The American fashion industry suffered a devastating loss with the sudden death of Virgil Abloh. Abloh, an Illinois native, was just 41 when he passed away from cardiac angiosarcoma in late November. Abloh was the Founder and CEO of Off-White, an Italian fashion company that collaborated with companies like Nike, Levi’s, and IKEA. He was also the Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton and the Creative Director at Donda as well.
Mercedes-Benz was of course shocked and saddened to hear the news of Virgil’s death and to pay respect to his memory, they quickly announced Project MAYBACH. Mercedes-Benz AG said “Mercedes-Benz is devasted to hear of the passing of Virgil Abloh… Our sincere thoughts are with Virgil’s family and teams. Now opening the world of our collaboration, and Virgil’s unique vision, to the public we want to respectfully celebrate the work of a truly unique design talent, who created endless possibilities for collaboration through his unbridled imagination and inspired all the knew his work.”
Following the wishes of Virgil’s family, Mercedes-Benz is honored to reveal Project MAYBACH: a collaborative electric show car designed to inspire the next generation, and forever question the status quo.
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On December 1, Mercedes-Benz paid tribute to Virgil Abloh by opening the doors of Miami’s Rubell Museum during Art Basel to showcase Project MAYBACH to the public from December 1 – December 2, with pre-event access, offered exclusively to students from local design schools. A humble contribution to Virgil’s vast legacy, the Mercedes-Maybach show car exemplifies future design possibilities and is the result of an ongoing cooperation with the polymath artist, architect, creative director, fashion designer and philanthropist; driven by a shared passion to enrich the conversation around luxury design.
Abloh collaborated with Gorden Wagener to completely reinvent Mercedes luxury in a new modern design. Virgil had previously collaborated with Mercedes-Benz on the G-Class wagon dubbed the Project Gelandewagen, a racecar version of sorts that was created off of a G Wagon. This design of the Maybach was created to push the limitations of function, style, and collaborative creativity. The design took massive inspirations from nature and the outdoors as well as design meshes off-road and an urban feel. The car was unveiled with the blessing of Virgil’s family.
The duo wanted to push conversation through provocative design, playing off of Abloh’s willingness to push the envelope and challenge the norms of any industry. The collaborated car is roughly 20-feet long, much like something a Bond villain would drive. It is one of the longest cars to be designed and takes Mercedes-Benz classic design elements and mixed in Abloh’s Outdoor Adventure medium. The project MAYBACH show car also features an interesting transparent hood to show the vehicles solar cells. Every single element of this vehicle was completely created from scratch and was designed to be a luxurious off-road coupe, something that you cannot get outside of a Jeep.
Mercedes has gone out of their way to thank Virgil for the inspiration for this concept car, and really plan to use his example of bold design and build off the conversations his work ignited. The point of this truly unique vehicle is to pay homage to the great mind and legendary innovative skill Vigil possessed in his short time with us. Off his memory, Mercedes-Benz looks to push the envelope of what can be done with modern vehicle design and imagine a better and more inclusive automotive future