A designer's job is characterised by innovative gusto and a loving attention to detail. Years lie between the initial ideas and acceptance of the finished. During this time designers create the final vehicle step by step. A team creates the next generation of Mercedes-Benz from various, initially competing drafts.
Everything starts with an idea and a drawing
Each design process starts with an idea, on the basis of which a drawing is created. Whether on the sketchpad or on the computer screen – ideas which previously only existed in designers' mind become visible. The best and most promising sketches are then selected from a multitude of created drawings to then implement them on the basis of geometrical specifications so that proportions, dimensions and graphic illustrations result in a plausible image.
The path to the first prototype
Selected drafts are produced as detailed clay models on a scale of 1:4 and as virtual models, so as to assess the actual three-dimensional effect. These virtual models are visualised on the Powerwall – a vast projection screen designers can use to view and analyse their designs from different perspectives. You can create the car in the correct dimensions and change its geometry, colour and texture at one click of a button. These methods bring about benefits, but today virtual worlds are still unable to replace scaled modelling.
After the team has made a final decision in favour of a variant, scanning and milling machines create the first full-scale prototype. All details are produced by hand. The result is a deceptively realistic model that visualises all the new vehicle's characteristic features.
How the interior develops
The interior is initially also designed as a drawing or rendering. A full-scale clay model allows designers to experience the development of the design in three dimensions and to develop the vehicle from the inside out, as it were, until they have created an aesthetically sophisticated sense of space. Several interior variants are produced to decide which concept to pursue further.
Colour and trim designers select materials and colours for surfaces from hundreds of fabric, leather, wood and metal samples. The effects of the touch and feel and the colours are compiled and defined under "real-life conditions" in full scale seat boxes.
All control and display elements are usually designed especially for the vehicle and subsequently optimised.
Exterior and interior are merged into a single model. A team of specialists manually puts together individually produced parts like a puzzle to form a perfect vehicle including all its characteristic features which looks very similar to the future series production vehicle.