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03 • 2017

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IRONMAN Jan Frodeno

EL EC TRO N IC STA BIL IT Y P RO GRA M FO UN DER

F ESTI VAL O F AMG JA PAN

HIGH PERFORMANCE Project ONE

CLEAN AND GREEN Vegan eats

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TOUGH TERRAIN Explorer Mike Horn

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The Yacht-Master The emblematic nautical watch embodies a yachting heritage that stretches back to the 1950s. It doesn’t just tell time. It tells history.

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oyster perpetual YACHT-MASTER 40

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29 September 2017 – 21 January 2018 An Australian exclusive honouring the career of multi-award winning Hollywood costume designer Edith Head. The significant collection showcases Edith’s works for Hollywood stars including Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Hedy Lamarr, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Russell, Audrey Hepburn and more.

Open 10am –5pm Monday – Sunday including public holidays 03 5434 6088 42 View Street Bendigo Victoria

Tickets and packages: www.bendigoartgallery.com.au

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MERCEDES-BENZ MAGAZINE 03 • 2017

ON TOUR Explorer Mike Horn led a group across the demanding Simpson Desert as part of his Pole2Pole expedition. For the full story, turn to page 26.

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CONTENTS

26

3• 2 017

24 24 16

20 36 7 INTRO Going off-road in the Simpson Desert. 12 CH E CK I N Tackling driver fatigue, solar-powered backpacks, driving Hawaii's Hana Highway.

2 6 P O L A R O P P O S I T ES New Zealand and Australia’s toughest terrains were no barrier for explorer Mike Horn. 3 6 I N T RO D UC I NG P RO JEC T O NE This Mercedes-AMG supersports show car combines

Formula 1® performance with on-road efficiency.

16 A GRI PPI NG SAGA An icy drive in Sweden led Mercedes-Benz engineer Frank Werner-Mohn to invent a safety feature that changed motoring forever.

4 0 FA ST F EST The annual Festival of AMG spanned Queenstown’s icy slopes to the challenging curves of Germany’s Nürburgring.

20 WE L L AH E AD O F I TS TI M E The fit and healthy new S-Class.

4 4 C ULT UR A L CO NC EP T A first look at Mercedes me Melbourne.

CAB audited Mar 2017 93,629

Hardie Grant Media / Private Bag 1600, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia 3141 / tel: 61 3 8520 6444 / hardiegrantmedia.com Publisher Tiffany Sayers / Editor Lucy Siebert Art direction & design Dallas Budde and Luke McManus / Pre-press Splitting Image Colour / Print Offset Alpine Editorial mercedes@hardiegrant.com / Advertising karynkyriacou@hardiegrant.com

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CONTENTS

56

40 60

48

66

54 48 CH E CK O U T MercedesTrophy golfing heroes, NGV’s Triennial exhibition, an outback luxury escape.

6 6 CO UN T LES S T R EA S UR E S A luxury sea voyage reveals Japan’s cultural heart.

54 I N I T TO WI N I T Olympic gold medallist and Ironman champion Jan Frodeno on training and mental toughness.

7 2 H I G H F I VE Mercedes-Benz marks Brainwave partnership.

60 GO I NG GRE E N Top restaurants have embraced the veganism trend with delicious dishes that even carnivores adore.

7 4 A T RUE C L A S SI C AMG’s famous “Red Pig”.

64 LO CAL H E RO E S Iconic label Zambesi celebrates Mercedes-Benz Presents New Zealand.

Mercedes-Benz magazine is published by Hardie Grant Media for Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific Pty Ltd / 44 Lexia Place, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia 3170 tel: 61 3 9566 9266 / mercedes-benz.com.au / Mercedes-Benz Marketing Jerry Stamoulis and Emily Borg / Enquiries mbaustralia@daimler.com No responsibility is accepted by Mercedes-Benz or Hardie Grant for the accuracy of any statement or advice contained in the text or advertisements. Formula 1® and F1® are registered trademarks. All material appearing in Mercedes-Benz magazine is copyright. ©2017 DETAILS O F T HE ENTIR E MERCEDES-B ENZ R A NGE A R E AVA I L A BL E O N L I N E AT M E RCE D E S - BE N Z. CO M . AU

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CHECK IN Technology Mobility Research

EXHIBITION EXPERIMENT

Science and art will collide at a new Australian gallery that aims to offer a futuristic experience to visitors. One of eight nodes worldwide, Science Gallery Melbourne is set to open in 2020 and will explore our understanding of science, art and innovation. It forms part of the University of Melbourne’s planned “innovation precinct” and includes over 700 square metres of gallery space delivering multi-disciplinary technologies and 2D and 3D artworks. In addition, theatres, workshop spaces and media production studios will be built for projects in the fields of science, engineering and mathematics. Construction at international sites is also under way in Dublin, London, Bangalore and Venice.

PHOTOS UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE; DAIMLER, SWISS DIGITAL, TILE

M E L B O U R N E . S C I E N C E G A L L E R Y. C O M

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Traffic psychologist Dr Peter Kiegeland, along with the Daimler Center for Automotive IT Innovations in Berlin, has been studying the effects of fatigue on motorists. Kiegeland, who is a chairperson of the Association of German Professional Psychologists, talks about how stress can affect driving, plus some tips to cope on the road.

LOST AND FOUND Connected device maker Tile has released its next-generation bluetooth trackers, Tile Style and Tile Sport, which help locate wayward phones, keys or other belongings with the touch of a smartphone app. The powerful trackers increase durability, have a louder alert volume, and double the previous range – allowing the devices to be located from further away. The Tile Style has a sleek new exterior and both are waterproof to 1.5-metres deep and easily attach to wallets, keys, laptops and other valuable items. T H E T I L E A P P. C O M

What causes more stress, driving in the city or on the freeway? I would say that inner-city traffic is more stressful; it can be particularly trying for drivers forced to navigate unfamiliar surroundings. But, getting stuck in heavy traffic on the freeway can also be nerve-racking.

IN THE BAG

Swiss Digital’s new range of lightweight solar-powered backpacks (46 x 35 x 16cm) will keep you connected on the go. The solar panel is removable for easy charging and there’s space for a backup battery – they’re a stylish and practical companion for a day outdoors. S W I S S D I G I TA L . C O M . A U

PHOTOS UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE; DAIMLER, SWISS DIGITAL, TILE

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PA R K I N G Y O U R C A R ? T H E R E ’ S A N A P P F O R T H AT Parking at the museum or the shops could get a whole lot easier, thanks to new technology tested by teams from Bosch and Daimler AG in Germany. The researchers demonstrated “automated driverless parking” at a multi-storey car park at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The concept sees cars responding – without the need for a driver – to an instruction from a smartphone and parking themselves. The Automated Valet Parking is set to become a reality for museum visitors from early 2018.

How do driver assistance systems help? We fi nd reassurance in the knowledge that these systems will intervene in an emergency, helping us to relax in difficult situations such as stop-and-go traffic or poor lighting conditions. What other technical advances can support drivers? Ergonomics is one of the most important features. For example, an improperly adjusted and uncomfortable seat is a stress factor – many people underestimate the role of seating in managing stress levels. What other factors contribute to stress when driving? Noise. The less noise we experience when driving, the better. Air quality also plays an important role; good climatic design is an important factor in allowing drivers to feel relaxed. Studies show that poor air quality in vehicles leads to a loss of alertness that is on a par with that experienced by drunk drivers; purified air relaxes drivers and enhances their wellbeing. What advice would you give to frequently stressed drivers? They should have a long, hard think about why they feel stressed while driving. Are they truly worried about arriving late? Or are they really affected by other factors such as work or relationships?

D A I M L E R . C O M / I N N O V A T I O N /A U T O N O M O U S - D R I V I N G

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CHECK IN

Honolulu

Molokai H A N A H I G H W AY Lanai

H AWA I I A N I S L A N D S

H AWA I I

THE ROAD TO HANA

LE NGT H – About 100 kilometres C U RVE S – 620 B RID G E S – 59

Maui

Big Island Paia

Hana

Road-trip enthusiasts are understandably drawn to Hawaii’s Hana Highway on the island of Maui. With 59 bridges and about 620 curves, the road illustrates that it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters. The bohemian town Paia marks the unofficial start of the drive, where tourists pick up snacks. Once on the highway, the road snakes past a plethora of waterfalls, including Twin Falls, Upper Waikani Falls (also known as the Three Bears) and Hanawi Falls. State parks and hiking trails dot the route, including the Wai’anapanapa State Park, known for its black pebble beach and fresh water caves.

CONCEP T A SEDAN MARKS NE W DESIGN ER A The Concept A Sedan offers a glimpse into the next generation of premium compact-class cars. The show car’s sweeping surfaces minimise lines and gaps, and signals the latest evolution in the design language of Mercedes-Benz. Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Daimler AG, says the next generation of compact-class vehicles fully embraces the philosophy of “sensual purity”. “Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme,” Wagener says. “In combination with perfect proportions and sensual surface design, the upcoming generation of the compact class has the potential to herald a new design era.” MBMAG .ME/C ONCEP T- A - SEDAN

S TAY O N T R A C K

Fans of the great outdoors will love the TomTom Adventurer, designed to track sports such as hiking, swimming, biking or skiing with integrated GPS, compass and altimeter providing real-time stats including altitude, ascent, vertical drop, 3D distance and speed. That’s not all – an integrated music player provides the perfect soundtrack to your adventure. TOMTOM.COM

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FROM THE DEPTHS

The Paralenz is a robust ergonomic camera designed by and for divers. Its integrated pressure sensors allow for automatic colour adjustment, and it can withstand depths of up to 200 metres. PA R A L E N Z . C O M

INTELLIGENT WORLD DRIVE A NEW CHAPTER in the drive towards fully autonomous cars began at the Frankfurt motor show, from which Mercedes-Benz engineers fanned out to begin a worldwide testing regimen that will include Australia. A forthcoming drive from Sydney to Melbourne in a specially fitted-out Mercedes-Benz S-Class will test digital mapping capabilities. It will be the second major operation connecting Australia to the company’s groundbreaking autonomous technology. In March, a team led by Mercedes-Benz testing and validation

engineer Jochen Haab used a Mercedes-Benz E-Class to map out routes in and between numerous major Australian cities, including Melbourne where the state-of-the-art E-Class had its first encounter with the CBD’s unique hook turns. Dubbed the “Intelligent World Drive”, the initiative kicks off on German roads and also visits China, South Africa and the US, collecting data on driving behaviours, urban and extra-urban driving, as well as testing mapping.

