The exclusive partnership between Mercedes-Benz and the global “League of Legends Esports Events” by Riot Games has been in place since 2020. According to their own statements, the two partners want to further develop the global Esports culture and strengthen the League of Legends community. On the occasion of this year’s League of Legends World Championship finals in San Francisco, Mercedes-Benz presented details of its purely virtual show car for the first time. According to the carmaker, the limitless creation possibilities in virtual space “made it possible to design a sculptural two-seater coupé that is characterised by its semi-transparent materiality”. “For the first time, we were able to set aside the limits of materiality and physics and let our creativity run free. Because virtual space means that there are no limits to our creativity,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. “This endeavour to continuously develop our design and to constantly challenge ourselves anew in the process manifests itself in the SMNR project. We give our creativity the space for the unexpected.”
The design of SMNR (Summoner) (link ist in German) is free from production constraints due to its purely virtual environment. Even the laws of physics do not play a role. It was inspired by the world of gaming and specifically LoL esports. It is reportedly based on two unique elements: the “Energetic Core” and the “Zoning Molecules”. The “Energetic Core” defines the design language of the project as a solid core. In addition to the wheels, which consist of energy fields, it also supports the centrally located passenger cell. The “Zoning Molecules” are a semi-transparent layer of molecules that react to the environment, give the vehicle every conceivable shape and adapt to the Energetic Core at any time. (The term “Zoning Molecules” comes indirectly from the game “League of Legends”; there, the so-called “zone” is the area controlled by a team). For example, “the two-seater vehicle has a dynamic silhouette with a centrally positioned driver’s cockpit and increased ground clearance”. In places where one would expect supporting structures or solid materiality, the design surprises with “bioluminescent energy particles and flowing structures”. The show car is powered by the global fan community: each gamer and his/her avatar (called Summoner) are represented by an energy particle in the vehicle. In this way, the gamers and their summoners drove the rhythmically pulsating heart of Project SMNR and illuminated the different areas of the vehicle.
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