Mercedes-Benz Project SMNR blends a love of League of Legends Esports with exceptional design know-how. The ultimate product is a special virtual show car that was developed in collaboration with Riot Games, the company behind the immensely popular video game League of Legends.
The vibrant world of League of Legends served as inspiration for the designers at Mercedes, who came up with a car that in an unprecedented way blurs the line between reality and fantasy.
“For the first time, we were able to set aside the boundaries of materiality and physics and give free rein to our creativity. Because of the virtual space, there are no limits to what we can create. This endeavor to continuously develop our design and to constantly challenge ourselves in a new way manifests itself in Project SMNR. We give our creativity the space for the unexpected,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Mercedes‑Benz Group AG.
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The Mercedes-Benz project SMNR design
Sensual Purity, the design ethos of Mercedes-Benz, is represented through Project SMNR. The show car is a singular example of how beauty and the unusual can coexist. The design is free from manufacturing restrictions and the rules of physics since the environment is entirely virtual.
The ensuing utilization of brand-new substances, referred to as “metamaterials,” pushes the bounds of what is practical. For instance, the two-seater car features a dynamic profile, a cockpit in the middle, and more ground clearance. Energy fields have taken the role of wheels in the traditional sense and have been seamlessly incorporated into the vehicle’s general design.
The axles may be totally dissolved and their absence can be clearly seen thanks to the flexible energy fields. The spokes also run inward, emphasizing the sculptured axle tunnel. This contributes to the show car’s strong and energizing aspect, together with the conspicuously short rear part.
The design surprises with bioluminescent energy particles and flowing structures where one would anticipate supporting structures or solid materiality. The gaming industry in general, and LoL Esports in particular, served as inspiration for vehicle design. The “Energetic Core” and the “Zoning Molecules” form their foundation.
‘Energetic Core’ and ‘Zoning Molecules’
The “Energetic Core” is a strong center that establishes the personality of the vehicle and rules Project SMNR’s dynamic design language. It is the main component of the design and serves to sustain both the central passenger cell as well as the energy field-based wheels.
A layer of semi-transparent molecules known as “zoning molecules” constantly adapts to its surroundings. Thus, Project SMNR may take on any form one might imagine and can always adapt to the solid Energetic Core, which serves as the vehicle’s main structural component.
The semi-transparent covering not only makes the show car’s inside visible but also gives the design language and external look a whole new impression. Indirectly, the name “Zoning Molecules” is derived from the video game “League of Legends”. The region that a team control is called a “zone,” and the word “to zone” refers to having complete control of a certain area.
Project SMNR is made possible by the bioluminescent components, which enable fluid changes in shape and movement. This is so that each energy particle may represent a player and their in-game avatar, known as a “Summoner” in League of Legends. As a result, each particle serves as both a component of the design and an energy source for the machine.
The Project SMNR’s rhythmically pulsing heart is driven by the participants, supporters, and their Summoners, who also light various parts of the vehicle. All fans may experience this remarkable method at the Mercedes-EQ House located in the Riot Games Fan Village in San Francisco during this year’s Worlds.
A multi-screen exhibition that sharply details the automobile from various angles and presents Project SMNR in an immersive and interactive manner. Last but not least, Project SMNR offers the first completely three-dimensional user interface in virtual space that holograms the surrounding world in real-time.
The highlight of the LoL Worlds final
The League of Legends Worlds final at the Chase Center in San Francisco took place on November 5 after six weeks of group and elimination stages. The winning team also earned the legendary Championship Ring created by Mercedes-Benz, which has a permanent diamond in the middle, in addition to the Worlds trophy.
Additionally, with the Mercedes-EQ House, Mercedes-Benz served as the focal point of the Riot Games Fan Village in San Francisco. The brand with the star has not only offered unique insights into the Mercedes-Benz world on a 250 square meter surface. Nevertheless, in addition to the virtual show car and the Championship Ring, they also displayed a Mercedes-EQS SUV.
This was utilized to convey the Summoner’s Cup from New York to San Francisco via Atlanta during the Worlds. Visitors had the opportunity to marvel at the incorporation of design elements from the League of Legends aesthetic into the MBUX digital infotainment system while in the car on-site.