Design Miami is upon us

I’ve been so embarrassingly AWOL of late I hardly know what to say. I could go on about how we’ve been swamped with Special Reports (please look at our Auto Design special report and our package on the BW/Architectural Record architecture awards) for proof and bleat about how I’ve been up to my eyeballs yada yada. But frankly who cares? So I’ll make no excuses and simply promise that it’s not because nothing interesting has been going on, because it sure has, and I hereby promise to be a better correspondent from now on.

In the meantime, the ever intrepid Innovation & Design writer, Matt Vella, sends this report on Audi’s efforts to remain very firmly above the radar and in so doing, earn the title of most design-conscious luxury car manufacturer in the world:

“In May, Audi cajoled one of haute couture’s high priests, Karl Lagerfeld, to photograph its slinky new R8 super car. At the recent LA Auto Show, the German auto company — which is trying to catch up to BMW and Mercedes-Benz in U.S. sales — trotted out architect Frank Gehry to stump on its behalf during a highly polished press conference. (“Well, I’m just very proud to be driving an Audi,” Gehry said at the end of the event.)

This week, Audi is sponsoring the Design Miami 2007 conference, where it will show its latest concept, the Cross Cabriolet Quattro, as well as host several presentations and panel discussions on auto design.

Luxury car manufacturing sponsorships are nothing new. After all, Mercedes sponsors New York Fashion Week and BMW is star-crossed with the TED conference and its activities. But, Audi’s relentless campaigning for the design luxury consumer is nonetheless remarkable.”

Thanks, Matt… And, we’ll have a full report on Design Miami on Monday from another of our intrepid writers who’s braving the throngs on our behalf. I’m interested to hear what the buzz is given the financial and economic wobbles and uncertainty of late. I’m sure it’ll still be a party but could well be that Miami’s not so hot this year. Well. We’ll see…

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.