Mercedes Benz created an uproar with the launch of their Mercedes Benz Vision AVTR – inspired by the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar. And now, Mercedes is out to prove they mean business – that this is not just another concept car but the idea is envisioned and in motion. In the 13 minute video launched recently on the Mercedes YouTube channel, you can see the futuristic car perform the ‘crab walk’. Given the revolutionary nature of the design, our excitement is palpable, and to understand the design better, we gathered up some special behind-the-scenes footage – right from car sketches to environmental renders created by Alex Dang. Feast your eyes as this is one of the rare moments where a vision of the future is actually being brought to life in front of us.
Exterior Designer: Alex Dang
Alex says, “The bionic flaps are literally alive! They interact with you! + show your intentions as a driver from the interior to the exterior. Furthermore, by moving in various directions it influences aerodynamics.” The car is inspired by Avatar in concept – where all the living elements exist in peaceful harmony, sustainably, and in grace. The same way, the car reacts to your actions taken while sitting inside the car and that reaction is conveyed by the bionic flaps.
The wheels draw inspiration from the woodsprites, the floating creatures that are the seeds of the Tree of Souls that lives on Pandora. These seeds, according to the Na’vi, are very pure and sacred spirits. They are similar in appearance to small deep-sea jellyfish, but they float on the wind like dandelion seeds, possibly aided in this by the denser atmosphere on Pandora. The wheels also imitate the flowing nature/curves of the woodsprite and the glowing lights on the wheel emphasize the stronger curves on the body of the wheel, making them look dynamic as they rotate.
Behind the Scenes:
“The path to final design is not always linear. There is a lot of exploring and searching,…That’s why fast doodles are a perfect tool to iterate and communicate your ideas. The theme of the lower sketches are showing the interior of my colleague Hogun Lee” says Alex Dang.
A 1:4 scale model created by Alex for his bachelor thesis in 2014.
A fun exercise, this quick colour sketch by Alex shows the car in its element, envisioned by him, and to wrap it up, we can only say this – yes it’s real, yes it drives and no, it has no steering wheel!