A few days ago we mentioned that Audi was keeping their new flagship model under wraps in a purpose built pavilion in Miami Beach. Well last night the German automaker took off the covers and rolled the all new for 2011 Audi A8 luxury limousine out onto the stage after hearing from actress Lucy Liu and the car’s head designer as we awaited the luminescent sculpture that dropped down from the ceiling right before the actual reveal.
With art being a major theme of the night’s conversation, it was nice to hear the German designer talk about the fact that if something doesn’t work and the function isn’t there then it doesn’t matter how beautiful the body is because it just won’t work. Well the new A8 looks a bit smaller then it did before thanks to the large sedan’s sportier lines and wraparound LED lamps. On the inside is the A8 features technologies like a touch pad that you can write on using your finger like a stylus, luxurious ambient lighting and a pair of the most comfortable hip hugging well bolstered back seats of any car on the market today. It would also appear that Audi is trying to push alternative fuels on the U.S. market because of the vast assortment of fuel efficient diesel burning options that will be made available in the new A8 .
Video after the jump.
World premiere of new Audi A8 in Miami
Collaboration with the Rubell Family Collection from Rubell and with Tom Dixon
Presentation of the Audi A8 at Design Miami
Audi the exclusive vehicle sponsor of Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach
INGOLSTADT/MIAMI, Nov 27, 2009 - World premiere, take two: Only one day after the world premiere of the new Audi A8 on November 30 to international media representatives, Audi will present its brand flagship at Design Miami 2009 to an audience of design experts from all over the world. Both the premiere as part of the exhibition “The Art of Progress” in the Audi Pavilion and the premiere for the general public with the stand at Design Miami illustrate how Audi, in line with the brand motto “Vorsprung durch Technik”, is going down a new, innovative path with the new Audi A8.
As Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, says: “The Audi A8 is the flagship of our brand. It stands for everything we are capable of at Audi. Our aim was to get as close as possible to the perfect automobile.”
The claim “Vorsprung durch Technik” is given a new interpretation in the A8. Manufacture, craftsmanship and precision are at the forefront of the production process. With its design the A8 represents a new step on Audi’s route towards being an unmistakable signature brand. A particular feature of the Audi A8 are the LED headlights, which not only increase efficiency and safety, but also give the sedan a one-of-a-kind appearance. Furthermore, the lightweight expertise in the brand’s new top-of-the-range model was consistently advanced and raised to cutting-edge technological standards in order to counter the weight spiral.
“Light Light”: Installation by Tom Dixon
The exhibition “The Art of Progress” in the Audi Pavilion highlights the values of the new Audi A8 artistically. To this end AUDI AG is collaborating with the top British designer Tom Dixon, who created the installation “Light Light” exclusively for the world premiere. It comprises 120 aluminum polyhedral lights suspended amongst a cluster of helium-filled balloons made of metalized foil, which reflects the light of the bulbs. The installation is intended to make the qualities of the new A8 visible and tangible: “We looked at a series of qualities in the new A8 that are difficult to visualize or explain in words, and tried to find ways to express them in the purest and simplest way,” Tom Dixon says, explaining the basic idea. He was inspired primarily by the lightness of the aluminum Audi Space Frame, the brightness of the LED headlights, the technical precision and the great craftsmanship of the A8. “The design and development areas of Audi are extraordinary exercises in the most complex and advanced manufacturing techniques I could never match the spirit of teamwork and tradition that exist in Audi design, but I share some of the passion for newness and innovation that exists at Ingolstadt.”
Dixon designed the lights in “Light Light” in aluminum. The filigree lamps are carefully constructed polygons, which are three-dimensional polyhedrons with a total of 60 faces. Tom Dixon considered this shape appropriate to portray the complexity of the new A8. He wanted to demonstrate how mathematics, geometry and engineering can produce beautiful, balanced design.
Tom Dixon associates the LED headlights of the A8 with “brightness and beauty”. In order to radiate this in the installation “Light Light”, each aluminum light is fitted with multiple LED bulbs. These tiny bulbs project complex shadows on the wall reminiscent of the shape of the Audi Space Frame. “I love designing lights, as this is a field that as a result of many technological advances is constantly moving forward. Light bulbs, LEDs, photoluminescence – all these give designers an opportunity to create objects and effects that did not exist before,” Tom Dixon says.
The entire installation conveys a light impression of something that defies gravity. It resembles a cloud of light hovering on the ceiling of the Audi Pavilion. By way of furniture, there are tables and chairs from the new Tom Dixon Collection in Tom Dixon’s signature color Fluoro orange. “The partnering of strong, honest materials used innovatively for long lasting function highlights the synergy we have with Audi; we are united by a commitment to making extraordinary objects for everyday use,” explains Dixon.
Artworks from the Rubell Family Collection
In addition to Tom Dixon’s design art, images and sculptures will be showcased in the Audi Pavilion. These are otherwise part of the “Beg Borrow and Steal” exhibition belonging to the Rubell Family Collection, one of the world’s best-known collections of contemporary art. The exhibition will open on December 2 on the occasion of Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach. Artists were selected whose works focus on an unknown future and at the same time draw on the heritage offered by art history, as the founders Mera and Don Rubell say: “It is exciting for us to witness a new generation that builds on the ideas and innovations of the past, comes up with its own, and leaves its mark on history.” Here, the parallels to the Audi brand are striking: “We constantly revert to the specific shapes we have used in the past and advance them. In this way, we manage to make an aesthetic link to the past and thus to the century-old tradition of the Audi brand,” comments Rupert Stadler on the DNA of the Audi brand.
