“Future Needs Heritage”: The New Mercedes-Benz Museum

* “The S-Class among the world’s museums”

* Tailor-made for the tradition of the Mercedes-Benz brand

* 160 vehicles on nine levels

On May 19, 2006, the new Mercedes-Benz Museum opens its doors to the public. The imposing new building is far more than a home to 120 years of automotive history: the Mercedes-Benz Museum is under obligation to the customers, the employees and the public, because what is exhibited there moves them – literally and figuratively.

The new Mercedes-Benz Museum was created the way a new car series would be. First it was conceived and rough-sketched in the mind and with computer assistance. The participants entered unknown territory with the concept. Prototypes of the structure were designed, some even full-scale, to test the feasibility of the ideas. As everything gradually neared completion, an intensive test run was conducted to put the entire museum to the acid test. Now the “new series” is ready, and its uniqueness suggests just one comparison: the new Mercedes-Benz Museum is the S-Class among the museums of the world. It stands for the brand and its values. It spreads them abroad. It leads the way. Like the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz.

Symbolically, the new Museum goes out to the people: the previous Museum was located at the center of the Untertürkheim plant complex, whereas the new Mercedes-Benz Museum is now right at the plant gates. This makes it more visible, more tangible, more “visitable”.

Proximity to parent plant

The new Mercedes-Benz Museum is located right next to the parent plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, one of the cradles of the automotive industry. Nor far from here, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach developed their high-speed gasoline engine, the basis for individual mobility. Beginning in 1903, early Mercedes vehicles were created here; this was the site of headquarters following the merger of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft with Benz & Cie. to form Daimler-Benz AG in 1926; here was the starting point of reconstruction after World War II; and here the Mercedes-Benz brand still is at home today. The new Mercedes-Benz Museum thus holds out its hand to all employees who worked for the brand in the past, work for it now, or will work for it in future. It gives them a promise of continuity. One hundred and twenty years of automotive history constantly point forward too, the basis for this being the permanent innovative spirit of the Mercedes-Benz brand – innovations are the milestones on the way to the future.

For this reason the Museum not only presents the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand, but also affords a revealing look at the future. The architecture, created by UN studio’s Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, also serves this function. Its distinctive modernity seems to place it as coming from the future, and yet it preserves tradition. It contains the “genetic makeup” of the brand – the interior of the building is modeled after the double DNA helix that contains the human genetic plan.

Committed to originality

The building is unique in this world, committed to the Mercedes-Benz brand’s spirit of originality, which endeavors time and again to create entirely new things to serve human mobility – from the invention of the automobile to the forward-looking Vision of Accident-free Driving.

Original too is the exhibition concept drawn up and implemented by Architekturbüro HG Merz. There are two tours. Seven Legend rooms are arranged on the first to tell the story of the brand. The second tour covers five Collection rooms where the variety of applications from passenger car to heavy-duty commercial vehicle is presented. The exhibition is complemented by “The Fascination of Technology” section, which permits looking over the shoulders of the Mercedes-Benz employees and engineers in their everyday work and simultaneously directs attention to the future of the automobile. The detailed portrait of the Mercedes-Benz brand is made up of more than 1,450 exhibits, including 160 vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz Museum itself already has made history. From its origins as a collection of technical objects for Benz and Daimler in the late 19th century to the first “proper” museum, opened in 1936; from the reconstruction in 1961 to the comprehensive redesign of the exhibition for the “100 Years of the Automobile” anniversary in 1986: always it has been a mirror of the brand into which customers, employees and the public could take a deep look. The new Museum carries on this tradition.


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