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Mercedes-Benz inaugurates Advanced Design Studio in Beijing, China

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Mercedes-Benz inaugurated its global Advanced Design Center in Beijing, China, yesterday, Thursday July 21. The Beijing design center, Daimler's fifth advanced design studio worldwide, further reinforces the growing importance of the Chinese auto market and Beijing in particular; the city is increasingly influencing changing needs and trends.

The new 1,000 square meter Advanced Design Studio employs a total of around 20 designers who will contribute to the future design of Mercedes-Benz automobiles, competing and working with the company's other studios in Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA.

Speaking at the event, Steffen Kohl, Head of Global Advanced Design Mercedes-Benz, said: "For us at Mercedes-Benz, we see design as a trademark. Design has been shaping our image since our beginnings, defining our core value of fascination, responsibility and perfection. It is not a matter of chasing fads but working on long-living, outstanding, sensual and sporty design, Mercedes-Benz Design will always enhance our brand, ensuring our ideas meet the highest standards in aesthetics, technology, performance, comfort and safety, in line with our ‘the best or nothing' brand philosophy."

The new Beijing-based Advanced Design center will serve as seismograph, recording and analyzing stylistic trends and incorporating them into the creative process. In particular, the design team will strongly draw on inspiration from the surroundings in China, taking into account cultural and environmental influences – such as road congestion and lack of parking – to truly think about all aspects of future mobility in China, Malaysia, Japan and Philippines.

The multi-cultural environment allows for a complete international approach, enhancing creativity in the development of mobility solutions for the world-both for the interior and exterior design of future generation vehicles.

"With Beijing being a dynamic and vibrant megacity, it is progressively shaping future trends, making the establishment of our Advanced Design Center here timely," said Olivier Boulay, Vice President of the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center, China. "As designers, we need to ‘live in the future' thinking at least two or three vehicle generations ahead. For us, that means considering every aspect of future mobility, including things such as town planning and improvements in infrastructure. This new studio will provide a creative environment for us all to indulge our imaginations, free of commercial constraints."

Although Daimler now has a dedicated Advanced Design studio in Beijing, there has actually been a design office here since the beginning of 2009, working on various projects. One such project, already being hailed a design icon, is the Smart eScooter concept shown at last year's Paris auto show.

A nod to future intelligent green mobility solutions, the eScooter's compact dimensions have been designed to incorporate many features, including ample storages space and safety features such as an airbag, ABS braking system and Blind Spot Assist. One of the most innovative design features is the integrated smartphone, which serves as the eScooter's control and communications center. The celebrated design is a promising sign of what is yet to come from the Beijing design team.

"The opening of the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design center in Beijing underlines Daimler's commitment to China, by recognizing the increasing importance of this market and the influence it is having on design trends and mobility solutions worldwide," said Ulrich Walker, chairman and CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia Ltd. "As such, this studio will play an essential part of our clearly defined strategy to ensure sustainable business growth, with China predicted to be our largest market globally by 2015, through annual sales of 300,000 vehicles, design influences from this region will become more important in the cars of tomorrow."

Mercedes' Advanced Design Studios provide creative environments for designers to indulge their imaginations, free of series production constraints. The first studio outside of Germany went into operation at a location in California (USA) in June 1990, which has since relocated to a larger building in Carlsbad. A regular exchange of ideas and creative personnel takes place between the center and its sister studios in Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan) and Sindelfingen (Germany). The design studio in Como (Italy) is concerned exclusively with vehicle interiors.

The staff based in Como soaks up regional influences to create new ideas for interiors. In Asia, the markets in Japan and China demand perfectly crafted vehicles that offer the best in ergonomics and functionality, so design studios in Tokyo and Beijing track down trends in this area and integrate them into vehicle design.

By Guoqing Xie & Jianan Bai