A flight of fancy: Mercedes-Benz takes to the skies

A flight of fancy: Mercedes-Benz takes to the skies
PHOTO: Daimler

If you aspire to be the Mercedes-Benz of aircraft design, it never hurts to be Mercedes-Benz.

The world's oldest - and by some estimations, grandest - of motorised transportation concerns is taking to the skies in a new partnership with the German airline Lufthansa.

The collaboration focuses on the design of cabins for the airline's fleet of short- and medium-haul executive jets, with the first concepts recently unveiled at Geneva's EBACE 2015, the international trade show for business aircraft.

Automobile design division Mercedes-Benz Style has taken on the aesthetic side of things, and Lufthansa Technik - an engineering subsidiary of Lufthansa with expertise in retrofitting and customising aircraft - is charged with making it fly.

The ambience is that of a luxury penthouse of a Kowloon skyscraper - there is no aisle, no seat 4A, no beverage cart. Instead, a spiral of stark whites and dark veneers stretch through the cabin like pulled taffy, and cushy modern furnishings obviate the need for lay-flat seating. There are no corners in evidence, with the great tube of the fuselage informing every sinuous line.

"It was an inspiring challenge to transfer our design philosophy of sensual purity into the area of aeronautical engineering," said Gorden Wagener, vice president of design for Mercedes' corporate parent, Daimler AG, in a media statement. Wagener called out the "sensual surfaces" and "clear forms" of the design, along with various pieces of vanguard tech that would make a Maybach blush.

Those high-tech features include windows covered by what the team calls "black panels". Based on Mercedes' Magic Sky Control glass roof panels, the units can be dimmed from clear to black - in the manner of the recently launched Boeing 787 Dreamliner - with touch screens integrated for use in business or entertainment.

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