Immersive public art redefining our relationship to public spaces
by Vatsala SethiDec 30, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Feb 22, 2023
To announce their collaboration Moncler and Mercedes Benz shared an Instagram post with the caption, 'Expect the unexpected.' Raising the curiosity of the fans of both brands, the image carousel—with parts of a Benz G Class automobile decked in Moncler's shiny puffer jacket— only gave a limited glimpse into what the collaboration could potentially be. On February 20, 2023, at Moncler's The Art of Genius show at the Olympia in London, United Kingdom, the Italian luxury fashion house and German luxury automotive brand unveiled the fruit of their labour through an immersive environment titled The Art of Imagination. The live event that was part of London Fashion Week 2023, also presented Moncler’s collaboration with artists and brands such as Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Adidas Originals, FRGMT, Salehe Bembury, Palm Angels, and ROC NATION by Jay-Z.
Exhibited as part of the show was PROJECT MONDO G, which merges the iconic G-Class with Moncler’s distinctive design elements. The iconic art piece was revealed at the show as an immersive installation, representing an otherworldly environment within the universe of The Art of Imagination campaign. The campaign visualisations were shot in a winter landscape inspired by the outdoor durability and limitless discovery opportunities of the off-roader G-Class and the puffer jacket of Moncler. Set in an imaginary universe with low gravity, the campaign captured fashionable moments of Moncler with models in conceptual looks from the brand’s collection.
Mirroring this concept, the dramatic set design of The Art of Imagination show also narrated the ability of the G-Class and the Moncler puffer jacket to withstand the harshest conditions. The PROJECT MONDO G—the campaign's star—was exhibited in grandiose fashion over a rough glacier setting. With dimensions 4.6 m in length, 2.8 m in height, 3.4 m in width (with wheels) and weighing 2.5 tons, the PROJECT MONDO G was crafted as a sculptural object, reflecting the angular design of the G-Class and the soft, flowing lines of the quilted textile design.
The holistic appearance of the show imparts strong values of both brands and a fusion of their practicality and functionality. However, a detailed inspection of the design of the artistic automobile, reveals that the immersive space and artwork exhibit unique features of the automotive design of the vehicle and the luxury design jacket. The contrast of the rough patina finish body and the high-gloss reflective surfaces extends to a dialogue between luxury and craftsmanship brought forth by the collaboration. The PROJECT MONDO G bears a huge zipper, another striking element of design imbibed in the vehicle, referenced from the Moncler jackets.
"The collaboration with Moncler inspired us to create a real iconic sculpture on wheels—a very bold design statement: our PROJECT MONDO G. Based on our design philosophy Sensual Purity, this art piece merges extremely contrasting forms and surfaces: spacecraft shiny materials with a used patina look; strong geometry of the G-Class with organic forms of Moncler puffer jackets. Two strong luxury brands offer an extraordinary new experience by combining automotive and fashion worlds united in one piece. Because of the over-dimensional and exaggerated language of forms, it’s polarising art to set new impulses and trends,” shared Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Mercedes-Benz Group AG.
The live show was an attempt by the Italian fashion house to redefine the year of Genius. Moncler Genius was launched in 2018 with an aim to showcase the power of collaboration in the luxury industry and move away from the traditional two-season fashion calendar to monthly collections and a continuous flow of newness. The Art of Genius was this year’s initiative from Moncler to take this concept forward. At the 2023 live show in London, co-creators from different industries brought forth their own unique brand of Genius in their own immersive installations and concepts. Apart from The Art of Imagination by Mercedes Benz were The Art of Terrain by Pharrell Williams, The Art of Dreaming by Alicia Keys, The Art of Exploration by Adidas Originals, The Art of Elements by Salehe Bembury, The Art of Love by FRGMT, The Art of All by ROC NATION by Jay-Z and The Art of Lightness by Palm Angels.
While brand collaborations always create noise, especially in the fashion industry, the recent ones have been rather disheartening. Translating to Moncler’s collaboration garnering comparatively low excitement. However, at the large-scale live show, the Italian luxury brand enthralled the audience with an immersive exhibition, where fashion became art and art became an experience. With exaggerated representations of concepts varying from technology, fashion, and music to nature and city, The Art of Genius reinstated the brand’s claims of cross-industry collaborations being a potential niche for change.
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