Text and photos by Tina Arceo-Dumlao
The thousands of professionals from the creative and technology fields who descended on the town of Austin in Texas in March for the popular South by Southwest festival likely failed to miss the eye-catching exhibition of revered automotive brand Porsche.
Called Porsche X – Collaborations Unseen, the immersive exhibition near the Austin Convention Center was the result of a landmark, one-of-a-kind collaboration between the Porsche design team and some of the world’s leading artists such as Daniel Arsham, Vexx and Chris Labrooy.
Together, these leading lights of the creative and luxury automobile worlds pushed the boundaries of luxury automobile design, guided by the Porsche spirit of being “Driven by Dreams.”
“Pushing the bounds of innovation, tech and design are core to Porsche’s DNA,” Kjell Gruner, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc., said in a statement.
This was why Porsche again took part in the South by Southwest festival, which has emerged as a primary venue where creativity and cutting edge technology come together to give way to new expressions and foster new ideas.
As Robert Ader, chief marketing officer at Porsche AG, said: “Collaborations are one key to shape the future positioning of our brand. They open new perspectives for us and uncover new creative facets of Porsche.”
Porsche’s latest collaboration with New York-based contemporary artist Daniel Ashram, for example, led to the reimagined Nebula 928 concept inspired by the late artist Prince and metaballs, which in computer graphics refer to organic-looking shapes that meld together when they come near each other.
The influence of the late multifaceted artist is immediately apparent in the funky metallic purple shade of the vintage car model, both outside and inside the retro-futuristic vehicle while the softened lines of the front and rear of the vehicle call to mind the separation of two liquid balls.
Chris Labrooy, on the other hand, turned the iconic 911 into a striking Swan Car that greeted everyone who visited the exhibition.
The can’t-be-missed installation was right beside two other highlights – the Mirage, an iteration of the iconic Porsche 911 Carrera, and two 20-foot figures of Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal from the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts movie coming in June.
Alongside it was the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo show car, the first concept car from Porsche that was developed specifically for use in the new Gran Turismo 7 on PlayStation 4 and 5 and designed by Belgium-based artist Vexx.
The star of the show, however, is the Porsche Vision 357, the 75th anniversary design study that pays homage to the very first Porsche sports car: the 356, the embodiment of Ferry Porsche’s dream of a sports car.
It was on June 8, 1948 when the 356 No. 1 Roadster became the first automobile bearing the name Porsche to receive a general operating permit, marking the birth of a sports car brand considered one of the world’s most valuable.
The Porsche Vision 357 takes that dream further “to combine the past, present and future.”