
“Everybody puts it off road…that’s already out there. So we did the opposite. We turned it into a race car and put it down to the ground and put big racing tires on it.”
The project began with the duo “stripping off all unnecessary parts,” and the white paint acted as a fresh canvas to build on. A roll cage painted in baby blue was then added, alongside similar coloured exhaust tips and white racing seats. This contrasts with bright red racing harnesses with their surnames stitched into them. The whole car was hen lowered dramatically, and yellow tyre lettering was used on the tyres with inspiration coming from NASCAR.
Abloh commented on how his work evolved into this motoring-based project:
“My career trajectory started in design in a more traditional multidisciplinary sense, within architecture and engineering before I (started in) fashion.
“I look at my work as metaphoric — what can exist in different disciplines of design, how you can form a new design language, and engage a younger audience, across icons, using some different techniques and investigations.”