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The world recently lost a creative legend with the passing of Virgil Abloh. Abloh was the menswear creative designer for the Louis Vuitton brand as well as the founder of his own fashion company, Off White. While his name may not roll from the tip of your tongue, you certainly know his work. He died of cancer, Sunday, November 28, 2021. He was 41.

He was not only known for his work in the fashion world; He dabbled in other fields, too. These included polymath art, architecture, future design and philanthropy. He was very active with the concept of future luxury in lifestyle and automobiles. Following his passing and with the permission from his family, Mercedes-Benz revealed Project Maybach. It’s a collaboration between Abloh and Mercedes-Benz. Napleton News is honored to display it here.

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Playing in dirt: Project MAYBACH, a collaboration between Mercedes-Maybach and designer Virgil Abloh.

Mercedes-Benz paid tribute to Abloh by opening a display to the general public at the Rubell Museum in Miami Beach during Art Basel Week. This was in place of a typical press conference-style event. Mercedes realized the importance of the work and opted to show it to all who could attend.

Project Maybach with Virgil Abloh

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Sidelines: Project MAYBACH, a collaboration between Mercedes-Maybach and designer Virgil Abloh.

Many collaborations in the luxury sector were created by Abloh. One of the latest was his work with Mercedes-Benz and the creation of Project MAYBACH. A departure from anything ever created in the past by Mercedes-Benz, Project MAYBACH is a completely handbuilt design. Created in conjunction with Daimler Design Chief Gordon Wagener, it is a two-seat battery-electric off-road coupe. It features huge, exaggerated Gran Turismo proportions with generous off-road clearances and various distinctive accessories and attachments.

The designer started with a clean slate and a blank canvas. As such, there were no constraints that kept Abloh from using his imagination to create what could be. Key was a responsible vision of future design. That meant complete creative freedom to design what he wanted, completely untethered by production requirements. This way, the design teams were free to conceptualize what electric travel might look like. A good example of this is the transparent surfaces located on the front hood, which feature solar cells to increase the “imagined” range of the vehicle.

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The interior of Project MAYBACH, a collaboration between Mercedes-Maybach and designer Virgil Abloh.

Project Maybach as a conversation starter

Virgil Abloh was never one to shy away from a conversation started by a brow-raising design. Project MAYBACH was one of those efforts that challenged convention and redirected aspirational design rules.

Possessing an X-Factor nature, Project MAYBACH really pushes the envelope. Start with its breathtaking size; It’s nearly 20-feet long and includes an exaggerated look at authentic Mercedes-Maybach design elements in an Outdoor Adventure design theme.

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Project MAYBACH, a collaboration between Mercedes-Maybach and designer Virgil Abloh.

The design team at Mercedes-Benz summed it up best when they said, “The power of Abloh’s work is not only from the product design but also the exploratory conversations that his work ignited. While the Project MAYBACH show car was inspired by how one could explore nature within a uniquely luxurious context with Maybach, the Mercedes-Benz teams thank Virgil Abloh for the inspiration to explore the power of cross-industry dialogue to imagine a better, more inclusive future.”

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