D I G I TA L

E X C L U S I V E LY F O R YO U Stay up to date with the latest in technology, motoring, culture, and fashion on the Mercedes-Benz Owners Online website. As a Mercedes-Benz owner, you can access dedicated benefits and offers throughout the year, along with inspiring articles and photography from the world of travel, food, wine, design, fashion and much more. OWNERS.MERCEDES-BENZ.COM.AU OWNERS.MERCEDES-BENZ.CO.NZ

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ARTIFICIAL LEARNING At first glance, these fascinating images look like digital scans of human brains. Stare a bit longer and you’ll see they’re actually the learning processes of artificial neural networks. They’re the work of British start-up Graphcore, which builds processors designed to help programmers accelerate the development of artificial intelligence applications. GRAPHCORE.AI

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DRIVE

A GRIPPING SAGA A YOUNG MERCEDES-BENZ engineer invented one of the most significant safety features of modern motoring. He relives the split second that changed his life – and saved thousands of others. WORDS JOSHUA DOWLING

CHANGING GEARS The experience of skidding off an icy Swedish road in 1989 led Frank Werner-Mohn’s career in an entirely different direction.

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DRIVE

I

f a scientist or a doctor discovered a cure for cancer that saved more than one million lives, they would likely be a household name – or, at the very least, have a university named after them. So why don’t we know the name of the person who invented the biggest advancement in road safety since the seatbelt? Stability control – the electronic ‘brain’ that can prevent a car from skidding off a road, and which we all take for granted today – has prevented more than one million fatalities since the 1990s, according to experts. In the automotive industry, car companies own the rights to the inventions of the thousands of engineers they employ. Which is why you haven’t heard of Frank Werner-Mohn – until now.

Lightbulb moment

Sitting in a ditch after skidding off an icy road in the far north of Sweden in February 1989, the young engineer, who was on a test trip for Mercedes-Benz, had plenty of time to contemplate what had just happened. Through no fault of his own, the car skidded off the icy pavement on a straight section of road. While pondering how this could be, he had a brainwave. What if the recently invented anti-lock brake system, which rapidly pulses brake pressure to prevent locking up, could somehow “talk” to an onboard computer that measured in milliseconds the angle of a car? Back at headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, Werner-Mohn and his team of engineers were given permission to build a prototype to test their theory. In March 1991, after two years of intensive development by a small but dedicated team whose idea was originally mocked by some colleagues, the technology was given the green light to go into production. “Once they saw this technology could safely prevent a skid while taking a corner, the [Daimler AG] board approved it at once,” says Werner-Mohn. “At the time this was a revelation.” The technology was first installed in the S-Class flagship limousine in 1995. Then, in 1997, a Swedish technical magazine flipped the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch during a swerve-and-avoid “moose test”.

< In my heart I was wounded because it was my invention and it was given away. But, of course, I now see the best decision was ... to make it available to everyone, to spread it out to all cars.

Mercedes-Benz responded by fitting its new stability control technology – which until then had been reserved for its top-end model – to the compact car, before eventually rolling it out across the range. “We thank this journalist, because it expedited the roll-out of our technology,” says Werner-Mohn. But there were mixed emotions for the inventor when, soon after, Mercedes-Benz handed over the patents to its technology suppliers – and did not charge them one cent for it. Mercedes-Benz could not build the new stability control systems fast enough, and so gave its know-how to other technology companies – and allowed them to sell it to rival car brands. Within 10 years, German authorities began to notice a reduction in single vehicle fatalities in cars equipped with stability control. It is now compulsory in most developed countries, and is fitted on even the cheapest new cars.

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S N O W D AY Sweden’s stark winter landscapes and icy roads inspired Frank Werner-Mohn’s idea, which went on to become a must-have safety feature. (opposite) Frank Werner-Mohn and tow truck driver Tommy Bjurstrom at the spot of the fateful accident.

PHOTO ALAMY

Reliving history

To commemorate the technology so many motorists take for granted, we went to Sweden to try to find the location that forever changed the course of car safety. Our journey begins in the middle of an ice lake near Arjeplog, a tiny Swedish village near the Arctic Circle where almost every major car company performs cold weather testing. After an eerie demonstration of the technology on a deserted ice lake that is as large as several suburbs, we head south, towards the isolated town of Strömsund, where Werner-Mohn had to summon help almost 30 years ago. However, covered in ice and snow, the roads and terrain both north and south of the town look exactly the same. The next step is to locate the tow company that came to Werner-Mohn’s rescue all those years ago – there is only one in this small community of 3500 people.

Unsurprisingly, the business has a new owner, but they know how to find Tommy Bjurstrom, who, as a young lad, went to work with his dad that day to rescue what was, at the time, the latest Mercedes-Benz. We head about four kilometres south of the village to a nondescript stretch of straight road that could be anywhere in rural Scandinavia. And then ... Bjurstrom stops. The ditch is there, but the trees have been cleared from the edge of the road. In 1989, landing one metre in either direction would have put Werner-Mohn on course with a tree, and the consequences could have been much more severe. Trying to stay warm, the men get out and hug in their large snow jackets.Werner-Mohn can’t believe Bjurstrom has found the exact spot. Bjurstrom can’t believe what the fuss is all about – until we explain what that crash led to. “In my heart I was wounded because it was my invention and it was given away,” says

Werner-Mohn. “But, of course, I now see the best decision was … to make it available to everyone, to spread it out to all cars.” Werner-Mohn is due to retire this year after 35 years with Mercedes-Benz. His final project is working with his fellow engineers on autonomous car technology we won’t see for years to come. Fittingly, the stability control Werner-Mohn and his colleagues invented now underpins future autonomous car technology. As someone who loves driving, Werner-Mohn understands why some people may be concerned about control being taken away from the driver. “The driver should always be in control but, as with [stability control] there will be systems that keep you safe without the driver knowing. “Without technology we would not save as many lives as we have already today.” < Reprinted with permission: Joshua Dowling, News Corp Australia. Mercedes-Benz magazine 19

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Me


DRIVE

PERSONAL TRAINER A new available function in the S-Class, Energizing Comfort, anticipates occupantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stress levels and makes adjustments to create a different mood. 20 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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WELL AHEAD OF ITS TIME LONG RECOGNISED as a true pioneer of style and safety, the latest S-Class adds “wellbeing advisor” to its credentials. WORDS JACK JONES

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DRIVE

T

he Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the car of the future for the past 50 years. No other vehicle has pioneered as many technologies in crash avoidance, luxury and convenience as the flagship saloon. But, the rapid rate of development in recent years has seen the S-Class overtaken as the shepherd of all things shiny and new, with the latest-generation E-Class the first to debut the newest partially automated driving systems and an updated infotainment interface from Mercedes-Benz. Now, the S-Class once again leapfrogs to the forefront with a mid-cycle upgrade that sees 6500 new components bringing improvements to all aspects of its character. These include the introduction of a new family of high-tech

and fuel-efficient in-line six-cylinder diesel and eight-cylinder engines, and a world-first interactive wellness feature designed to manipulate the mood of its occupants and ensure theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re cocooned in the ultimate luxury. Due to arrive in showrooms in December, the revised S-Class range will consist of seven model variants with a mix of short- and long-wheelbase body styles; an all-turbocharged selection of petrol and diesel engines; a high-performance Mercedes-AMG S 63; and the last word in opulence, the extended wheelbase, V12-powered Mercedes-Maybach S 650. Most of those new components lie under the skin, with only a host of subtle design cues to separate it from its predecessor, such as slightly revised bumpers with an enlarged grille, modified head and tail lights and re-styled alloy wheels on certain models.

The S-Class has leapfrogged to the forefront once again with a mid-cycle upgrade that sees 6500 new components bring improvements to all aspects of its character.

<

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SUBTLE NEW LOOK A new three-spoke steering wheel houses the cruise control functions for the first time.

Similarly, the cabin hasn’t been altered too much, save for a new three-spoke steering wheel that houses the cruise control functions for the first time, rather than on a separate column-mounted stalk, as well as a flush piece of glass covering the twin 12.3-inch digital screens that dominate the dash and feature the latest interface.

Wellbeing advisor

The most intriguing available feature, however, is the world-first wellness function called Energizing Comfort, which essentially links the audio system with the seat massaging, heating and ventilation functions, as well as the ambient lighting, to create different moods within the cabin to influence the behaviour of its occupants. There are five main modes – Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy and Comfort – that display unique graphics on the 12.3-inch colour display, use different seat settings, manipulate the lights < Mercedes-Benz magazine 23

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DRIVE

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<

The most intriguing available feature is the world-first wellness function called Energizing Comfort, which essentially links the audio system with the seat massaging, heating and ventilation functions, as well as the ambient lighting to create different moods within the cabin to influence the behaviour of its occupants.

and tap into your music collection, choosing tunes based on the beats per minute, to either invigorate or relax those in the cabin after a long and stressful day. There are also three 10-minute Training programs that provide instructions on body movements, breathing techniques and thoughts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just like a personal yoga class â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to keep the driver invigorated and alert.

