Mercedes-Benz will open an Advanced Design Center in Sophia Antipolis
In a move that signals the South of France is becoming a global hub for automotive innovation, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will open an Advanced Design Center in Sophia Antipolis.
Mercedes-Benz’s new center, which is scheduled to open in 2018, will feature a team of 50 designers working in areas such as vehicle interiors and exteriors, digital functions, and user interfaces.
Located between Cannes and Nice, Sophia Antipolis is at the heart of a region that has long been favored by artists, including the likes of Matisse and Picasso. Mercedes-Benz’s goal is to provide a creative environment where designers, graphic artists, model makers, and 3D animation specialists can work together to generate original concepts in automobile design.
“We hope the site will act as type of seismograph that detects new trends and new customer expectations,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Daimler AG–Mercedes-Benz. “The new site offers ideal conditions for collaboration between our design disciplines and it represents a major first for our design branch.”
Another link to the value chain for smart vehicles in the South of France
By opening their Advanced Design Center in Sophia Antipolis, Mercedes-Benz has added another link to the value chain for smart vehicles in the South of France. The Côte d’Azur is already home to a thriving automotive design sector, with companies such as Renault (R&D) and Toyota (design) already located in the area.
The move to Sophia Antipolis was facilitated by the Team Côte d’Azur economic development agency, with support from fellow economic actors, notably in terms of property solutions. It was the corporate real estate firm JLL that contacted Team Côte d’Azur on behalf of Mercedes-Benz to identify possible sites for the design center. Mercedes-Benz eventually opted to purchase the Nautilus building in Sophia Antipolis, a unique structure nestled amid a Provençal landscape that was once home to the video game retailing company Micromania.
Team Côte d’Azur praised for facilitating the arrival of Mercedes-Benz
“The Nautilus is one of the most remarkable and emblematic buildings in Sophia Antipolis, both for its architecture and for its history,” noted Antoine Pacchioni, director of Cushman & Wakefield in Sophia Antipolis, the agency that represented the building’s seller.
Amina Alem, the assistant director for JLL, applauded Team Côte d’Azur for facilitating the arrival of Mercedes-Benz, noting the agency provides essential support for companies locating to the South of France.