At the annual Summit conference in downtown Los Angeles, 3,000 innovators and entrepreneurs gathered this weekend for three days of talks, discussions, wellness activities and entertainment. The partnership between Mercedes-Benz EQ and Summit, facilitated by the COOL HUNTING team—including the launch of a fellowship program, an art installation, a visit to a biodynamic ranch and a dinner with members of the Summit community—focused on different aspects of mobility.
CH has covered Mercedes-Benz cars for more than eight years and naturally over time we’ve had the opportunity to develop relationships with many people throughout the US, global and regional organizations. We write about innovation and creativity across categories—from cars to travel to art to technology and more. Because of our exposure to things happening around the world in these varied but connected communities the team at EQ, who were in the process of developing its community strategy, asked us to collaborate with them.
One of the ideas that developed was participating in communities like that of Summit. Though based in the US, Summit attracts a global community of entrepreneurs and innovators. They produce events all year round in many locations, but the largest is the Summit LA, which brings together 3,000 community members. We felt that EQ was a natural partner for Summit, and last year encouraged several members of the EQ team to attend and experience the LA conference, which combines a range of wellness and fitness activities, all types of talks and performances, considered food options and a lot of evening entertainment.
Following that experience, we worked with both the Summit and EQ teams to develop a partnership that felt natural and aligned with EQ’s thoughts about how to present and introduce itself to the world. EQ could have offered many types of support but understands that the power of supporting a community provides benefits that stretch across the traditional lines of marketing, public relations, art and content. Much like what we discover and write about at COOL HUNTING, the way we work with our partners considers our unique view and experience of the world. While sponsoring a party, festival or art fair all have their place, creating meaningful conversation and experiences is something we believe can have more impact.
Launching this year, the Summit Fellowships offer 44 people the opportunity to attend and join the Summit community. As a Summit Fellowship launch partner Mercedes-Benz EQ is sponsoring 10 of the Fellows, all of whom are working on the future of mobility. The group includes an architect, engineers, a data scientist, entrepreneurs and a city employee with work focused in the UK, India, Africa and the US. More than one hundred people applied for the Fellowship from all over the world.
“The Mirrored Forest,” a site-specific installation of an inflated, recycled nylon sculpture by artist GERONIMO, welcomes the Summit community as they enter the LA18 campus through the EQ Lounge. The artist asks, “When our chosen fantasy becomes our personal reality and we begin editing our vision, where does truth exist? ‘The Mirrored Forest’ is an exaggerated and indulgent prop for me to explore truth.
Though the 2019 EQC isn’t present at the event, the artist, who attended the EQC’s launch in Stockholm in September 2018, used the car as her inspiration for the installation. Keeping with the desire to break new ground, the EQ team encouraged the artist to explore a new aspect of her work. She didn’t disappoint. The inflatable forest features nine metallic trees, ranging in size from one to over seven meters. It was important for the company to support the work of a local artist.
Creating meaningful conversation is equally important, and two events during the course of the weekend provide great opportunities to do so. On Friday morning the Fellows left downtown LA and headed west to Malibu, where they spent some time visiting One Gun Ranch, a picturesque biodynamic farm and ranch. Fellows got hands on—helping harvest the food they ate, hiking the property and taking a yoga and meditation session, and getting hands on with the EQC. They also had the chance to meet and speak with several Daimler employees who work on the EQ team across product and communications teams—gleaning all kinds of extra insight.
The conversation continued with the Mercedes-Benz EQ dinner at Summit, an intimate evening with the Fellows and several other Summit community members and speakers over a plant-based omakase meal by local chef Jasmine Shimoda, which included food harvested by the Fellows at One Gun Ranch. Notable attendees included Suzy Amos, a passionate advocate of a plant-based diet, designer Yves Béhar, author and former CEO of GE Beth Comstock along with many others who are working and evolving the future of mobility. Philipp Skogstad, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, hosted the evening.
We’re excited that EQ supports the Summit community and the work of these fellows and are looking forward to even more conversation around the future of mobility.