Fragment Design x Maserati Ghibli Open Road Review


For car enthusiasts, driving is not limited to technical specifics. Open Road explores not just what these cars do, but what they mean. Whether it’s an old, new, or exotic model, HYPEBEAST looks beyond the stats to uncover the simple pleasures of motoring.

“But what’s different?” That was the main comment heard from friends when the two-tone x Maserati Ghibli S Q4 shard design rolled into their driveway. While the Trident brings a bit of prestige and luxury to anyone in the know, a collaboration with the Japanese streetwear brand has raised some eyebrows and questions, particularly what the partnership entails and why. To understand these questions, it is more important to take a step back and understand the design of the fragments.

Without giving an entire history lesson on the legendary “house of hype”, the fragment design is the brainchild of Hiroshi Fujiwara, widely considered the godfather of streetwear. The brand works with established companies in fashion, footwear, retail, design, technology, art, now cars and even food. For your brand, getting recognition from Fujiwara is the highest honor; for him to fall in love, co-branding is essential to be ennobled.

But fragment doesn’t work with just anyone – for a partnership to happen, not only must there be a story behind the brand to tell, but there must also be a story and strategy behind the product itself. . fragment design’s job is then to find a way to tell the brand’s story and elevate the product on offer, all without changing its underlying formula or identity; great demand for brands with established histories such as Maserati.

With piecemeal collabs, you’ll often find a subtle change and addition that overall adds a new dimension to the product. What does this actually mean? The practice may seem simple and “lazy” to some, but the technique is more akin to “elevating through mutual respect.”

Take one of the collaborator’s most coveted pieces, for example: the Nike Air Jordan 1. Considered the most sought-after sneaker collaboration in its catalog, the Fragment Design x Nike Air Jordan 1 collaboration uses an unchanged Jordan 1 Retro High silhouette. , colors unchanged. which were previously seen in the heritage versions, and only adopts the raised double lightning bolts in the rear quarter panel for distinction. That’s it.

Strategically, a collaboration should be a mix of two brands, with what they do best, coming together to create something great.

Fans of the Jordan brand appreciate the respect shown for the sneaker’s shape and timeless colorway, and fragmented design junkies have desperately chased the button-sized insignia to show it’s not about just your average royal blue Jordan 1s. It was all the shoe needed to be elevated, and the result is one of the hottest sneakers in the shoe game then and now.

So is that what’s up with the Fragment Design x Maserati Ghibli S Q4? The best way to approach this collaboration is not to view it from the polarizing perspective of a hardcore Maserati or fragment design fanatic. It’s best seen as the car itself, what it’s capable of, and what the collaboration does to all the parts as a whole.

The Maserati Ghibli is the brand’s “entry-level” offering, giving a taste of both performance and luxury without going to the extremes of the MC20 supercar or the well-balanced Levante SUV. . Its 3.0L twin-turbo V6 with 424 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque is more than enough for city streets, while all-wheel drive, a factory limited-slip differential, an 8-speed ZF automatic and 20-inch wheels all give off a sporty feel that could easily land you in trouble. Nonetheless, the Ghibli has received mixed reviews, with some praising it for its “classic sports sedan vibes” while others are baffled by its cheap price to interior ratio.

The Fragments Design Collaboration applies the following elements for distinctive styling: a two-tone exterior in gloss white ‘Bianco Pastello’ on top and matte black ‘Vero Opaco’ on the bottom, grille badge written, ‘coding’ on the front. mudguards, a circular 3D fragment badge on the rear quarter, 20″ matte black “Urano” wheels and “fragment” embroidery stitched into the plush sports seats. Additional options that turned out to be nice touches include shark blue seat belts, a swanky dark navy stopwatch in the center dash and a healthy mix of Alcantara, although the fabric still found its way to the headliner and pillars for unknown reasons. spoke to us exclusively about the project and explained his approach to design, that he “wanted to channel the vibe of older Maserati models from the 60s and 70s”, but wanted to keep it modern and maneuverable for today’s streets. today. .

The car had a lot of positives; the ride was smooth and power was plentiful, although it could have used a bit more sportiness in terms of handling and throttle response. Luxuries like the highly responsive infotainment system, ultra-comfortable seats, a Symphony-esque Harmon Kardon sound system and more made driving special. Friends were certainly impressed with how it felt like a six-figure Maserati, while not drawing too much attention to it in parking lots and around town. That being said, viewers noticed something about it was unique enough to ask “is it Hiroshi’s?” to a set of lights.

All in all it was different, special and quite distinctive. In other words, that’s what Maserati does well, only the fragmented design “elevated” it without changing the original formula.

fragment design x Maserati Ghibli Open Road Review Hiroshi Fujiwara branding panda white black

Eddie Eng/Hypebeast

And in the end, isn’t that what a collaboration should be? Strategically, it should be a mix of two brands, with what they do best, coming together to create something great. It shouldn’t be a new recipe, and it shouldn’t be a drastic change one way or the other. But, it should encompass everything properly without making it worse, and if possible, it should be noticeable to those in the know, without going overboard and shouting it at everyone.

So, in essence, it’s normal for the fragment design course. Maserati’s “accessible” Ghibli S Q4 gets a bit of glitz and glamour, to make it something special but not a departure. This is what the product wanted, not what it needed. For Hiroshi and his team, it’s a new level of achievement to inject themselves into the automotive industry, having recently conquered the oceans with Yanmar.

So, next step for designing fragments: space? Only time will tell.

Be sure to read our previous Open Road, where we tested – for three short hours – the hardcore Lamborghini Huracán STO.

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