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AMG design never takes a subordinate role to power and dynamism. It combines both into one entity and brings each feature to life with emotion IIn his spare time, Volker Hellwig designs and builds a piece of furniture every now and then. For relaxation. “The furniture you buy in a store never quite fits where you want it to – neither visually nor in terms of size,” says the head of AMG Design. And so Volker Hellwig first reached for a pen, then for a saw, and crafted out of oak his idea of the perfect synergy of good looks and comfort – in this case, a bench. At AMG, Volker Hellwig’s design rationale is more comprehensive. Probably no other object combines so many areas of design as the automobile. Every component feeds on the tension between perfect function and perfect form. Under the direction of Volker Hellwig, around 20 creatives imagine the present and future of AMG design. And this thinking starts during the earliest phase of development of a Mercedes- AMG model. Volker Hellwig puts it this way: “When the Mercedes design team in Sindelfingen has a solid model design, then we come in with Tobias Moers.” Mercedes-Benz design head Gorden Wagener is considered to be the industry’s young maverick with an appropriate soft spot for sporty Mercedes. “So the following rule of thumb applies: The sportier a new Mercedes-Benz model is, the more likely he is to take AMG into his confidence.” Often Wagener’s and Hellwig’s teams develop designs in parallel, “because design thrives on the competition of good ideas,” says Hellwig, whose small team doesn’t need to shy away from comparisons with the disparately larger design department at Mercedes-Benz. FFor Hellwig, design is the presentation of technology. What the engineers at AMG develop must be functionally supported by design on the one hand – for example, with air intakes for more rapidly cooling brakes or with aerodynamically vital tear-off edges on the rear for more downforce and directional stability. “On the other hand, an AMG should always be instantly recognizable as an AMG. And I want our design to accomplish even more: Within every model generation, the automobile enthusiast should be able to recognize instantly which feature line it is. It doesn’t matter whether the base is a sedan, a coupe, or an SUV: Without looking at the emblem, you should immediately be able to tell whether you’re standing in front of a Mercedes-Benz with AMG lines, a classic AMG, or a Black Series model,” claims Hellwig. Using drawings of the new Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupé by way of example, he points out one difference: A narrow bar on the grille for the AMG line, twin blades to the left and right of the star for the AMG. Finding the right attributes for each performance level is a creative process in which the entire team is involved. “With us, it’s not that one person only does gearshift knobs and the other only does spoilers. That would be boring. Everyone should have the opportunity to contribute their ideas at any point,” says Volker Hellwig. Ideas such as the “A-wing,” the design highlight that makes the front apron so distinctive, came about through the participation of many. In the interior, the design of the display is a good example of how to create brand identity using features of the 96


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