High Flying Adored

No longer content with the surly bonds of earth, with this Rocheresque alliance with Emirates, the Blessed One’s ambitions have truly taken wing.

Dr Jens Thiemer, Mercedes-Benz Vice President Marketing: “Travellers in Emirates First Class are now also able to enjoy the sense of luxury of our Mercedes-Benz S‑Class above the clouds”. Image: (c) nyobserver

Everybody wants at the very least to touch the Blessed One’s hem these days, and after all, who can blame them? Having successfully reinvented Mercedes-Benz as the last word in modern purity and sensual luxury, the frail ties of the auto business were never going to be sufficient to hold him to our leaden promontory – not when he can soar far above this brave o’er hanging firmament.

It can’t have escaped your notice that Emirates airline have begun to roll out a series of reimagined cabins for their Boeing 777 fleet, allegedly designed in conjunction with and inspired by the interior ambience we have all come to know, admire and secretly covet within the current Mercedes-Benz vehicle offerings – notably of course, the top-of-the-range S-Class models.

“Transcend Existence, Defy Naysayers, Attain Purity…” The Blessed One, recently. Image: (c) The Verge

In a press release accompanying the recent announcement, a spokesperson gushed, “Emirates’ latest First Class product gives a nod to the design philosophy of the Mercedes-Benz S- Class, bringing together two global brands renowned for innovation, luxury, and comfort. The collaboration inspired several design details in the private suite including the soft leather seating, high-tech control panels, and mood lighting.”

Which does (somewhat heretically I admit and please forgive me) suggest that Gorden Wagener’s input has been, well, lets be charitable and call it spiritual. Delving further into the Emirate’s press release, one discovers the interior revamp is in fact the work of a number of design companies, including Boeing themselves, Rockwell Collins interior systems, Panasonic, Jacques Pierre Jean Design studio and Seattle-based design firm Teague, but as they might have said in the 1980 movie, Airplane!, ‘that’s not important right now’…

Flying on instruments. Image: vulture

Emirates’ PR continues, “The design and shape of Emirates’ Business Class seat onboard the new 777 was also inspired by the interior of a modern sports car, with a diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover, ergonomically designed headrest, and a sleek overall look and feel”.

After all, what could be more fitting than to seamlessly ooze from your Dubai chintz palace (by S-Class, naturally), while relaxing in the tasteful confines of its sumptuous leather-clad cabin, before embarking upon your identical diamond stitched business class seat as you wing it to your destination. (Sports car noises optional, one assumes).

I think we can all agree that this is a marvellously uplifting development and further confirmation of the wisdom, insight and sky blue thinking that is of course the Mercedes creative guru’s hallmark. One which won’t in any way suggest any uncomfortable connotations between Mercedes interiors and mass transit.

We truly are not worthy.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

15 thoughts on “High Flying Adored”

  1. Now history has finally come full circle.
    A couple of years ago a Rolls-Royce spokesman explained the Maybach’s failure in the market in comparison with the RR Phantom by pointing out the different rear seat arrangements. The “Lounge” type bench in the RR wass compared to a First Class airline seat in the Maybach. To his opinion Maybach had combined the two most unpleasant places to be in form of the rear of a car and the seat in an aircraft whereas RR had created a personal and intimate atmosphere.

    When airlines are taking inspiration from cars that are inspired by aircraft we should be glad that they are cooperating with Mercedes and not Graf Weckerle .

  2. This invites satire more than analysis. Car seats work for cars and airline seats have such special requirements it seems daft to blend the two classes.
    Who benefits from this deal? Airline customers are mostly interested in price and schedules; Benz customers won’t care about flimsy links to a bus-in-the-sky company. Useless sums this up.

  3. Airlines are desperately looking for differentiating factors to give their customers the impression of an individual product.
    That’s why Lufthansa is proud to have the best ‘ground product’ with their limousine shuttle service from the dedicated First Class Check In area directly to the aircraft (if you thought that the important thing for a passenger was the flight itself, you are wrong). Other airlines have superior ‘flight products’ but there seems to be a certain number of customers for whom the ground experience is the important thing. So surely there are customers that go Emirates just for the silly seats. At least, these are probably made by Recaro.

    The same thing is repeating in the car industry.
    As the car itself as a technical item has more or less reached the end of useful development car makers are looking for increasingly silly differentiators. This brings us all kinds of electronic nonsense up to Audi’s new OLED ‘swarm’ rear lights that is done just for the sake of it, because it is possible and because software doesn’t cost any money in production.