Host of improvements

Under the skin, new components include the debut of a new generation of a six-cylinder diesel engine, more advanced partially automated driving functions, and changes to the air suspension to enhance on-road comfort. The 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine will be offered in two states of tune, producing 210kW and 600Nm in the S 350 d and 250kW and 700Nm in the S 400 d, each of which drives the rear wheels through the latest generation 9G TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.

i Mercedes-Benz S-Class Engine/output: S 350 d 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel 210kW/600Nm S 400 d L 3.0-litre, turbocharged diesel 250kW/700Nm Mercedes-AMG S 63 L 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 450kW/900Nm Transmission 9G TRONIC nine-speed automatic

It is a phenomenal powertrain combination that, even in the S 350 d, revs smoothly and quietly with a level of refinement not previously achieved from a diesel engine, all the while having the performance of a V8 and the fuel consumption of a small hatchback. The new S-Class is a car that allows you to have your cake and eat it, too. Or, for those at the other end of the spectrum, the Mercedes-AMG S 63 has a 450kW/900Nm version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that can propel it from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds, while the range-topping Mercedes-Maybach S 650 amplifies the level of opulence within the cabin and is powered by the silky smooth 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12. If anything, the sum total of the changes made to the S-Class has helped it reclaim its position as the car of the future, because you can rest assured that it not only sets the benchmark for modern luxury today, but that all of its new goodies will spread across the Mercedes-Benz range in years < to come. Mercedes-Benz magazine 25

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ADVENTURE

POLAR OPPOSITES FROM TACKLING New Zealand’s fiercest mountain ranges to one of Australia’s most unforgiving deserts, it’s all in a day’s work for explorer Mike Horn. WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN AND JACK JONES

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ALPINE ESCAPE Mike Horn marked the halfway point on his epic Pole2Pole expedition with a few days exploring New Zealand's rugged South Island. Mercedes-Benz magazine 27

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ADVENTURE

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f there’s one person on this blue-green ball who can say they’ve just about seen it all, it’s Mike Horn. This year alone, the 51-year-old South African-born Swiss explorer has trekked solo across the icy desolation of Antarctica, driven the incomparable mountain ranges of New Zealand’s South Island and conquered the dusty red dunes of the Australian Simpson Desert. Yet that is just a sliver of his current two-year quest to circumnavigate the world via its poles, which itself is a mere bagatelle against a career ticking off polar exploration, summiting some of the world’s tallest mountains, numerous roundthe-world sailing trips and even a solo, unpowered circumnavigation of the Earth’s equator. When Mercedes-Benz Magazine first catches up with him in New Zealand in April, he is at about the halfway point of the Pole2Pole expedition. When we meet again in August amid the red dust and towering sand dunes of the Simpson Desert, he is on the homeward leg aiming to cross the Arctic Circle late in 2017 and finish at the starting point, Monaco, in mid-2018.

Body on the line

Widely acknowledged as “the world’s greatest living explorer”, Mike Horn has a reputation for immersing himself in situations of peril, then using endurance, determination and experience to extricate himself. It doesn’t always go exactly to plan – a missing middle fingertip and a searing pain in the shoulder when we first meet in New Zealand’s Queenstown are ever-present reminders of the dangers of complacency. He has survived being rolled upon by a polar bear trying to ransack his food supplies, and fended off countless spiders, snakes, crocodiles and piranhas. In that light, the error that claimed his fingertip seems a ridiculously simple one: removing a glove to tie a shoelace, in temperatures nearing minus-60 degrees Celsius during a solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle in 2002. The tip of his finger froze solid, and two other digits were badly damaged. It would be 10 excruciating days before he received medical attention. “It felt for all that time like someone was constantly < hitting it with a hammer,” Horn winces. 28 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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OVERL AND ADVENTURE Mike Hornâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s adventures in Australasia saw him tackling snowy peaks in Queenstown, before taking on Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Simpson Desert.

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ADVENTURE

<

I’ve always felt the desire to go places, wherever I could to get to. I had a great upbringing and a lot of freedom.

After amputation, the finger recovered; but when we first meet, just days after his arrival in New Zealand from Antarctica, it transpires he is carrying another serious injury. This fact doesn’t come from Horn – his daughter Annika, who manages his affairs, mentions in passing that he broke his shoulder during the just-completed Antarctic traverse. While on skis and hooked into a line between his provisions sled and a kite pulling him along, the sled dug into a snow embankment, and flipped. Horn was flung into the air then slammed onto the ice repeatedly, until he could grasp a knife in his belt and cut himself free. Yet even a broken socket in his shoulder has not been enough to stop him forging on. This is one tough hombre.

Setting some boundaries

There are times when Horn appears nonchalant about his own health and safety. If there’s an edge, you’ll invariably find him standing on it. Were there snakes in New Zealand, he’d probably be poking them, just to see what would happen. During three days of driving in the spectacular Queenstown hinterland, Horn is hell-bent on choosing the steepest, narrowest and most rutted excuses-for-a-goat-track he can find, on showing us what our cars – a pair of Mercedes-Benz G-Class – are capable of. But he’s anything but careless; even more so since the passing of his wife Cathy in 2015, a victim of breast cancer. He isn’t planning on putting his two daughters, both in their early 20s, through further loss.

“No expedition is worth dying for, and to begin to take risks just to sell it to sponsors, it’s just not worth the money,” he explains. “The mountains will stay there. The polar regions will stay there. If you die, you can’t come back and try again.”

Feeling free in NZ

Our Queenstown adventure is based on Horn’s most trusted form of locomotion – the Mercedes-Benz G 500. Two cars, complete with Euro registration plates, have been with Horn since the start of this expedition in Monaco, having traversed Africa from north to south then been shipped to New Zealand as he forged across Antarctica. Though he made his reputation primarily on arduous unmotorised expeditions and climbs, Horn has been a Mercedes-Benz

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IN G O OD C OMPANY Horn travels solo for long stretches of the Pole2Pole expedition, but during his trip across the Simpson Desert he was joined by a gaggle of adventure-hungry journalists.

This is definitely the car that I would buy. You buy freedom with this car.

<

ambassador since 2002 and has developed a deep affinity for the G-Class. “This is definitely the car that I would buy. You buy freedom with this car,” he says. Freedom is a commodity that means more to Horn than any other currency – and there is no amount of money or fame that would persuade him to part with it. In the aftermath of his wife’s passing, he grounded himself in order to spend more time with his daughters. That lasted a matter of months before his daughters ordered him to get back on the road. “He was driving us absolutely crazy,” chuckles daughter Annika, 24, who is accompanying him during his New Zealand exploration. “We told him that he needed to get back out where he belongs.”

Australian Outback adventure

Weeks later – and seemingly a million miles away from the snow-capped mountains of Queenstown, let alone the frozen plains of Antarctica – we meet up again in the Simpson Desert, where Horn is traversing central Australia from Birdsville to Uluru along with a team of journalists from around the world. This time his two G 500s are joined by a convoy of G 300 Professional Wagons and Cab-Chassis utes that are available to the public. It’s a vastly different landscape and the largest group of people he has interacted with for months; yet remote, untouched locations like this are where he feels most at home. Since his daughters moved into a small apartment in the Swiss city of Lausanne after the passing of their mother, he has < no fixed address. Mercedes-Benz magazine 31

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ADVENTURE

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< Freedom is a commodity that means more to Horn than any other currency â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and there is no amount of money or fame that would persuade him to part with it.

S TA R R Y N I G H T The Simpson Desert provided the ultimate backdrop.

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ADVENTURE

From the moment he whips out of his sleeping bag at the first light of day – waking up those around him as he yells “good morning, Australia!” at the top of his voice – he is like a teenager on a permanent supply of energy drinks.

<

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DRIVING MACHINE Horn has navigated his V8-powered G-Class through a variety of terrain and conditions, including Outback bulldust.

MIKE HORN’S MOST FAMOUS EXPEDITIONS 1997: AMAZON

A solo traverse of South America, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, via a 7000-kilometre descent of the Amazon River on a Hydrospeed, a type of motorised boogie board.

1999: LATITUDE ZERO

Circumnavigated the world via the Equator, solo and without any motorised transport, including crossing the Pacific Ocean on a 28-foot trimaran, and walking across the African continent.

“The girls kicked me out,” he jokes while at the same time encouraging us to power-slide his V8-powered G-Class through a patch of bulldust so thick that it feels as though it could swallow us if we slowed down. “I suppose I am homeless then!” But Horn is anything but a hobo. From the moment he whips out of his sleeping bag at the first light of day – waking up those around him as he yells “good morning, Australia!” at the top of his voice – he is like a teenager on a permanent supply of energy drinks. He bounces around, climbs anything he can, jumps from the roof of one car to another. He falls a couple of metres into the shrubs and dust on at least one occasion, brushing himself off like he meant it to happen and without so much as a grimace from any pain in his damaged shoulder.

A lifetime of adventure

There’s a chance to soothe it quietly while taking a dip at the picturesque Dalhousie Springs, an oasis in the middle of the desert where the water temperature hovers above 30 degrees. It’s here, while dodging kids on pool toys and having his feet nibbled by tiny fish, that Horn tells of being inspired by iconic explorers like Shackleton and Scott as a child, and how his own father encouraged him to be independent and inquisitive from a tender age. “My father used to say that I could do anything and go anywhere, as long as I was home by 6pm each night,” he says. “So I would get on my bike and just get out and

go exploring. I’ve always felt the desire to go places, wherever I could to get to. I had a great upbringing and a lot of freedom.” Additional survival skills came courtesy of a stint in the South African army’s Special Forces, while business acumen came from working for a family farming business where he garnered the title of the “Cabbage King” of Cape Town. However, he felt restricted in a uniform – whether it was army greens or a suit and tie. In his early 20s, he gifted all his possessions – including a house and car – to friends and family and packed a bag of clothes, wandering off to his now native Switzerland with the equivalent of 20 dollars in his back pocket. He's seen a lot of the planet since then, but until now, never the middle of Australia. Ten days after setting off from Birdsville, we’re sitting on the roof of Horn’s dusty G 500 watching Uluru change colour in the twilight as the sun falls behind the horizon. The vast nothingness that surrounds the giant monolith is a reminder of just how far we’ve come. In the Australian Outback, only the tough survive. People like Cobby Bob, the caretaker of Old Andano homestead, who greets us with smiling eyes under his weathered Kangaroo-felt hat, a pipe protruding from his silvery beard and a stubby of beer in hand. People like Loy at Oak Valley Station, who proudly tells tales of local indigenous tribal laws and beliefs around a gigantic bonfire, recounting the stories of some of the toughest survivors on the planet. To that list you can now add Mike Horn. < W W W. M I K E H O R N .C O M/ P O L E -2 - P O L E

2002: ARKTOS

A solo, two-year journey to travel around the Arctic Circle via boat, kayak, ski kite and on foot.

2006: NORTH POLE

With fellow explorer Borge Ousland, trekked for 60 days – on skis and without dogs – to the North Pole and back, during the constant darkness of Arctic night.

2007–2014: THE 8000M PEAKS Scaled several of the world’s tallest mountains without additional oxygen or external assistance, including Gasherbrum 1 and 2, Broad Peak and Makalu.