The exhibition title “Beg Borrow and Steal” derives from a remark attributed to Pablo Picasso: “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” After all, recycled imagery has often fueled new artistic products.
As regards the title “Beg Borrow and Steal”, the Audi brand is borrowing selected artworks in order to give them a new interpretation and place them in a new context beyond the world of art. Mera and Don Rubell agree that the cooperation with AUDI AG fits their vision perfectly: “In pioneering new innovations in technology, Audi appreciates that advances in science and engineering cannot exist without corollary advances in art.”
“The Art of Progress”
The new Audi A8 stands for progress. This can be considered as both a technological and a cultural achievement. The artworks from the Rubell Family Collection stand for cultural progress, while Tom Dixon’s design installation spotlights technological progress. In addition to cutting-edge technology, Audi also fulfills customers’ desires for an emotional driving experience and intangible qualities such as aura and style. The exhibition “The Art of Progress” highlights precisely these qualities.
The Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach trade fairs provide an ideal location for this new form of presentation. “Art and design influence each other. We believe the new A8 is a design statement and I look forward to presenting the A8 to an audience of outstanding design and art experts,” comments Stefan Sielaff, Head of Design at AUDI AG.
Design Miami 2009: Audi Lounge with the new A8 in a miniature world
Yet the Audi Pavilion in Miami Beach is not the only venue in which the new Audi A8 is celebrating its world premiere. It will be doing so at the Audi fair stand at Design Miami as well. In the Audi Lounge the new A8 will be on show in what is for Audi an innovative installation: The A8 is presented in an outsize world, which, on entering the Audi Lounge, makes miniatures of the visitors themselves such that they too become part of the exhibition.
“The new A8 stands for ‘The Art of Progress’. For that reason, our goal was to devise an exhibition concept that translates the idea into three dimensions,” declares Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG.
Design Miami is the world’s leading trade fair for limited-edition design and stands for the ever closer links between art and design. Ambra Medda, Director of Design Miami, has created an international platform for designers, collectors, gallery owners and curators, and it is widely considered the top event in the design world.
Design Miami 2009 will run from December 1 through 5. This will be the fourth time that Audi is the fair’s exclusive auto partner. Design is one of Audi’s most important elements. Countless Audi models, such as the TT, the R8 or the A5 Sportback are now firmly established as design icons. For this reason, it is only logical for the brand to sponsor Design Miami. With its commitment, Audi is helping to promote the modern culture of design and as an active exhibitor itself stimulate innovation. The Ingolstadt-based carmaker is supporting the fair by providing a VIP shuttle service in low-emission Audi Q7 clean diesel cars and Audi A6 cars. This year Audi is also the exclusive automotive sponsor of Art Basel Miami Beach.
Art Basel Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach is the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas. As the sister event of Switzerland’s Art Basel, the most prestigious art show worldwide, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, Art Basel Miami Beach combines an international selection of top galleries with an exciting program of special exhibitions, panel discussions and art events featuring films, videos and performances.
Tom Dixon is a British furniture and lighting designer who first rose to prominence in the 1980s. He designed the iconic ‘S’ chair whilst working for Italian giant Cappellini before starting his own company ‘Eurolounge,’ through which he designed and made the celebrated Jack light. In 1998 Tom was appointed as head of design by Habitat where he then became Creative Director until 2008.
Tom Dixon’s products are in permanent museum collections across the globe including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Craft Museum in Tokyo. Tom holds an honorary doctorate of the University of the Arts London and is a cultural ambassador for the UK’s Department of Culture Media and Sport.
With a range of over 50 products sold through a distributor network across 52 countries, Tom Dixon launches new collections annually at the Milan international furniture fair. The Tom Dixon brand also includes an Interior Design arm, Design Research Studio who have designed Shoreditch House for the Soho House Group, as well as Sony and Tokyo Hipsters Club.
Rubell Family Collection and Contemporary Arts Foundation
The Rubell Family Collection is one of the leading collections of contemporary art in the world. Don and Mera Rubell started the collection in 1964. The collecting group expanded some years later when their children Jason and Jennifer, then quite young, joined their parents in acquiring art. The family’s extensive collection of works dates from the 1960s to the present.
In 1994, the Rubell family founded the Contemporary Arts Foundation (CAF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit located in the Wynwood Art District in downtown Miami, Florida. CAF believes that great works of art are an intrinsically transcendent, elevating, liberating and empowering force, and that the artifacts of our time are the legacy of society as a whole.
CAF advances public interaction at the Rubell Family Collection by presenting works from the collection of the Rubell family in rotating, curated exhibitions with accompanying documentation, as well as through a variety of educational and community outreach programs. CAF commissions new works of art and produces traveling exhibitions, which are presented throughout the world. In addition, CAF operates as a lending resource for curators and museums.