  4. Isn’t it interesting how airlines’ image has changed over the course of the past four decades or so? Pan Am(erican) stood for freedom, progress and The American Way like few other brands. I certainly don’t remember Juan Trippe asking Harley Earl for a bit of advice regarding the Jet Clippers’ appearance.

    And then there was, of course, Braniff. Overambitious to the extreme, but terribly pleasing from an aesthetic point-of-view nonetheless. Harding Lawrence didn’t have to knock on Bill Mitchell’s door for advice, either.

    Emirates, of course, are Pan Am’s successor only in terms of reach. If it’s supposed to be purveyor of an aspirational lifestyle/aesthetic, it’s certainly not one catering to Western preferences. In that sense, they’re the perfect match for NuMerc.

    1. I remember coming across one of those silly Discovery Channel ‘documentaries’ during more innocent times. It was about Trump’s private Boeing 757. In the programme, he claimed to have chosen the 757 for its Rolls-Royce engines, because they’re ‘the best’. Such an educated man of so many beautiful words.

  5. I always thought the ruched leather found on the door cards and seats was as tasteless as it was possible to get, however this fad for quilted leather with a million miles of stitching is truly awful. Mercedes Benz really don’t make a car for a European with good taste anymore, do they? Surely even their US customers must find the recent stuff rather gauche.

  6. In the good old days the sort of person who had the means to buy an S-Class with all the trimmings would have flown on Concorde. It was cramped inside but it got you there in a lot less time; a clear differentiator. Time really was money.

    Now you can only fly subsonic no matter how many vulgar cars you can afford to stock your Dubai garage with. It doesn’t matter how moody the lighting is or how good the food, you’re not going to get there any faster than the plebs.

    1. Good taste seems to be precluded by extreme wealth. Since taste and morals go together bad taste in the form of ostentation indicates a paucity of ethical insight.
      The trouble for the airlines is that a minimum acceptable long-haul service looks a lot like the maximum allowable service unless you throw gold leaf and dinky tasselled table lamps at the matter.
      Still – even many rich ssaholes must be able to spot laughable kitsch? Or?

    2. >>Still – even many rich ssaholes must be able to spot laughable kitsch? Or?
      Not sure about that.
      If that were true companies like Mansory or Graf Weckerle wouldn’t find customers.

      >>bad taste in the form of ostentation indicates a paucity of ethical insight
      For proof of concept look no further than the road manners of typical AMG SUV drivers.

  7. I think the concept will bomb for one single reason, after being shuttled around for several hours on a cramped flight, why on earth would you want an experience that is so similar you can’t make the difference being ferried into town in the back seat of a car for yet another hour? Even with the ability to stretch your legs into the seat in front of you or whatnot. I reckon the customer would want similar levels of comfort in an experience that is as disparate at possible.

  8. That W222 and the Emirates connection do make quite a bit of sense.

    Think about it: a W126 perfectly complements Otl Aicher’s 1960s Lufthansa corporate identity. So if NuMerc and Emirates encapsulate Donald Trump fake taste, Lufthansa/Aicher and Mercedes/Sacco couldn’t be more in the spirit of the Ulmer Schule if they had Spätzle for lunch every day of the week.

    1. HfG Lufthansa corporate design came in 1962.
      That would make a pairing of Lufthansa/HfG and Benz/Bracq more fitting.

      Lufthansa CID evolved slowly, but markedly over time.
      The planes had their polished underside replaced by matte grey and the black nose cone is gone.
      The yellow is much darker now than in the original design (and still getting more orange slowly) and the blue is less bright.
      They even made the decision to weaken the stringent rules for use of the word/picture marks that once were strictly adhered to.

    2. I’m aware the Lufthansa ID wasn’t unveiled in 1979, but the Vertical Affinity/Horizontal Homogeneity generation of Mercedes cars were much more in keeping with Ulmer Schule ideals than the Bracq cars, which, wonderful though they are, had been strongly influenced by both American and other Continental European styling trends of their time.

      The most marked change in Lufthansa’s ID was, of course, the omission of the blue cheatline. This was believed to be a money saving exercise by many, as Lufthansa was close to bankruptcy in the early ’90s, yet the grey shadow on the belly is actually a rather difficult shape to paint into an aircraft fuselage. Thankfully, we were spared the daft colour scheme boasting a yellow fin and tail, with the Lufthansa typography in silver, that was applied to some aircraft on a trial basis in the late ’80s.

      If you want to see Aicher work that’s truly been messed with though, look no further than Munich’s Erdinger Moos. A few years ago, Flughafen München, operators of Munich airport, decided to change Aichers delightful minimalistic corporate ID

      into this

      which looks like a generic insurance brand.

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