Following the untimely death of Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh this week, Mercedes-Benz released a statement revealing that Abloh had been collaborating with them on an under-wraps project. "Following the wishes of Virgil's family," the company writes, "Mercedes-Benz is honored to reveal Project MAYBACH: a collaborative electric show car designed to inspire the next generation, and forever question the status quo."
It is, in essence, a 20-foot-long off-road electric Maybach:
"Mercedes-Benz is devastated to hear of the passing of Virgil Abloh. 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."
"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."
Mercedes put the car on display at Miami's Rubell Museum for two days this week—blocking out an hour each day where only design students were allowed in. That's a classy move, and I'd like to see that policy extended to other venues and institutions.