2015: DRIVEN TO EXPLORE

Using a Mercedes-Benz G-Class and with his daughters, drove from Switzerland across 13 countries to Pakistan, where they attempted to climb K2 but turned back from the summit due to unfavourable weather.

2016–2018: POLE2POLE

Currently circumnavigating the planet via the two Poles, starting from Monaco and driving south to the horn of Africa, across Antarctica, up through New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Russia to the North Pole, estimated to return to Monaco in 2018. Mercedes-Benz magazine 35

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DRIVE

PROJECT ONE FOR AS LONG as cars have raced on tracks, engineers have dreamed of bringing the same levels of performance to the road. WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN

T

he unveiling at the Frankfurt motor show of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE supersports show car not only brings those engineers’ dream one step closer to reality, but demonstrates it is capable of being achieved with startling efficiency. Drawing technology, materials and inspiration from the Formula 1® arena – and especially the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team, which has dominated the grid for the past three seasons – Project ONE is described by Tobias Moers, the head of management at Mercedes-AMG, as “the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken”. “Project ONE raises the bar in terms of what is currently technologically feasible and, thanks to its combination of efficiency and performance, it represents an absolute benchmark,” he says. When the production version of the Project ONE concept begins to arrive in 2019, it is expected to be able to generate a stunning 1000 horsepower, or about 740kW, as the engine spins to a stratospheric 11,000rpm, which is currently unique for a roadgoing vehicle. Expect the sprint to 200km/h to be dispatched in under six seconds, a similar timeframe to that which many other road cars need to reach just 100km/h. Remarkably, these incredible numbers will be achieved by the combination of a turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engine and four electric motors in a hybrid powerplant combination adapted from the < Formula 1® car driven by Lewis Hamilton.

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PE RFEC T PAIR The Project ONE supersports show car blends efficiency and performance in what is one of Mercedes-AMGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most ambitious projects. Mercedes-Benz magazine 37

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DRIVE

<

This hypercarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extreme appearance marks a milestone in design â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there are no lines, and the interior is stripped down to the essentials.

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AERIAL VIEW (Below) The supersports show car design draws on Formula 1® elements, with muscular proportions, a “wasp” waist and an extended rear end.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of MercedesBenz Cars, says this is how it should be. “Motorsport is not an end in itself for us. Faced with intense competition, we develop technologies from which our production vehicles also subsequently benefit.” The unique structure of the combustion engine in combination with the electric motors is said to eliminate turbo lag, creating a response time even shorter than a naturally aspirated V8 engine. The mid-mounted V6 engine combines with an electrically powered single turbocharger and an electric motor connected to the crankshaft to push a maximum output of more than 500kW to the rear wheels, while two more electric motors connected to the front axle can produce 120kW each, lending Project ONE all-wheel-drive traction and stability under acceleration. Further strengthening the link between Project ONE and Formula 1® is the battery cells. Their arrangement and the cell cooling system used in Project ONE are the same as those used in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1® racing car. Unlike the racing car, though, Project ONE can cruise up to 25 kilometres on electric power alone, making it city-friendly during the week but also a fearsome companion for weekend track days. Formula 1® cues continue in the exterior design. Starting from a mid-engine layout, Daimler AG chief design officer Gorden Wagener penned extremely muscular proportions with the cockpit well forward, large wheel arches, a ‘wasp’ waist and an extended rear end. “The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is the hottest and coolest car we have ever designed. It combines our design philosophy of Sensual Purity with the

performance of our Formula 1® racing cars and is the perfect embodiment of Performance Luxury,” Wagener says. The roof line is dominated by an air intake derived from Formula 1®, via which the engine takes in large volumes of air. The black intake transitions elegantly into the black, vertical shark fin, which improves lateral stability when cornering at high speed. The side view also displays a sensuous, clean surface design combined with functional features. The vehicle flanks are tautly recessed, with black carbon-fibre surfaces redirecting the airflow around the vehicle body as in motorsport. The sharp, vertical spoiler lip and the large, two-section diffuser, which is interrupted by the central exhaust tailpipe, as well as the two-stage extendible rear aerofoil, contribute to aerodynamic efficiency and performance at high speeds. The design of the exhaust tailpipe with its large, round outlet and two further small, round apertures was adopted directly from the Formula 1® cars. “This hypercar’s extreme appearance marks a milestone in design – there are no lines, and the interior is stripped down to the essentials.” The interior is described as “Formula 1® for two”, with every detail in the minimalist cockpit serving a practical rather than aesthetic function. A floating dashboard contains two high-resolution, free-standing 10-inch displays framing a Formula 1®-style steering wheel with flattened upper and lower sections and two integrated controllers that can be used to set adjustment functions. Tobias Moers says : “The hypercar is the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken. It marks yet another pinnacle of the successful, strategic development of Mercedes-AMG towards a < performance and sports car brand.”

INSIDE STORY (Above) The supersports car has fully fledged Formula 1® hybrid technology featuring high-performance plug-in hybrid drive system, and a1.6-litre V6 turbocharged petrol engine and four electric motors.

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FAST FEST

W

hat would it be like to slide sideways through snow at the top of a mountain just outside New Zealand’s Queenstown; to conquer the sinuous, smooth bitumen of famous Phillip Island; or tick the “Green Hell” of the Nürburgring’s feared Nordschleife circuit off your bucket list? All experienced behind the wheel of the latest and most powerful MercedesAMG vehicles. Throughout 2017, dozens of enthusiastic Mercedes-AMG owners and their partners took part in the Festival of AMG – not only purchasing a ticket to one of the world’s most exclusive automotive experiences, but also gaining a lifetime of memories, along with spectacular photography. Some were first-timers, new to the ways of speed,

noise and advanced driving skills but keen to extend their experience. Others were Festival veterans, intent on amplifying the enjoyment they already get from driving one of the world’s most desired performance vehicles every day.

Snow days

In Queenstown during August, temperatures dipped well below freezing but the coffee was hot and so was the action, as participants in the AMG Snow Experience came to grips – or, rather, the lack thereof – with icy conditions rarely seen outside the alpine regions. Tails flicked, tyres slid and engines roared through a series of exercises including slalom, controlled drifting and racing. There was much spinning, swearing and laughter, but beyond the fun and adrenalin-pumping

action lay the opportunity to learn a new level of car control. Sunshine Coast geologist Rees Thomas completed the AMG Snow Experience for the fifth time this year and says his car control improves each season. “Every time you go back, you get better at it. These days I spend more time actually driving than spinning,” he says. A veteran of numerous track days and owner of multiple Mercedes-AMGs – he has an A 45, ML 63 and CLK Black Series in his garage – he puts the car control skills to good use on the loose, corrugated roads that are a regular part of his work commute. “Getting sideways is something you're not supposed to do in a car, but in the snow it’s encouraged. Learning how to deal with that < makes you a much better driver.”

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S N O W D AY Queenstown in New Zealand played host to a favourite Festival of AMG event, where participants learned the ins and outs of icy driving techniques.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every time you go back, you get better at it. These days I spend more time actually driving than spinning.â&#x20AC;?

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DRIVE

Below (left to right) Bernd Schneider, legendary AMG factory driver; Dennis Meehan, Mercedes-AMG manager, Australia; Maro Engel, AMG factory driver and Martin Heiss, Mercedes-AMG VIP management.

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R ACE RE ADY A special trip to Stuttgart in Germany included a once-in-a-lifetime chance for participants to test their driving skills on the famed Nordschleife.

<

The Festival of AMG provides Mercedes-AMG fanatics with unforgettable experiences, including driving Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit.

German immersion

In Germany, the cars were familiar, but the skills learned extremely different. A group of 20 Australian Mercedes-AMG owners and their partners flew into Stuttgart for a once-in-a-lifetime immersion into the world of Mercedes-AMG. A factory tour of the AMG facility in Affalterbach set the scene ahead of a guided road trip through southern Germany in an eyebrow-raising convoy including the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S, C 63 Coupé, A 45, and the new performance king of the range, the GT R. Then, while their partners enjoyed a cruise on the Rhine and shopping in Frankfurt, came the opportunity that everyone was waiting for – laps of the famed Nordschleife. Under the eye of Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Bernd Schneider, Maro Engel and Nico Bastian, guests ran through a series of skill-based driving exercises leading up to full laps of the twisting 21-kilometre-long circuit. And finally, after testing their own limitations in a series of road cars, the owners and their partners

all had the chance to catch a “Ring Taxi” – hot laps in race-ready Mercedes-AMG GT S models piloted by Schneider, Engel and Bastian.

Closer to home

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences are one thing; but for those whose primary concern is simply to improve their driving skills, a series of experiences at racetracks around Australia is just the ticket. Under the tutelage of experienced instructors, the invitation-only AMG Spirit, AMG Performance (Level 1), AMG Evolution (Level 2) and AMG Pro (Level 3) programs build and hone driving skills in the safe environment of racetracks such as Phillip Island, Sandown Raceway and Sydney Motorsport Park. As an added bonus, participants get to sample a number of models from across the < Mercedes-AMG range. To book your next Mercedes-AMG driving event using your AMG customer number, visit E XPERIENCE .MERCEDES - BENZ .COM. AU

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DESIGN

CULTURAL CONCEPT THIS SUMMER, gather in a space that blends innovative design with the best of café culture along with unforgettable events. W O R D S M I R A N D A TAY

I

magine, if you will, a destination hub so inspiring it is poised to revitalise one of the most rapidly developing yet underrated precincts in Melbourne. Perched on the corner of one of the city’s busiest intersections, at the foot of the soaring Rialto Towers, and spread across two glittering levels of architectural splendour, it is a place where you can enjoy your favourite morning brew, connect with colleagues, revel in the latest in prestige automobile design and meet some of Melbourne’s leading craftspeople. This is the home of Mercedes me Melbourne. Marrying aspirational lifestyle with innovative café culture, the bespoke venue – the latest of only eight Mercedes me lifestyle concept spaces in the world – is designed to create midtown magic at the intersection of King and Collins streets. While each Mercedes me store is characterised by a few common aesthetics, they are ultimately designed to reflect the specific tastes and passions of the host city’s culture. “We want to be a place that people love, and look forward to coming back to,” says Mercedes me general manager, Simon Johnson. “Whether that is just coming in and enjoying that atmosphere, or the great hospitality, or finding out more about the Mercedes-Benz brand. “The Mercedes me stores around the world are about celebrating each city’s particular culture. Of course, in Melbourne we knew that had to be the city’s < famed café culture, and the streetscape itself.

