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Since Virgil Abloh teased the project in July, we’ve been waiting to see what Project Geländewagen looks like
A master at the art of collaboration, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear and Off-White founder Virgil Abloh has just teamed up with Bape founder Nigo on Drake-approved LV Squared, while at Off-White he raised the stakes (and continues to do so) in the sneaker game with the highly sought after “the ten” back in 2017.
Now his largest creative partnership to date is here and, unusually, it’s neither trainer nor apparel-focused. Instead, Project Geländewagen has seen Abloh take Mercedes-Benz’s iconic G-Class automobile for a spin, recasting it as a piece of art.
Made in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz’s Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener, Abloh’s creation sees the G-Class go down an avenue it has never been before: the racing track. The 39-year-old’s design has a stripped back, sportier feel than the 2001 OG, and the indicators, outside mirrors and the bumper bar have all been removed.
Furthermore, the body of the car has been widened and lowered, the tyres and spare wheel exaggerated, and the interiors totally revamped. The dashboard has been removed and replaced with a clean version encapsulating an analogue speedometer and fuel gauges, often seen in classic cars, while the steering wheel and seats are akin to those of a Formula 1 vehicle. Additional key racing elements, such as the safety frame and the 5-point seat belts, have been remade in bold baby blue and bright red tones.
Of the collaboration, Abloh spoke to exclusively to GQ: “When you think of great design, across different practices and industries, there’s no denying that Mercedes-Benz is at the top of that list. The brand has shaped my own experience of automobiles and motor vehicles. I so heavily associated it with hip-hop music videos when I was young and I think that definitely shaped my perception around cars and they became signifiers of my own culture.”
Wagener, the man who allowed Abloh to touch the automobile in the first place, said of the partnership: “It was the best collaboration I have ever had with a designer from a different industry, which sometimes can be difficult, but this was a truly fruitful collaboration. It feels like we were magically drawn together and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will continue.”
And while you might fancy taking Abloh’s G-Class for a spin yourself, we’re sad to reveal that this is in fact a one-off deal. It will be auctioned as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated later this month, with all proceeds going to charities that support the creative industries. “My mission in everything I do has always been to pave the way for those coming after me,” Abloh told us. “To show young kids that they too can accomplish these feats. Now more than ever, I’m committed to supporting young talents.”
Wagener said of the decision to head to the auction house: “Culture and the arts have always played an important part in both Mercedes-Benz products and the brand, so it was important to us that this project would support the international creative communities continue to thrive under these difficult circumstances.”
Virgil Abloh, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Gorden Wagener
World news – GB – Exclusive: Virgil Abloh on his Mercedes G-Class project