What does it take to produce what some consider as “the best car in the world”? Well, if you ask Rolls-Royce, it takes 60 pairs of hands and over 450 hours to design, construct and craft a bespoke model before it is handed over to its owner. A bold statement undoubtedly, but one that has hold decisively true since the first Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost rolled into town in 1913.
“Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it” – reads one of the original manifestos of founder, Sir Henry Royce. Over a hundred years later, the motto stands true with every car that rolls off its assembly lines in Goodwood, England. The Boat Tail, revealed to the world just last month, is a prime example of that very promise.
Driving Craftsmanship To New Heights
The demand for bespoke creations from the luxury automaker continues to grow, largely driven by the brand’s focus on providing its customers near-limitless opportunities for customisation. Despite the health crisis, 2020 will go down as one of the most ambitious years for the marque’s Bespoke Collective.
According to the brand, almost every one of its motor cars created in 2020 was tailored by the brand’s Bespoke division. This not only solidifies Rolls-Royce’s status as world’s foremost manufacturer of luxury, but it also stands as a notable achievement considering the backdrop of challenging and unforeseen headwinds.
Part of this success is due to Rolls-Royce shunning ‘tick-box’ options offered by mass-luxury brands, opting instead for Bespoke creations. By allowing customers an unprecedented level of customisation, buyers can bring their own personal vision to their Rolls-Royce. It is a level of service and luxury that no other auto manufacturer can achieve.
Most significantly, it showcases the marque’s expertly honed understanding of the super-luxury market’s requirement for personally tailored and finely crafted items. On average, Bespoke commissions saw a robust increase over 2019, marking a growth of personalised elements woven into the fabric of each motor car, providing further substance and sentimentality.
Elevating Bespoke Creations
At the onset of the pandemic, Rolls-Royce designers and clients alike found themselves confined to the safety of their homes. Despite of this, time was creatively invested in creating unique commissions that reflect precious items of historical and familial significance.
Inspiration was sourced from architecture, nature, and rich, textural surroundings of the home during lockdown. Ultimately it helped Rolls-Royce produce some of the finest examples of Bespoke design and craftsmanship completed by the luxury house in its history.
A brief snapshot of these creations exemplifies the quality and craftsmanship the bespoke division in Rolls-Royce is notoriously famous for. In Dusk In Tokyo, engineers used the Phantom, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan as canvases. Using a multi-faceted white paint, the theme is inspired by coastal metropolis’ high-rise glass and concrete buildings.
The Mahlangu Phantom on the other hand presented a unique opportunity for a South African client to display a highly personal work of art from globally celebrated South African artist, Dr Esther Mahlangu. Positioned front and centre in the Phantom’s interior, the one-of-a-kind commission is a striking expression of contemporary African art.
Opulent Artwork On Wheels
Rolls-Royce range of cars provides the ideal canvases for designers to bring their creations to life. The Phantom’s hermetically sealed Gallery makes it possible to incorporate natural materials in a way never possible in a car.
The Phantom ‘Iridescent Opulence’, created in partnership with Swiss materials specialist Nature Squared houses over 3,000 sustainably sourced iridescent tail feathers, each shaped individually to accentuate their sheen and rich hue. These were hand-sewn onto an open pore fabric in a design that emanates outwards from the shimmering, iridescent Mother of Pearl casing around the clock at the heart of the Gallery.
In the Wraith ‘Inspired By Earth’, cues were taken from the Solar System. A Royal Blue exterior references the water that covers the earth’s surface. An air-brushed bonnet artwork depicts a satellite view of the Middle Eastern region centred on the United Arab Emirates. Inside, the seats made from Moccasin leather, mimic the sands of the Emirates’ deserts.
Taking uniqueness to new heights, the Wraith Kryptos Collection is embellished with a cipher concealed in the Collection’s Bespoke detailing. Limited to just 50 motor cars, clients are invited to decode messages found within the Bespoke elements of the motor car’s interior and exterior. Inside, a beautifully elaborate, bi-coloured headliner depicts an in-motion data-stream inspired motif which is accentuated by the illuminated door pockets.
Through Time & Space
The brand’s most recent creation, the Phantom Tempus Collection is inspired by time and the infinite reaches of the universe. Limited to just 20 examples worldwide, the models encompass various aesthetic and intellectual themes relating to time and the cosmos.
A key component is a rare astronomical phenomenon, the pulsar, found only in the deepest reaches of space. In the Phantom Tempus Collection, this remarkable force of nature is rendered as a centrepiece in a Bespoke Starlight Headliner. To bring this to life, designers utilised fibre-optic lighting, and intricate embroidery, to create the unique and beautiful headliner.
The exterior of the Phantom Tempus Collection is presented in a new Bespoke paint finish, Kairos Blue, created to embody the darkness and mystery of space. The paint incorporates jewel-like blue mica flakes, which glitter and glint as they catch the light, representing the stars. This effect is highlighted by black exterior detailing.
Gracing the bonnet of the Phantom Tempus Collection is the Spirit of Ecstasy, now in her 110th year. The pièce de résistance is personalised with a unique date and location of particular significance to the client.