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MEET ME THERE Mercedes me Melbourne promises to be unlike any other cafĂŠ or events venue in the city.

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DESIGN

EASY ELEGANCE A sleek palette of steelwork, tiles, polished concrete and timber plays a starring role.

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“As well as being a place for fans and customers to enjoy, Mercedes me Melbourne opens up the Mercedes-Benz brand to people who may not have previously considered it. It’s not a merchandise store nor a retail outlet, but an access point to the brand, in what is an entirely new approach in Australia,” Johnson adds. The concept – designed by architects Jackson Clements Burrows (JCB) with Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with hospitality partner St Ali – sees art, design, performance, innovation, sport and hospitality collide. The experiential space is designed by the question, “what would an aspirational home for a Mercedes-Benz owner look like?”. The result is an intimate environment embracing urban living. For this, the architects drew on inspiration from the extensive Mercedes-Benz archival library. “We were trying to develop a language which we felt would be reflective of the home for Mercedes-Benz,” JCB’s Simon Topliss says. “We found these wonderful images of some of the Mercedes-Benz factories of the ’50s, and these beautiful factory spaces with amazing, fine steelwork. It was spare and minimal … and incredibly ordered. “It became our inspiration, the driving force behind how we can develop the language of the metalwork, and that became simply articulated in this one gesture that we have repeated, which is the frame. Just taking this one simple idea of the frame, which then becomes the balustrade, which then becomes the lighting frame, and so on. It became this one element we could wrap around the space.” The materials palette of steelwork, tiles, polished concrete and timber is spare and luxurious – in keeping with the global Mercedes me store aesthetic. But it also speaks to the character of the city, and allows the one simple element to define the architectural vision: the steelwork.

Flexible, innovative space

The design showcases a collection of private and public zones where every space tells a story. Interspersed throughout are nooks and crannies in which to retreat, and public-facing areas that engage with the streetscape. On the ground level, the Living Room is modelled on a luxurious residence, complete with kitchen and comfortable seating. Wrapped around it is the open-air Garden, linking street and venue. The double-sided kitchen, which has a bar servery in front and a chef’s table on the side, is on display as a showcase of St Ali’s renowned coffee and food offerings. “A whole hospitality operation is going on live,” Topliss says. “We didn’t want to hide the kitchen away; we wanted it to be part of the experience.”

< We found these wonderful images of some of the Mercedes factories of the ’50s, and these beautiful factory spaces with amazing, fine steelwork. It was spare and minimal … and incredibly ordered.

The car, naturally, is the centrepiece of the experience. Driven from the back through the Garage, it is framed against a wall of display screens. Although constantly changing, it resides as an object centre-stage; at once part of the “home” but also its undisputed star. As night falls, the venue transforms into a flexible event space through the use of a simple device – the Veil – a curtain that wraps around the inner-frame. This lends softness to the industrial edges and a flexibility to the environment. Meanwhile, private booths along the edge of the sculpted stairs lead the way upstairs, where an espresso bar accessible from the Rialto atrium is ideally placed for a grab-and-go coffee. On the floating loft, the Library is an open collaborative space; next to it, on the plinth, private discussions

can be held behind the closed doors of the Drawing Room. This level's highlight is the Meet the Maker space, showcasing the work of the city's creatives. “It’s designed so someone like a milliner or a bootmaker can show their wares and creative process, and it gives customers an opportunity to get an insight into the craftsmanship and artistry in Melbourne,” Topliss says. Technology has, of course, been carefully considered and plays a starring, yet discreet, role. Dotted throughout are state-of-the-art multimedia touchpoints: jewellery-like display boxes, giant projection screens and theatre-style lighting. Discover Mercedes me Melbourne for yourself < from early November 2017. For details, visit ME RC E DE S . ME/ME LB OURNE . Mercedes-Benz magazine 47

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CHECK OUT Design Art Indulgence

A M AT E U R G O L F S TA R S HE AD TO MERCEDESTROPHY IN GERMANY WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN

STRUTTING ONTO T HE FI R ST T E E on a

championship course before a packed gallery and teeing off in an international tournament is the sort of rare air usually only enjoyed by the likes of Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler or Jordan Spieth. For six Mercedes-Benz owners from Australia and New Zealand, a golfing dream became reality when they represented their respective countries in the international final of the MercedesTrophy. Three winners from Australia and three from New Zealand won through regional and national finals to qualify for the global decider, held in Stuttgart in Germany. In Australia, 91 Mercedes-Benz customers descended on Queensland’s The Pines course at the famed Sanctuary Cove Resort to contest the national final. Alan Wong (Brisbane), Rick Pegus

(Sydney) and Mike King (Melbourne) came out on top at the completion of two hotly contested stableford rounds. “You think to yourself at the outset that someone like me, a rank amateur, could never have the chance to do this,” King said. “It’s quite surreal. I took up golf only about four years ago so I’ve been learning and learning and slowly honing my skill. At the end of the day you need a bit of luck, you’ve got to be consistent, but also never give up. I had a few bad holes and thought it was over, but you’ve just got to get through that.” Meanwhile, Sydney’s Ben O’Toole picked up a handy consolation prize – a trip to The Open at the UK’s Royal Birkdale for launching the straightest drive on the 18th hole, which landed

just 24cm from the centre marker. New Zealand’s final pitted 24 national qualifiers in a stableford battle at the Millbrook Resort near Queenstown, where Fangyi Zhao, Xu Han and Alistair Bisset were the victors. The unluckiest player of the weekend was Daire McCracken, whose par-three tee shot was just inches from a hole-in-one and the prize of a Mercedes-AMG A45. “Wow, it’s a completely new experience for me. I’ve never represented New Zealand in anything before so it’s pretty amazing,” Alistair Bisset said. While the golf took centre stage, the weekends presented treats for players’ partners including spa treatments and driving experiences. After-dinner speakers included around-the-world explorer Mike Horn and All-Black Richie McCaw.

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CHIN CHIN A GO-GO Sydneysiders no longer have to hop on a plane to sample the flavours of one of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants. Led by executive chef Graeme Hunt and head chef Ben Torrance, Chin Chin Sydney in Surry Hills serves bespoke dishes that take its Thai origins and blend them with an onsite fire pit and gas rotisserie. Asian flavours come to life in new ways, such as grilled steak marinated in jungle curry paste. The George Livissianisdesigned space features the original windows of the Griffiths Teas Building, creating a light-filled dining area with an open kitchen. Downstairs, the roomy Chii Town is ideal for functions.

IMAGES MERCEDES-BENZ; KI ODYSSEYS; CHIN CHIN, HEATHERWICK STUDIO

C H I N C H I N R E S TA U R A N T. C O M . A U

F R E S H TA S T E Indulge in personalised winery experiences, gin tastings and gourmet dinners cooked by local farmers on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island with new three-day seasonal food and wine tours. Experiences include return flights from Adelaide, on-ground transport and luxury accommodation. K I O DYS S E YS . C O M . AU

A TOWER OF ART Cape Town in South Africa has sealed its place as one of Africa’s leading art destinations with the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in the city’s Silo district. British architect Thomas Heatherwick led the renovation of the historic silo, where the main attraction is the private collection of former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz, an aficionado of modern African art. ZEITZMOCAA.MUSEUM

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TEA WITH A TWIST Indulge in the Wedgwood High Tea at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne until the end of December. The luxurious spread includes three tiers of deluxe finger sandwiches (such as crab remoulade with fennel ’slaw) and dainty cakes, including Earl Grey-infused, chocolate ganache-filled macarons.

GARDEN PA R A D I S E This summer, the Great Opera Hits program will accompany balmy afternoons and sunsets across Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia’s 90-minute concerts feature famous arias from the likes of Bizet, Puccini, Rossini and Verdi performed by some of Opera Australia’s finest opera singers, accompanied by piano. The events run from 1 January to 25 March 2018.

In case you needed one, now there’s another compelling reason to visit Singapore – the Shangri-la Hotel recently revealed its renovated resort-themed Tower Wing complete with a stunning floor-to-ceiling indoor garden and sleek black infinity pool.

OPERA .ORG.AU

SHANGRI-LA.COM/SINGAPORE/SHANGRILA

SUNSET SERIES

IMAGES OPERA AUSTRALIA; NGV; MONA; MURDOCH BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY: MARK ROPER

ARIABAR.COM.AU

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MONA ON THE MOVE David Walsh, owner of Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), has announced plans to build a 172-room, five-star hotel on the museum’s site in Berriedale, Tasmania. The proposed “HOMO” (HOtel at MOna) will include a spa centre, library, restaurant and bar, auditorium and conference centre, with accommodation elevated above the Derwent River. The cheekily named luxury accommodation is expected to take three years to build once council approval has been assured – in the meantime, book a stay at one of the eight luxury MONA Pavilions. M O N A . N E T. A U / S TAY / M O N A - P AV I L I O N S

IMAGES OPERA AUSTRALIA; NGV; MONA; MURDOCH BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY: MARK ROPER

DESIGN MEETS ART Love your art, design, architecture, performance, film, painting, and fashion design? Significant works from 78 artists and designers representing 32 countries will be on display at Triennial, a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) from 15 December 2017 to 15 April 2018. With the support of principal partner Mercedes-Benz, this free exhibition celebrates contemporary art and design practise – an opportunity to look at the world through the eyes of some of the globe’s most creative minds, including artist Yayoi Kusama, 3D fashion designer Iris van Herpen (design pictured), and Australian artists such as Ben Quilty and Ron Mueck. Triennial is planned to return to the NGV every three years. N G V. V I C . G O V. A U

Pictured: Iris van Herpen, Paris (fashion house) Iris van Herpen (designer) Dress, 2011 Acrylic, nylon (tulle), metal 78cm (centre back) x 35cm (waist, flat) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased with funds donated by Norma and Stuart Leslie, 2016.

