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SXSW 2019: Gorden Wagener and A$AP Rocky in a live talk session

“The future is not written, we can design it”

– Austin

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

- Check against delivery –

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.”


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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

Harlem born MC A$AP Rocky, born Rakim Mayers, has taken the music and fashion worlds by storm.  In 2018, he released his highly-anticipated third studio album, TESTING, which has garnered over 1 billion streams worldwide, landing at #1 on the iTunes charts in 16 countries upon release, with "Praise The Lord" achieving platinum status and over 100 million views.  The album has been well-received by music critics, as well, with The New York Times calling it [A$AP Rocky’s] most outré album to date, the one least concerned with prevailing trends,” Billboard saying "the Harlemite has been on the cusp of greatness for nearly a decade…his confidence and fearlessness has always been his calling card, and ‘Testing’ is more of him bravely stepping out of the box to try something new,” and Highsnobiety referring to TESTING as "an absolute triumph.” With two critically acclaimed, #1 debuts on the Billboard 200 for previous albums, Long. Live.A$AP and At.Long.Last.A$AP and over 5.9 billion streams worldwide, TESTING launches a new era for Rocky, exploring new sounds and ideas in an unparalleled musical landscape where he continues to break the mainstream mindset with sonics rarely heard in hip-hop. Executive produced by A$AP Rocky and co-executive produced by Hector Delgado, Juicy J, Chace Johnson, and AWGE, TESTING was recorded over three years between New York, LA, London and Berlin. This album picks up where Rocky last left off, weaving mind-melting aural psychedelics into hip-hop that is, at times dark and confessional, and in other moments uplifting and celebratory. Rocky is joined on TESTING with features from Juicy J, T.I., Moby, Frank Ocean, French Montana, FKA twigs, Skepta, Kid Cudi and Kodak Black. Carrying on the legacy of the A$AP Mob co-founder A$AP Yams, Rocky and the A$AP Mob released two mixtapes, 2016’s Cozy Tapes Vol 1: Friends- and 2017’s Cozy Tapes Vol 2: Too Cozy, featuring the hit single "RAF” which has now racked up 208 million streams worldwide. Rocky has collaborated with many high-profile artists, including G-Eazy’s 3x RIAA Platinum "No Limit” with Cardi B,  Mura Masa’s "Love$ick”, Tyler, The Creator’s "Who Dat Boy”, and songs with Lana del Rey, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Skepta, Juicy J, Quavo, 30 Seconds to Mars, Alicia Keys and more. The past two years have also seen Rocky’s creative agency AWGE in the spotlight, launching partnerships with Calvin Klein, MTV, GUESS, Under Armour, Courvoisier, Dior, Mercedes Benz and JW Anderson and also launching the careers of new artists such as Playboi Carti, Smooky MarGielaa and more.

Contacts: Design CommunicationLars Zeppenfeld, phone: +49 (0)711 17-75834, [email protected]

Brand & Lifestyle Communication Mercedes-Benz Cars Ina Schultz, phone: +49 (0)711 17-7 68 76, [email protected]

More information about South by Southwest: More information from Daimler and its brands: and