Art & Design

Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with design and innovation.

Mercedes-Benz is synonymous with design and innovation; this is brought to life via our various partnerships within art and design.

Mercedes-Benz has been associated with the National Gallery of Victoria for over 10 years and is proud to be a principal partner to various exhibitions.

A celebration of design form and function, the Mercedes-Benz Design Award seeks to kickstart designers career by giving them the opportunity to have their winning design produced by local retail designers.

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Sarah & Sebastian design the CLA Mood Ring.

September 2019

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Sarah & Sebastian design the CLA Mood Ring.

September 2019

CLA Mood Ring

When dynamic jewellery designers Sarah & Sebastian laid eyes on the new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé, they found all the inspiration they needed to design and create a mood ring in its honour.

The powerful stance and elegant silhouette of the second generation of the CLA, a compact four-door coupé, left an indelible impression upon the pair.

“It’s a sporty, sexy car, but it’s not overstated,” muses Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, one half of Sarah & Sebastian. “It has that really subtle energy. It’s just a beautiful car.”

Sarah Gittoes found herself immediately drawn to the ‘diamond’ grille. “I studied gemology and I’m always looking at gemstones, so I loved being able to interpret that diamond-cut feature into the mood stone that we used in the ring,” she says.

“The specific process was first of all looking at the car and appreciating the design and the shape and the form of the car, and then translating that into a piece that Robert and I would both appreciate.”

Adds Robert: “We brought the stone in as tight as we can to really have that compact but sporty elegant look.

“Both of us really strive for perfection. It’s not about just being showy. It’s about having a detail that sometimes you see on a second look and you say, ‘that’s really well made, I appreciate how that’s finished, I appreciate the quality’.”

The mantra for the CLA Coupé is ‘play by your own rules’, an ethos Mercedes-Benz embraced when it designed the world’s first four-door coupé, the CLS, which provided the design direction for the smaller CLA that followed.

It speaks volumes to a duo who founded their partnership on encouraging refined self-expression through the principles of understated luxury and avant-garde innovation.

“I think it’s important to play by your own rules – it gives you a drive and freedom,” Sarah asserts.

Robert adds: “Playing by your own rules means to question things and not just take them as they are because that’s how they used to be. You don’t have to break every rule, but I think it’s important to question it.”

He says Mercedes-Benz is the perfect partner for such a collaboration as the CLA-inspired mood ring. “Mercedes stands for quality of design and understated elegance. We love the design philosophy that Mercedes stands for.

“This ring is absolutely unique; every little detail is considered and that’s why I think it’s such a good synergy between both brands. Both of us really strive for perfection and innovation.

“Without innovation you just stand still. Where’s the excitement in that?”

 

CLA Mood Ring
CLA Mood Ring
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An immersive new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art

July 2019

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An immersive new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art

July 2019

An immersive new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art

The TarraWarra Museum of Art sits in an enviable location in the Yarra Valley, surrounded by lush green hills and sloping vineyards. “I always feel like there’s more than one exhibition at TarraWarra,” observes the gallery’s director, Victoria Lynn. “There’s the exhibition outside the museum, in the natural landscape, and then there’s the exhibition inside as well.”  

 

It’s this relationship between art and place that inspired the museum’s 2019 International Series exhibition, The Tangible Trace, which runs until September 1. The exhibition showcases the works of six contemporary artists, who focus on the idea of a trace as the residue of a place, situation or memory. 

 

Lynn, the curator of the exhibition, was initially inspired by local artist Sangeeta Sandrasegar, who primarily works with shadows. After being approached by Lynn, Sandrasegar developed a piece called What falls from view to interact specifically with the museum space.

She constructed hand-dyed fabrics to hang over the windows that welcome visitors when they enter the museum, which cast changing colours and shadows on the walls, depending on the time of day. These “traces” change your impression of the view from outside.


"She combines this with the wonderful music that you hear when you walk in [Ross Edwards’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Da Pacem Domine’], which gives you an emotive relationship to the space," explains Lynn. "I gradually built the other artists around this concept.”

An immersive new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art

'TarraWarra International 2019: The Tangible Trace' installation view featuring Francis Alÿs in collaboration with Julien Devaux, Rafael Ortega, Alejandro Morales, and Felix Blume. Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream, Ciudad Juárez, México 2013. © Francis Alÿs. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner. Image: Andrew Curtis.

Those artists include Mexico-based Belgian artist Francis Alÿs, whose simple but powerful video installation Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico follows the artist as he kicks a flaming soccer ball through the streets of Ciudad Juárez at night, leaving sparks of fire in his wake. This city is one of the most dangerous places in the world, and Alÿs uses his idle wanderings to juxtapose the act of play with the violence of place.

 

A second video installation by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Hiwa K is called Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue). For 17 minutes, the artist retraces the journey he took from Athens to Rome when he arrived as a refugee 25 years ago. But it’s a journey with a difference – he balances a long stick covered with motorcycle mirrors on his nose as he walks, meaning he can only be guided by the fragments or traces he glimpses in the reflection. 