HERE’S THE RUB Master your barbecue game with newly minted Texan Jess Pryles’ first cookbook, Hardcore Carnivore. This protein-packed guide to Austin-meets-Oz fare features over 100 recipes for chicken, game, pork, beef and sides from the Australian-born barbecue guru including coffee-rubbed kangaroo fillet, cider-brined pork chops and beer-battered onion rings. MURDOCHBOOKS.COM.AU

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P R I VAT E PA R A D I S E REVEL IN S UBLI ME PR I VAC Y in your own villa

or mansion in tropical French Polynesia. Hiring a sumptuous property in the likes of Tahiti or Bora Bora is the ideal way for groups or families to enjoy island life – alternatively, be selfish and keep it all to yourself. Tahiti Homes curates a range of luxury properties, including Villa Oramarama (main image) and Villa Lagon (above), and can arrange a range of services, such as private transfers, a fully stocked pantry, in-villa chefs and spa treatments. TA H I T I - H O M E S . C O M

ROAD MAPS Plan your next adventure with Lonely Planet’s guide to the best road trips on the planet: Epic Drives of the World. From a 760-kilometre dry and dusty tour of Namibia’s Atlantic Fringe in Southern Africa to a windblown journey through Nova Scotia’s stunning coastline in North America, experience first-hand accounts of fantastic drives, planning tips and advice on how to get there and where to stay. S H O P. L O N E LY P L A N E T. C O M / W O R L D / E P I C - D R I V E S - O F - T H E - W O R L D - 1

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FINE ART IN ABU DHABI The much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi, due to open in mid-November this year, sets a new benchmark for cultural institutions in the Middle East. More than a decade in the making, the museum – a partnership between France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – features almost 700 exhibits. About half of the works are on loan from 13 major French cultural institutions, including the Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. While the museum’s collections are spectacular, its building is an attraction in its own right. French architect Jean Nouvel drew on Abu Dhabi’s geographic location – between land and sea – and Arabic architecture for inspiration. The building’s 180-metre geometric dome features 8000 Arabic motif stars and its steel pattern filters sunlight onto the walls and floors, reminiscent of shadows created by overlapping palm trees.

IMAGES TAHITI HOMES; LONELY PLANET; LOUVRE ABU DHABI, PHOTOGRAPHY: MOHAMED SOMJI; CLIPPER ROUND THE WORLD, LONGITUDE 131

LOUVREABUDHABI.AE

SAILING’S ENDURANCE TEST The All-Australian Leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race takes place from November until January, with stops in Fremantle in Western Australia, Hobart in Tasmania, Sydney, and the Whitsundays in Queensland. The 40,000 nautical mile race sees12 identical 70-foot ocean-racing yachts, along with their expert skippers and teams – many of whom are novice sailors – taking on the world’s oceans. The race’s final Australian stop will be celebrated at Airlie Beach with the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival. CLIPPERROUNDTHEWORLD.COM

LOCAL ICON “Roughing it” in the Outback has never looked so good. The new Dune Pavilion at luxury bush lodge Longitude 131° at Uluru Kata-Tjuta features swish accommodation with views of two World Heritage-listed natural icons – Uluru and Kata Tjuta. A multi-million dollar refurbishment has seen a raft of upgrades, including a new spa, while the Red Centre’s cultural heart is reflected through vibrant ceramics and artworks from local Indigenous communities. LONGITUDE131.COM.AU

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SPORT

IN IT TO WIN IT Meet the “FITTEST MAN IN THE WORLD”: globe-trotting athlete, fierce competitor and devoted family man Jan Frodeno. WORDS STE VE COLQUHOUN PHOTOS CHRIS BENNY

IRONMAN Olympic triathlon champion and Ironman athlete Jan Frodeno takes his ferocious training schedule in his stride. 54 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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SPORT

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ix hours into an Ironman triathlon, everyone hurts. Determination crumbles as the duress of reaching the outer limits of endurance feeds a compulsion to stop putting one foot in front of the other. Jan Frodeno is hurting, too, yet he is always confident his rivals are in worse shape. Years of single-minded training, obsession with nutrition and exhaustive preparation comes down to this pivotal moment, when he’ll banish the self-doubt and back himself not just to finish, but to win. What we mere mortals call pain, the two-time Hawaiian Ironman triathlon champion, holder of the Ironman triathlon world record and 2008 Beijing Olympics triathlon gold medallist internalises as “perceived exertion”. It’s a fine but clever distinction that allows Frodeno to separate feelings of discomfort from the actual physical impact on his body. “Pain is a concept that is different to everyone. It’s a relative concept that I try to break down,” he says cheerfully, as though we’re talking about the weather. “Like everyone else, I’ll start thinking about getting to the next tree, then the next goal beyond that. But pain is something I have to work with, because you can’t win without it.” The man known as ‘Frodo’ is a once-in-ageneration athlete. His shift in recent years from Olympic-distance triathlons up to the Ironman format – comprising a 3.8-kilometre swim, 180-kilometre cycle and 42.2-kilometre run – is a bit like a 1500-metre runner deciding to try a marathon. Many attempt the jump, few succeed, and only one man has ever won both Olympic gold and the Hawaiian Ironman – you guessed it, Jan Frodeno. Little wonder he is dubbed “the fittest man in the world” and “superman” by some media and commentators. Adding to the aura of invincibility, most triathletes have a pet “leg” – a favoured one of the three disciplines in which they will reliably storm through the field. Frodeno cites all three. “I like to keep [my rivals] guessing,” he says. “They’re wondering, ‘where is Jan going to kick this time?’.”

Driven by passion

It’s difficult to believe that one of the most dominant figures in world triathlon today couldn’t swim a stroke until he was 15 years old. Born in Germany but growing up in coastal Cape Town, South Africa, the lanky teen only took up swimming so he could go surfing with his mates. Seemingly from nowhere – his father is an engineer and his mother a feng shui designer, and neither particularly athletic – a fierce competitive desire surfaced. “Within a year I was swimming 10 times a week,” Frodeno recalls. At the pool he trained with Conrad Stoltz, a South African triathlete who competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, finishing 20th. Watching his friend on TV at the age of 20, Frodeno saw his own opportunity. His lean frame, giant work ethic and hunger for success were tailor-made for triathlon. Though a long list of recent high-profile triumphs together with a swag of commercial endorsements – including becoming a Mercedes-Benz global ambassador in 2016 – tends to gloss over ancient history, it’s a fact that before he started winning absolutely everything, he lost. A lot. “I’m kind of a shocking loser,” confides the amiable 35-year-old from his home and training base in Girona, Spain. “Early on, I used to give up, < before I learned how to push on.”

Pain is something I have to work with, because you can’t win without it.

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M U LT I -TA L E N T E D Unlike most triathletes, Frodeno doesn’t favour one discipline, meaning he’s able to pull ahead in the water, on the bike or during the run.

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PHOTOS COURTESY BAR AMPERE (DEAN SCHMIDEG 1, KEVIN LI 1); COURTESY EAU DE VIE (3); OFFSETT (1)


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Gruelling regime

And how. These days, Frodeno is famed not just for his take-no-prisoners toughness in races, but also an uncompromising commitment to training. Between competitions he spends 40 hours a week swimming, biking and running with a full-time training partner who travels around the world with him. A further 12 hours a week are spent recovering with his full-time physio, and more time planning his competition schedule, appearances and business interests with his manager. Along with wife Emma and two-year-old son Lucca, they form the nucleus of “Team Frodissimo”. “Every single day, I try to make an improvement to myself. Obviously it’s impossible to get faster every day, but maybe I might cook a curry that’s better than I’ve done before. That’s what drives me.” In spite of a near-perfect physique for triathlon and a long list of victories in important races, Frodeno is adamant he is never the most physically accomplished athlete to toe the starting line. Instead, he takes pride in being the best prepared and the strongest mentally. “Is it possible to make a racehorse out of a donkey? I don’t know the answer to that but so much of what I do is above the shoulders. You’ve got to have that drive. I’m not sure if that’s ingrained or not. I’ve always had a strong drive to try to win.” Few outside the sport had heard of the then-27year-old when he lined up at the 2008 Olympic triathlon in Beijing, with only a sixth-place finish in the previous year’s World Championship to his name. Two hours later, he surprised everyone but himself by out-kicking Canadian Simon Whitfield in a sprint finish to become the Olympic champion. “I had lost every sprint coming into the Olympics, so I prepped for a sprint and that’s exactly what happened. I had dreamed about it and played out the various scenarios in my head so many times that, afterwards, it felt totally surreal.”

Seeking new challenges

Feted as the new star of his sport, Frodeno “had to find myself again” after the Olympics. “I suddenly lacked perspective, everything became a bit of a chore because I had achieved what I set out to achieve. I had to set a new goal.” After finishing sixth in his title defence at the 2012 Olympic triathlon in London, he stepped up to possibly the most brutal test of human endurance ever devised – Ironman triathlon. It would be 2015 before he hit world headlines again, winning the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship – the most famous and feared Ironman of them all – for the first time, then backing it up again in 2016. (At the time of going 58 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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F A M I LY M A N Frodeno is married to fellow triathlon gold medallist Australian Emma Snowsill. They split their time, with their son Lucca, between Girona in Spain and Noosa in Queensland.

