Dezeen Magazine

Project Maybach by Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh and Mercedes-Benz create solar-powered car with transparent front hood

German car brand Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a solar-cell-powered electric car designed with fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who passed away last weekend.

The show car, which was unveiled during Miami art week with the blessing of Abloh's family, is described as "a design unlike anything that has been developed by Mercedes-Benz".

Mercedes-Benz Maybach by Virgil Abloh
Project Maybach is powered by an electric battery

Created together with Mercedez-Benz chief design officer Gorden Wagener, every element of the car was built from scratch, the brand said.

The nearly six-metre long show car was designed with a transparent front bonnet, underneath which sits solar cells that would be used to charge the battery.

Electric show car by Abloh for Maybach
The car features a transparent front hood that protects solar cells

The battery operated "off-the-road coupe" seats two people and was inspired by the great outdoors.

Project Maybach "combines huge Gran Turismo proportions, large off-road wheels and distinctive attachements," Mercedes-Benz said.

The car was designed by Abloh, collaboratively with Wagener, as a "responsible vision of future design."

"The X-Factor nature of Project Maybach results not only from its breathtaking size – almost six meters long – and characteristics, but above all from its unique contrasts; most notably through how naturally authentic Mercedes-Maybach design elements are harmoniously combined with a new Outdoor Adventure design motif," Mercedes-Benz said.

Interior of Project Maybach car
Designed as an electric show car, Project Maybach is almost six metres long

The project was unveiled during Miami art week, which features events including Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami fairs.

Abloh, a prolific fashion designer who has previously worked on Mercedes-Benz' Geländewagen car, passed away last weekend at the age of 41 from an aggressive form of cancer.

His latest Mercedes-Benz collaboration, which was scheduled for 1 December, went ahead with the blessing of his family. Instead of a press event, the brand is showing Project Maybach at Miami's Rubell Museum from 1 to 2 December.

"Mercedes-Benz is devastated to hear of the passing of Virgil Abloh," Mercedes-Benz AG said.

"Our sincere thoughts are with Virgil's family and teams. Now opening the world of our collaboration, and Virgil's unique vision, to the public we want to respectfully celebrate the work of a truly unique design talent, who created endless possibilities for collaboration through his unbridled imagination and inspired all that knew his work."

Project Maybach is on show at Rubell Museum from 1 to 2 December during Miami art week, which includes Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.