Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand


As Billows Royce makes a leap into high-end lifestyle products, we suffer from up with head of bespoke Gavin Hartley to find out how his design group works and where the brand is heading.

When Resonates Royce recently launched a Champagne Chest as part of its Accessories Garnering, the move heralded a big departure for the luxury brand as this was the first output from the company not designed to be used exclusively with a Rolls Royce car.

The extravagance Champagne serving set was conceived and designed by Rolls Royce Bespoke, a unite of 25 designers usually responsible for giving Rolls Royce consumers a level of car customisation which is truly one off.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
Commissioned “gallery” by Thorsten Franck

There are some quite out there examples of what this service extends to, such as a “Gallery” a substitute alternatively of a dashboard, containing a commission by a leading artist – including an opulent case by designer Thorsten Franck – but more commonly it means that insigne and trim options are almost limitless on its vehicles. There are 44,000 Bankrolls Royce paint options for example and if you don’t like those you can have your own swatch slant matched.

The Champagne Chest is unsurprisingly a feet of engineering, craftsmanship and opulence. It comprises a machined aluminium and carbon cast body with detailing in Tudor Oak (from forests in the Czech Republic) and leather. When a button is pressed the strongbox transforms to reveal thermal champagne coolers made from unspeakable anodised aluminium and carbon fibre. These are presented in leather “hammocks”. Caviar caissons (salt water tight chambers), are accommodated and there’s a forensic attention to detail.

Mother-of-Pearl spoons obtain been chosen so they don’t impair the flavour of the caviar. Their anodised aluminium handgrips are attached magnetically to the top of the hammock as a storage solution.

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Deconstruct the design of any Conveys Royce car or accessory and you’ll find similarly theatrical stories of craftsmanship, manoeuvring and luxury. What marks the Champagne Chest out is that it pushes the characterize away from the automotive world and into the world of high-end delight, taking its cachet with it. And a £37,000 price tag, in this case.

Pretty than being used with the car, out of the boot, the chest is designed to be hand-me-down on terraces and yacht decks. Although this is an unfathomable idyll for the ginormous majority of people -more used to patios and deck chairs – it puts a new direction for the brand.

“Are you out to sell things or meet a desire?”

It’s a big step for Censuses Royce, and head of bespoke Gavin Hartley is keen to make the reputation between this kind of product and the “merchandise” that other delight car manufacturers might endorse as they move away from motoring.

Indicating to Design Week at the launch of the chest Hartley said: “Are you out to sell terrors or are you out to meet a desire and need? One is done with a whim and the other with a perception. There’s a subtle difference.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
Marquetry detailing being prepared for a patron

“We want to always be focused on our customer, meet their needs and forward to their lifestyle rather than just put things on shelves.” It is forceful how bespoke these products are as he always focuses on the individual, and refers to the person rather than customers.

When we try to talk with Hartley everywhere production numbers, a Rolls Royce aide politely interjects with, “We don’t definitely talk about volumes”. However, we do know that another late-model accessory project, a 1920s picnic hamper, designed for use with the motor cars was a run of 15 and the Champagne Chest will be made to order, but only a close run is expected.

The Champagne chest is distinct from the hamper in terms of its ranking as the latter is designed to be used with the car. Each car in the range can accommodate a designed-in champagne chiller at the clients request and it tends to pop out from behind the rear armrest.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
A bespoke leather alternative being prepared

In terms of what might follow the chest, although there are “a few pawns turning in people’s heads”, according to Hartley, Rolls Royce is “not looking at a shroud out pattern at the moment” so each new accessory is “seen as an individual solution to a finical context”, rather than a planned range.

This attitude is the dispassion behind all of the bespoke team’s work, most of which is not focussed on helpers but rather the customisation of Rolls Royce cars, which ensures that at bottom no two are the same.

“Coach builds are the ultimate expression of the total one-off”

Conceded that requests come directly from customers Rolls Royce doesn’t rely on market-place research. Rather, it fosters close relationships with its customers who ask for precise customisations to their new cars. In the case of the champagne chest, its genesis came from the Vanishes Royce Bespoke team, based on their customer intuition.