 

Singapore-born artist Simryn Gill has two works that focus on the interplay between nature and man. The first, a series of photographs and prints called Passing Through, showcases an abandoned beachside hotel in Malaysia that is slowly being reclaimed by nature. While wandering the beach near this hotel, Gill collected objects that washed ashore, like terracotta bricks eroded by the pressure of the waves. These found objects have been catalogued to form her second piece, Domino Theory. 


And finally, Carlos Capelán and Shilpa Gupta have contributed works that were commissioned especially for the exhibition. Uruguay-born Capelán, who sought political asylum in Sweden in the 1970s and has since lived in several countries, views himself as a global citizen and produces work themed around displacement and identity. His Tangible Trace series of paintings, titled Implosion, are inspired by geometric abstractism and depict the ghostly outlines of faces and bodies.

An immersive new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art

Carlos Capelán. Completely Solid Object (Living Room) 2019. From the Implosion series. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas. 132 x 179 cm. Courtesy the artist. Image: Christel Lundberg.

Gupta, who is representing India at this year's Venice Biennale, likes to challenge the notion of geographical borders. Her first piece, Map Tracing #7, is a map of Australia made out of copper tubing, which is bent into a dysfunctional shape that isn't immediately recognisable as a map. Her second piece, The markings we have made on this land have increased the distance so much, is a fractured rectangle of concrete engraved in English, Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. In the final days of the exhibition, visitors will be invited to take a piece of this work to keep.

 

"The idea is that they can take a trace of the exhibition with them," Lynn explains. "So by the end of the exhibition, the work will have disappeared, but it will live on in people's homes."

 

Since it officially opened in its current location in 2003, the TarraWarra Museum of Art has hosted work from renowned contemporary artists such as Janet Laurence, Allora & Calzadilla, and Cao Fei. This year, it is the Victorian venue for the Archibald Prize from September 14 to November 5.


Visit TarraWarra International 2019: The Tangible Trace from 8 June to 1 September. Guided tours are available on Thursdays at 11am and Saturdays at 2pm and 3pm.

Words Emily Tatti

 

Top: 'TarraWarra International 2019: The Tangible Trace' installation view featuring Simryn Gill. Passing Through 2017–ongoing. Courtesy the artist; Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai; Tracy Williams Ltd, New York and Utopia Art, Sydney. Image: Andrew Curtis.

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Mercedes me meets Melbourne Design Week

March 2019

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Mercedes me meets Melbourne Design Week

March 2019

Melbourne Design Week

All things design will be in the spotlight at Mercedes me Store Melbourne this month, as part of the annual Melbourne Design Week.

Over the past three years, Melbourne Design Week (14–24 March 2019) has established itself as a leading design event, attracting world-class speakers and thinkers to an ever-growing program across a series of venues, including the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Mercedes me Store Melbourne.

This year’s theme focuses on Design Experiments and three events will take place at Mercedes me Store Melbourne on Collins Street.

First up is ‘Break The Business Model’, (March 19; 6:30pm to 8pm) a panel discussion with leading architects and designers on shaking up traditional working methods in these fast-changing times. Moderated by Alice Blackwood, editor, journalist and communications strategist, the evening brings together Jade Sarita Arnott, founder of Melbourne fashion label Arnsdorf; Byron George, founder of Melbourne-based design studio Russell & George; and Balder Tol, general manager Australia of workspace innovators WeWork.

Melbourne Design Week

Svizzera 240: House Tour by Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg and Ani Vihervaara at the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2018.

Image: Christian Beutler / KEYSTONE

Next up is ‘Experiments in Exhibiting Architecture’ (March 20; 6:30pm to 8pm) presented by the Australian Institute of Architects, Mercedes me Melbourne and the NGV. The Victorian President of the Australian Institute of Architects and director of Muir Architecture, Amy Muir, will lead a conversation about experimental approaches to curating and exhibiting architecture. Speakers include Matthew van der Ploeg, who will be discussing his collaborative work Svizzera 240: House Tour.

And rounding off the trio of evening events at the venue is ‘Design Experiments’  (March 21; 6:30pm to 8pm), which sees NGV Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, Simone Le Amon, in conversation with a number of Australian designers. Hear from Fiona Lynch, founder of Fiona Lynch Design Studio; Jonathan Ben-Tovim, founder of Ben-Tovim Design; Gregory Bonaserra, co-founder of Porcelain Bear; and Amy Malin, co-founder of Modern Times, as they talk about some of their most innovative recent projects.

For the first time, Melbourne Design Week will expand beyond Melbourne’s borders to Geelong, a recently crowned UNESCO City of Design, with a series of events. This includes a keynote address by Danish Design Centre chief executive Christian Bason on how design can strengthen regional towns and cities. Travel an hour south-west of Melbourne to discover why the city has developed such a strong creative reputation. You can view the full program on the Design Week in Geelong website.

Words Lucy Siebert