Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 7, 2010 01:15 PM
Mercedes-Benz is looking down the road, and it sees a future that extends beyond luxury cars. The company has just launched "Mercedes-Benz Style," a design division that will be broad in its scope.
While the move may seem unusual to some, Mercedes-Benz design head Gorden Wagener defends the move to expand the brand's horizons, sleek aesthetic and expertise to a wider arena of products.
"We are in no way entering new territory," he comments. "In the past, our design team has already styled such products as watches and interiors... Mercedes-Benz design stands for innovation, trend-setting, enduring style."
He adds that the division has "met with a very positive response from a great number of manufacturers in a variety of sectors."
Mercedes-Benz Style will perform commissioned work as well as offer design licenses, which will give a manufacturer the right to use the styling. In the case of a license, a manufacturer can decide whether or not to utilize the Mercedes-Benz branding.
Wagener says the goal is "to establish our specific styling in its uniqueness as a brand in other product areas—either by selling a new design or granting a license. At the same time this field of activity will in turn have its own inspirational effect by helping to extend the creative spectrum of our own designers."
In a way, it's going back to the roots of its logo. The original meaning of its famed "Three-Pointed Star" trademarked symbol was mobility on land, water, and in the air.
In addition to car design, Mercedes-Benz Style is currently working on styling the interior of a helicopter and the exterior of a luxury yacht, completing the trifecta.
But Wagener says any product is fair game, even beyond transportation—furniture, lifestyle products, industrial design, and anything else—as long as "both the product and the manufacturer match our exclusive design and brand standards."
So don't be surprised if you see the Mercedes-Benz name popping up in all sorts of unlikely places.