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to publication, Frodeno was preparing to again defend his Hawaii title.) In between those Herculean efforts, he set a new world record for the distance in the Challenge Roth event in Germany. Crossing the line in a stunning seven hours, 35 minutes and 39 seconds, he smashed the old record by five minutes to claim a place as one of the sport’s all-time greats. Does he still enjoy it, or do the years of singleminded exertion take their toll? “Look, I’m not always filled with joy to be looking at a black line at the bottom of a swimming pool at 5.30am on the way to churning out 6K,” he admits. “I know I only have a few competitive years left in this sport and I’m grateful to have this job, which has brought me so many great opportunities.” One of those, in the wake of the 2008 Olympics triumph, was to meet fellow 2008 triathlon gold medallist Australian Emma Snowsill at the 2010 Laureus Awards – an annual ceremony honouring the year’s greatest sporting achievements. If sport can have a fairytale, imagine a pair of champions from the same sport – the same event, no less – falling in love, getting married and starting a family. These days the inseparable pair, with world-champion-in-waiting Lucca in tow, flit

from northern summers in Girona to southern summers in Noosa, the coastal village at the heart of Australia’s strong triathlon scene. Would Frodeno consider a change of nationality to compete for Australia? He loves his adopted parttime home, and it loves him – he has slotted in seamlessly with the fitness-obsessed community. “It’s a wonderful place to train and live,” he admits. But a full-time move seems unlikely, with his post-racing plans centring on Europe. In Europe, he drives a Mercedes-Benz GLC with a bike rack attached. Post-retirement, he would love to transition to a Mercedes-AMG E 63 S. “It’s sporty, but with room for the family.” With an eye to the future, Frodeno has parlayed one of his few vices – a passion for great coffee – into a burgeoning business. Frodissimo is based in Germany, and has coffee-mad Europe in its sights. The venture forms a large part of his plans for a career after retirement. “I am passionate about great coffee,” he enthuses. Should the coffee world be watching nervously for a new rival to bloom, one who doesn’t like to lose? Definitely. “It’s my key belief that passion makes the difference,” he says. “When you are having fun, it’s tough to prevent success.” >

Every single day, I try to make an improvement to myself. Obviously it’s impossible to get faster every day, but maybe I might cook a curry that’s better than I’ve done before. That’s what drives me.

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FOOD

GOING GR EEN Turn over a new leaf with the latest in PLANT-BASED DINING as top chefs reveal what’s driving the trend and, track down some surprisingly meat-free meals.

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isitors to Melbourne’s rockabillythemed, Mexican-influenced restaurant Smith & Daughters wouldn’t immediately notice they’d stepped into a vegan eatery. The menu certainly doesn’t give anything away; if not for the moderately sized neon cross on the back wall declaring EAT VEGAN you’d never know your crab cakes were crustaceanfree, or your aioli sans egg. The popular plant-based restaurant (which has since spawned a New York-style vegan deli) was opened in 2014 by maître d’ Mo Wyse (a passionate vegan) and chef Shannon Martinez (a card-carrying meat eater) – two women on a mission to change our perceptions about animal-free dining. “I strongly believe that the way we eat meat needs to change; it’s not healthy to eat it every day,” Martinez says, “but my goal is never to try and convince anyone to be a full-time vegan.” Instead, it’s her aim to make vegan dining approachable to everyone – about 75 per cent of her customers are meat eaters – with bright, colourful, vegetable-based dishes such as saucy, paprika-accented “meatballs”, Chilean shepherd’s pie and chipotle “cheese” dip.

A healthy obsession

TRENDSETTERS Melbourne vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters was founded by Mo Wyse (above left) and Shannon Martinez in 2014.

A diet free from any animal-derived ingredients is moving from the culinary fringes into the mainstream. Google Trends analysis shows the search term “vegan” was up by 90 per cent in the past year but despite the spike in interest, the trend isn’t necessarily adding up to more true vegans. Instead, it’s more likely influenced by the rise of what’s known as “flexitarian eating”: embracing a vegan (or vegetarian) diet part-time for economic, environmental, animal-welfare and health reasons. As an added bonus, it’s a more achievable goal; you can have your dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cake and eat it, too. Restaurateur Alexandra Pyke moved back to Melbourne from New York City (where she worked at veg-focused venues The Butcher’s Daughter and Fat Radish) to open The Alley, an upmarket plant-based burger shop catering to St Kilda Road’s office crowd, earlier this year. If the buzzing lunch trade is anything to go by, locals have acquired a taste for her sustainable takeaway – sweet potato chips are oven baked, the surprisingly cheesy mac-and-cheese is topped with sweet and salty fake bacon (the recipe is top secret) and egg-free brioche buns are stuffed with eggplant “steaks”, umeboshi ’slaw, butter lettuce and a tomato-miso ketchup. <

PHOTOS SMITH & DAUGHTERS: A COOKBOOK (THAT HAPPENS TO BE VEGAN ) BY SHANNON MARTINEZ AND MO WYSE, PHOTOGRAPHY BONNIE SAVAGE

WORDS NOL A JAMES

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PHOTOS SMITH & DAUGHTERS: A COOKBOOK (THAT HAPPENS TO BE VEGAN ) BY SHANNON MARTINEZ AND MO WYSE, PHOTOGRAPHY BONNIE SAVAGE


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< I strongly believe that the way we eat meat needs to change; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not healthy to eat it every day but my goal is never to try and convince anyone to be a full-time vegan.

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V E G A N VA R I E T Y Clockwise from left: Melbourne restaurant The Alley’s plant-based lunches are popular with the office crowd; Ross Lusted from The Bridge Room showcases plant-based dishes as much as those containing meat; Hobart restaurant Aloft features harbour views and a menu with a vegan banquet – chef Glenn Byrnes says the venue is welcoming more meat-free diners.

Pretty impressive for a meat-free menu and on the upside, it’s good for you, too.

PHOTOS ALOFT; EBISU, THE ALLEY; THE BRIDGE

Cream of the crop

At slick Sydney eatery The Bridge Room, voted Restaurant of the Year by The Sydney Morning Herald in 2016, chef Ross Lusted (whose wife is a vegetarian; brother a vegan) doesn’t just use his charcoal-fuelled robata grill for Hunter Valley quail and New England lamb. “We cook pretty much everything on it,” he says. “I try not to have the [vegan] offering be an afterthought.” Give him enough warning and he’ll tailor a bespoke menu to any dietary requirement (from meat-free Mondays to life-threatening allergies) but there’s plenty on the day-to-day menu, too. Fourteen varieties of spring veg are pickled, grilled and fermented for one dish, they’re served with whipped first-press olive oil and a syrup-like pine needle extraction; blueberries are chargrilled and served with caramalised maple and berry sorbet. Then there’s a must-try turnip cake on the menu at chic Oz-Asian Hobart restaurant Aloft. Chef Glenn Byrnes adds Huonville-grown shimeji, oyster and shiitake mushrooms to his take on the classic Chinese yum cha dish, finishing the snack with housemade elderberry vinegar. He’s seen a “definite increase” in the number of meat-free diners, with at least two to five guests a night opting for a vegan banquet. Thanks to the quality of local produce available, the menu already leans heavily on vegetablebased dishes. For Byrnes, it’s about “offering a variety of flavours and textures to give diners something they’ve never had before”. The fine dining eatery also boasts the best views in town – tables overlook the Hobart waterfront through floor-to-ceiling glass windows – and it’s destination dining thanks to flexible menus (they offer pescatarian, vegetarian and gluten-free

dining, too), killer cocktail list and, of course, world-class service. In Auckland, diners at contemporary Japanese restaurant Ebisu, known for its sashimi-based degustation, can choose an 11-dish vegan set menu designed by head chef Fred Wong, who brought in the extended options three-and-a-half years ago to offer more flexibility for diners. He swaps a scallop-based XO sauce for a kombu and sweet soy reduction to toss through seasonal greens; slender Japanese eggplants are sliced down the middle and glazed with light and dark miso; and there are crisp tempura vegetables and sushi rolls tailored especially for the vegan palate, too.

A S I A N F L AVO U R S Fred Wong at Japanese restaurant Ebisu in Auckland has designed an 11-dish vegan set menu.

Try this at home

If you’re looking to recreate your restaurant experience at home, an array of ingredients you’d have previously put firmly in the “not-vegan” category are now on the menu for all. You might already be familiar with alternative milks made from nuts, soy or coconut (known as “mylk” to those in the biz); there are over 50 brands of vegan “cheese” on the market; and smoked jackfruit makes a great substitute for pulled pork. Even “bacon” is still on the menu – make your own from rice paper sheets brushed with a marinade of soy, nutritional yeast, paprika and garlic powder, oven baked until golden brown and crisp. For Martinez, who co-wrote the Smith & Daughters cookbook (which is, naturally, all vegan) plantbased cooking is an opportunity for bold, flavourful eating that anyone can master with a few simple ingredient substitutions; try swapping butter for Nuttelex and embracing cashew cheese. “There’s more to vegan food than most people think,” she says. “It’s all about approaching [it] from a non-vegan perspective; you really can eat this way and not miss out on any of the things < that you love.”

Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $48. Photographer: Bonnie Savage Mercedes-Benz magazine 63

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FASHION

LOCAL HEROES NEW ZEALAND LABEL ZAMBESI was instrumental in putting the country’s fashion industry on the map – now Mercedes-Benz has paid tribute to its design innovation. WORDS DAN AHWA

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We’ve stayed true to our core values and philosophy, while embracing the changing landscape surrounding the business.

DESIGN DUO Zambesi's co-founder and designer Elisabeth Findlay with menswear designer Dayne Johnston.

xceptional, avant-garde design has been a trademark of iconic New Zealand fashion house Zambesi for almost four decades. From humble beginnings with multi-branded boutiques (Tart, Cachet), to the label’s inception in 1979, founders Elisabeth and husband Neville Findlay have made enormous contributions to the New Zealand fashion industry. Affectionately known as Liz and Nev, the pair have been crucial in creating a signature look that has put New Zealand fashion on the map, its artful designs filling the wardrobes of loyal customers for more than 30 years. It made perfect sense for Mercedes-Benz to partner with Zambesi as this year’s prestigious Mercedes-Benz Presents designer, ahead of New Zealand Fashion Week in August. Showcasing the Winter 2018 collection, the show stood out for its creativity, showmanship and innovative approach to design. To mark the union, two Zambesi garments were created to celebrate both quality craftsmanship and innovation. “Mercedes-Benz is a great iconic brand possessing international style, quality and forward-thinking innovation,” explains Elisabeth Findlay postshow. “Innovation is an important element to designing a collection; this is the way we push the boundaries.” Part of Zambesi’s enduring success lies in its choice of fabrics, use of technology, and keeping it in the family – daughter Marissa has been photographing the brand’s imagery and directing its shows for several years, and daughter Sophie has created some of its memorable soundtracks. “We’ve stayed true to our core values and philosophy, while embracing the changing landscape surrounding the business,” Findlay adds. Today, the brand’s beautiful retail spaces – four flagship stores in New Zealand and one in Melbourne – are a destination for fashion lovers, carrying coveted imports such as Raf Simons, J.W Anderson, Vetements and Rick Owens, all complementary to Zambesi’s DNA. With stockists across Australia, New Zealand and Japan, Zambesi has demonstrated its longevity while continuing to foster a new generation of loyal followers, from new customers learning about its archives to fashion students interning in its central Auckland workroom. “The Zambesi customer is discerning and chooses to express themselves in an individual way, and they’ve evolved and grown with the brand,” Findlay says. “We are excited to witness the new generation gravitate towards both men’s and women’s collections and our customer base is a loyal following from a wide demographic. It’s < truly inspiring and humbling.” Mercedes-Benz magazine 65

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A TROVE OF

COUNTLESS TREASURES THINK JAPAN is all bullet trains and bustling mega-metropolises? Discover another side to this fascinating country via a boutique sea voyage. WORDS TRICIA WELSH

LAND OF TRADITION Japan seamlessly blends traditional and modern â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as seen here in the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. Mercedes-Benz magazine 67

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COLOURFUL JOURNEY A cruise is an ideal way to uncover a country like Japan, with visits taking in the sights and sounds of the countryside and smaller cities, as well as the mega hubs such as Kyoto.

