The Brief

Mercedes Maybach is designing a new concept car and they want a film about the process. But is not just another car. For starters, its name is “Ultimate Luxury”, and it is targeted to one of the most rapid-growing luxury markets in the world, China.

With so many competitors offering a luxurious experience driving their cars, Mercedes Maybach had to stand out, after all, they pretty much invented the idea of the luxury car. And this is how the new “Mercedes Maybach Ultimate Luxury” came into play.

Designed by Huey Lee, a talent in the industry, the new Mercedes Maybach must represent the Chinese concept of luxury, which is based on hospitality and comfort. And the film, as a visualization of such an idea, must follow suit.

Designing from the ground up

The film follows Huey Lee, Head of Mercedes Advanced Design China, through the process of designing the new Mercedes Maybach Ultimate Luxury, a concept car aimed at the Chinese market.

Since the meaning of luxury is highly dependant on the culture in which it emerges, the creative team went through extensive research to offer a car that perfectly expresses the Chinese interpretation of luxury.

The Challenge: Business casual

Considering the subject, my biggest concern was that the client wanted a too serious and technically detailed narrative. And my concern wasn’t unfounded.

In productions like this, with big serious companies, it is normal to have many departments having a saying when it comes to deciding what’s to be seen and said in a film. And sometimes these departments are so disconnected from the storytelling concepts as the Department of Interface Design can be.

This is a well-known issue that has to be addressed gently because you don’t want to piss off and/or offend your client. No matter how much (little) sense it makes what they want, you have to make it happen or convince them that they actually don’t want it.

In the particular case of this film, the issue was that there were so many technical details to be included, that the film was in risk of being more like a brochure of features rather than an inspirational voyage into the making of a piece of engineering art: a luxury concept car.

The solution was to develop the narrative from Huber Lee and his creative partner Xiao Ming perspectives only, knowing that their takes on the matter, as concept designers, would lean towards a more creative approach.

With their experiences as the conducting element, the addition of technical details would have to take a second place. Not because I said so, but because nobody in their right mind wants to ruin their Head of Design moment of glory.

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