At this years Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas we caught up with Head of Design for Mercedes-Benz, Gorden Wagener for an exclusive interview about the new Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion Concept and more.
Gorden Wagener has been the Head of Design at Daimler since 2008, when at just 39 years old hr became the youngest head of design in history, responsible for the designs of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler and Maybach passenger cars. Before following in the footsteps of Peter Pfeiffer, Wagener was responsible for Advanced Design and the head of the Mercedes-Benz design studios in California and Japan.
Gorden Wagener was born in 1968 in Essen, Germany and joined Mercedes-Benz in 1997 after finishing Industrial Design at the Essen university and Transportation Design at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1999 he was promoted to Head of Exterior-/Interior-Styling and designed the GL-, M- and R-Cass with his team. In 2002 Wagener also took over design responsibility for the A-, B-, C-, E-, CLK- und CLS-Class.
Q: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class W176 set a completely new style for Mercedes-Benz both in exterior and interior. Was there a design revolution behind the scenes?
A: The A-Class was the first car penned under my supervision. It embodies a much needed change of the entire brand. Overall the success of the A-Class and other radically changed models like the new S-Class has been overwhelming. The A-Class brought us between 60 and 80% new customers, mostly a young audience to whom we hadn’t appealed before. I believe the success of the A-Class will lead to more expressive cars in this segment.
Q: What role did your time at the Advanced Design Studio in California play for your designs today?
A: California is such a great place for inspiration. But travelling in general is a great way to get inspiration and fresh ideas. I still travel to California to get away and create new concepts and ideas.
Q: Can we consider the F125 as the predecessor of the F015?
A: Yes, but with the F015 we are moving even more towards purity and cleanness. With the F015 our aim was to create a cool, sexy and contemporary car.
Q: Dr Zetsche said it is key to go from technically feasible to commercially viable; which parts of the F015 concept do you really hope to make production?
A: The overall language we will see soon. The F015 gives a glimpse into the future, it doesn’t show this generation S-Class but shows the generation S-Class after next. I believe some of the high tech elements of the F105 will certainly make it to future cars.
Q: How does Autonomous Driving impact design?
A: Design is staging technology. The looks should emphasize and possibly even indicate autonomous driving. Through the use of technology and design elements we can give raise the awareness and looks of autonomous cars. The LEDs on the front and rear interact with the surroundings so others see the car is driving autonomously. And F015 has no edges which gives it a friendly look.
Q: What is your favorite design element of F015?
A: The silhoutte!
Q: What are the biggest design challenges for Mercedes-Benz?
A: Designing cars! We are designing a brand, more than just a car. Changing the brand was a fundamental challenge.
We like to thank Gorden Wagener for this opportunity!