PHOTOS SHUTTERSTOCK, ISTOCKPHOTO, TRICIA WELSH; OFFSET (PREVIOUS PAGE)

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arely one-twentieth the size of Australia, with a staggering 105 million more inhabitants, Japan is a delightful trove of countless designated “treasures” dotted throughout the country. These are a wonderful mix of “national” treasures, “prefectural” treasures and “living” treasures that are uncovered during a two-week expedition cruise. We set out from Niigata in the country’s northwest, following a few days in Tokyo and a two-hour bullet train ride through the countryside. Our home for the next 10 days is the Caledonian Sky, a 57-suite luxury vessel. The first port of call is Sado Island, known for its gorgeously dry sake (there’s a museum with tastings at Niigata railway station), and where any flat land seems to be covered in rice paddies. In Toki Forest Park, we view endangered Japanese crested ibis – we’re lucky to have with us the on-board author, naturalist, lecturer and expedition leader Dr Mark Brazil, whose specialty is east Asian birds. Onwards to the sleepy port of Ogi, where we take a ride in a tarai-bune (tub boat), poled by women wearing fisher folk costumes, and traditionally used to gather seaweed, abalone and other molluscs from the rocky cliff-edged coastal waters. Nearby, we visit the picturesque village of Shukunegi, where charming weatherboard houses form narrow alleyways. As we start to make our wayback to the ship, celebrated local Kodo drummers treat us to an impromptu concert, cavorting rhythmically while beating taiko drums. Our visit to Kanazawa is highly anticipated. A boutique version of Kyoto, this city of half a million people is noted for its wealth of traditional and contemporary artisans and its rich samurai history – it is home to the largest remaining samurai precinct in the country.

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PHOTOS SHUTTERSTOCK, ISTOCKPHOTO, TRICIA WELSH; OFFSET (PREVIOUS PAGE)

VA R I E T Y O F V I S I T S Clockwise: Take in Kanazawa Castle in Ishikawa Prefecture; visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park; sample gold-leaf ice cream in artistic Kanazawa.

A boutique-version of Kyoto, Kanazawa, home to half a million people, is noted for its wealth of traditional and contemporary artisans and its rich samurai history.

More than 98 per cent of Japan’s gold leaf, which glitters in sweets and atop cakes, and even coats souvenir golf balls, is made here. Former feudal Maeda lords who ruled the region during the Edo Period (1604–1868) invested heavily in the arts, and pottery, Kutani porcelain, woodwork, lacquerware, kin maki-e (the application of silver or gold onto lacquerware) and sweets making – all continuing to thrive today. It is the perfect place to indulge in luscious vanilla ice cream wrapped in pure gold leaf. We’ve seen and done so much already and this is only Day Two at sea ... As well as Japanese ports, the itinerary includes a day in South Korea, where we dock in Ulsan for an excursion to Gyeongju. As the ancient capital of the Shilla Dynasty, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, with its myriad grassed-over mounded tombs, is considered the world’s finest < open-air museum. Mercedes-Benz magazine 69

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G OLDE N SPACE The top two floors of Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion are entirely covered in gold leaf – and the temple offers reprieve from the city’s crowds.

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ARTS HUB The island of Naoshima is a treat for art lovers and is home to Tadoa Ando’s (pictured above) architectural marvels and Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Yellow Pumpkin (pictured). Meanwhile, Japanese delicacies such as poisonous blowfish (left) are a treat for visitors.

In Kyoto, I quickly become acutely aware of the sudden horde of tourists – mostly local Japanese – and realise that most of the places we’ve visited have been far off the major tourist routes.

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PHOTOS OFFSET, ALAMY, GETTY

Each day brings another highlight and new treasures waiting to be discovered. It is with mixed emotions that we visit the city of Hiroshima. In virtual silence, we wander through Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. In absolute silence, we visit the on-site museum. Then there’s a Zodiac ride to Miyajima, or ‘shrine island’, to view the imposing iconic scarlet torii (gates). The fascinating ‘arts island’ of Naoshima is a real treat and although I miss out on the draw for the ground-breaking Chichu Art Museum by architectural genius Tadao Ando, where entry is by ‘timed ticket’ only, I learn there is more to the island-turned-art-museum than the waterside signature spotted Yellow Pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama. The Benesse House Museum, a contemporary museum and hotel also conceived by Tadao Ando, houses works by Andy Warhol and David Hockney, as well as top Japanese artists. We leave the ship in Kobe, and travel by coach to Kyoto, where we stay for a couple of nights. Here we visit a plethora of temples and shrines, including Tenryu-ji Temple, where we lunch at low tables on vegetarian fare prepared by Buddhist monks, whose menu has remained unchanged since the 12th century. In Kyoto, I quickly become acutely aware of the sudden horde of tourists – mostly local Japanese, – and realise that most of the places we’ve visited have been far off the major tourist routes. While we have been exposed to myriad cultural and artistic treasures throughout the journey, I’ve also sampled many local culinary treasures. These include the incredibly risky poisonous blowfish in Shimonoseki, where chefs have to have a special licence to certify that they can prepare the fish without poisoning diners; the plump chargrilled oysters at Miyajima, where you pop the still-steaming molluscs into your mouth after dousing them with ponzu sauce; and the incredible taste of Sanuki Wagyu, where the beef has been raised on olives. Then there are the refreshing ubiquitous ice creams – perhaps white peach, summer orange or green tea flavours in Tokyo, green soy bean on Sado Island or the stretchy black sesame icy treat enjoyed in Kyoto where, comically, the tapered serve can swing around in the cone without falling off! For any visitor to Japan, this sort of adventure is a great eye-opener to this country’s incredible sense of history and culture and keen respect for simply everything; and, for those who might have tasted the enviable lifestyle of its major cities by land, it’s the icing on the matcha cake. The writer travelled with Cruise Traveller boutique luxury cruises and voyages: C RUI S E TR AV E LLE R .C O M . AU

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BR AINWAVE

HIGH FIVE CELEBRATING half a decade of partnership with Brainwave.

minimum of 800 children and their families per year.” Funding is raised through various events, including the MercedesTrophy National Final golf event at Queensland’s Sanctuary Cove (see page 48), MercedesBenz apparel sales and a number of staff-giving programs. Finances are one side of the story but volunteers play an equally important role. In the past year, in Victoria alone, 26 Mercedes-Benz volunteers have contributed more than 165 hours of their time across a series of events. “This year, Brainwave has worked with a record number of 13 (Mercedes-Benz) dealers to directly benefit programs. Collectively this group is making a real difference to the children Brainwave supports,” adds Ryan. >

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or the past five years, MercedesBenz has stood behind not-for-profit organisation Brainwave in an ongoing partnership that remains as crucial as ever. Brainwave provides practical help and emotional support for children with neurological conditions and their families. The organisation relies on volunteers and donations to make positive change possible, says Brainwave’s partnerships coordinator Emily Ryan. “One of the many challenges that face organisations like Brainwave is the issues that arise from constantly seeking short-term funding,” Ryan says. “The ongoing funding commitment Brainwave receives from Mercedes-Benz alleviates some of this pressure – it creates certainty around core programs and capacity to support a

BR AINWAVE .ORG . AU

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DRIVE

A TRUE CLASSIC Celebrating half a century of AMG.

For the past 50 years, Aufrecht, Melcher and Großaspach – better known as AMG – has produced high-performance vehicles for both racing and the road. In 1971, the then-fledgling outfit built a racing version of the 300 SEL, tickling the standard 6.3-litre V8 up to a mighty 6.8 litres. Affectionately known as “The Red Pig”, the brutally fast sports sedan finished second at the 24 Hours of Spa race that year and remains one of AMG’s most defining and popular cars.

1967 AMG is founded as a racing engine forge by Hans Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall in Germany.

1971 An AMG-fettled 300 SEL finishes second at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium and competes in the European Touring Car Championship, establishing AMG’s reputation for speed and performance.

1976 Most of AMG moves to Affalterbach; only racing engine development remains in Burgstall. Erhard Melcher ceases to be a partner but remains an employee.

1986 The ‘AMG Hammer’, an E-Class sedan, becomes the world’s fastest passenger sedan.

1990 THE MAKING OF AN ICON The Red Pig, a 300 SEL with a 6.8-litre V8 engine, established AMG as a true racing force at the 24 Hours of Spa race in Belgium in 1971.

A cooperation agreement with Daimler-Benz allows AMG cars and options to be offered in Mercedes-Benz showrooms.

1993 Daimler-Benz AG and AMG sign a contract of cooperation. This leads to commonly developed vehicles, the first being 1993’s Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG.

1999 DaimlerChrysler takes a 51 per cent interest in AMG, renaming it Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

2005 Hans Aufrecht sells his remaining shares and DaimlerChrysler becomes the sole owner of AMG.

2010 The gull-wing SLS AMG is the first Mercedes-Benz model entirely developed in-house by AMG. 74 Mercedes-Benz magazine

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COLLINS STREET STYLE

Our carefully curated menswear offering has the essentials, perennial classics and luxury pieces for the modern Melbourne man. collinsplacemelbourne.com.au 45 COLLINS STREET, MELBOURNE Photograph by M.J. BALE.

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Mercedes-Benz November 17  
Mercedes-Benz November 17