SXSW 2019: Gorden Wagener and A$AP Rocky in a live talk session - “The future is not written, we can design it”

Mar 12, 2019

In a live talk on the subject of "how design makes the difference“, Daimler Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener with the critically acclaimed global performer and recording artist A$AP Rocky met on Monday, 11 March, at the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference in Austin, the world's largest digital conference. The conversation was moderated by Josh Rubin, founder and editor-in-chief of lifestyle magazine Cool Hunting.

In front of around 2,500 international conference attendants at the sold out Ballroom in the Austin Convention Center (ACC), the two creative minds discussed "design as the most important differentiator" in the automotive world, in fashion and for other consumer products. They also debated what influence design has on daily life, on purchase decisions and on the perception of brands.

The talk between Gorden Wagener and A$AP Rocky revealed commonalities: both set trends and break new ground in their work. A$AP Rocky reaches young people around the world with his music and fashion creations, just as Gorden Wagener redefines the world of car design with brand-specific aesthetics. Both collaborate with a select group of highly talented, multidisciplinary colleagues – A$AP Mob and the Mercedes-Benz design team. They create pioneering products that transcend borders and achieve wide recognition.

Quotes by Gorden Wagener from the discussion with A$AP Rocky

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You can find the live talk from March 11, 2019 as video on demand in the SXSW in the Mercedes me media Special.

  • „My personal vision for the next ten years is: let’s make Mercedes the most loved luxury brand.”
  • “Automotive Industry is in a change. We are changing the car in the next ten to fifteen years probably more than in the past 130 years before.“
  • “Design stages technology in a way to make it an experience to take our luxury model and to move it into a new era.”
  • “From a design point of view the meaning and understanding of luxury will change. The future is not written, it’s what we will make out of it.”
  • “We’re having a different time zone within our design department. Currently we are doing the program for 2023/2024 in production cars, in architectures, we go beyond 2030, and in vision cars, we even go beyond that.”
  • “Luxury is most rare and most desired at it is time. So that means it’s changing over time and as we designers create the future, of course we need to discuss, how luxury will change and how cultural effects, like hip-hop and kids on the street will have an impact on taste and on luxury.”
  • “Responsibility is a big matter – to give back to society what you have received. What has to do with sustainability? You have to care about the environment, because we have only one planet. This is why this automotive industry is changing so much into a sustainable future with electric cars and autonomous cars. All that will define the future of luxury and of our brand.”

About Gorden Wagener
Gorden Wagener is the chief designer of Daimler Group and responsible for the design of all corporate brands and their products worldwide. The focus of his work is on the Mercedes-Benz brand. He regards an integral design approach as essential in order to showcase both the products and the brands to perfection and to create an experience for the customers. In recent years, Wagener and his team have successfully redefined the design of the Daimler brands, creating fresh ideas and pointers for the entire industry in the process. In addition, Gorden Wagener has managed to strengthen the fascination of automotive design in the social media and today with his Instagram channel is himself an influencer with great reach. Followers can witness his personal SXSW highlights instantly at @gorden.wagener.

About A$AP Rocky
In addition to his success in music, the critically acclaimed global performer and recording artist A$AP Rocky's works in fashion inspires and influences urban youth culture worldwide. Through his creative agency AWGE he has partnered with brands like Calvin Klein, Under Armour and Dior and launched the careers of artists such as Playboi Carti, Smooky MarGielaa and more. His third studio album, TESTING garnered over 1 billion streams worldwide, landing at #1 on the iTunes charts in 16 countries upon release in 2018.