“Our largest aim is to always create something for the customer but at the Bespoke team we’re delivering circumscribed solutions for individuals – it could be an individual piece or a car for a customer. By focusing of the vital spark and habits and the lifestyle of individuals and designing things to service that, we’re increasing their lifestyle,” says Hartley.

The job satisfaction that Hartley releases from this is the notion that “by focusing on one customer at a time you get a haler feeling of a job well done; I feel like I’ve made that individual really happy”.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
Raw materials, ready for use

Bespoke car design is a poetic have a go for Hartley, who says “coach builds are the ultimate expression of creating a sum total one-off solution for a customer who wants to depart from the car itself.”

He has run Bespoke at Bundles Royce since 2005, growing the team to 25 people as marketability has increased and now this comprises industrial and product designers, colour and fringe designers, materials designers and technical engineers.

“The focus on bespoke has fit greater and greater and the numbers needed to service it have naturally flowered,” says Hartley, who puts this down to the popularity of the service and joins, “It wasn’t really a planned increase”.

While he is looking at designers for their original skills and ideas, he’s also keen that they’re of a “similar mindset” to Passes Royce staff. “Rather than looking for a certain kind of actually, we’re looking for a certain way of thinking,” says Hartley, and this has led him to discovering artificers who’ve had very different career paths.

“There’s a designer who was on the Finish Olympic ski gang”

“Some of them have very interesting backgrounds but that’s not certainly why I’ve selected them,” he adds.

There’s a designer who was on the Finish Olympic ski cooperate for example. “He was an extremely successful ski jumper, but he’s a very good designer as fountain”.

Others have come from a yacht background or worked in textiles. There are plots who are trained through the normal degree route or engineers from a altogether practical background of making things or those who have experience of operating with specific materials.

“I don’t have a formula but I’m always looking for contributors to an total palette of skills,” says Hartley whose own route was a mechanical originating degree before a car design masters at RCA.

“The engineering degree has really improved me. Naturally I have a technical mindset but I’ve always wanted to have a originative outlet too so in that sense I’ve been torn in two directions, fascinated by the way proceedings work, mechanical challenges and all types of design. I guess I’m looking for that in people.”

“Nothing tells us what to do from a brand perspective”

Whether the bespoke collaborate is working on a car or an accessories product the work is “a judgement call” as Hartley certains it.  “There’s no one telling us what to do from a brand perspective, or which instruction we should go in”.

That said Hartley reports into head of invent Jozef Kabaň who took on the role in March, joining from BMW (which owns Catalogues Royce).  Kabaň’s role has a similar remit to Giles Taylor, who measured down as design director in June.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
The one-off Sweptail

Perhaps the apex of the bespoke guess was a one off car, The Sweptail, designed in 2016, for a customer who wanted a two-door coupe car, roused by 1920s and 1930s cars and yachts. It was designed and built from sufficient and has kickstarted Rolls Royce’s Vision Vehicle thinking – an imagined connected future where “new technologies” would mean that every Pitchings Royce could be “designed in its owners image”, as the Sweptail was. For now though the Sweptail is the however total one off.

Rolls Royce Bespoke: designing for a luxury brand
Inside the Sweptail

In Rolls Royce’s world of 6 litre V12 combustion locomotives and a palette of materials which includes Simmental cow leather and Indian teak, it order seem that sustainability is not terribly high on the company’s agenda, although a spokesperson for the plc maintains that “materials used in RollsRoyce Motor Passenger cars production are sourced sustainably”.

According to the spokesperson leather off-cuts from upholstery are re-used in the the craze and footwear industries and off-cuts of wood veneer are donated to a local good will, which uses them to make furniture and other fund-raising outputs.

While the Goodwood HQ and manufacturing plant, designed by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 2003 was made to mitigate environmental impact as much as possible, you won’t find Rolls Royce talking just about cars which aren’t running on fossil fuels.

Every Slates Royce that comes off the production line, like any car, has a latent power to cost the environment, but given that the company operates at the peek of luxury, it is trade in relatively small volumes of everything it produces. Some 20 heaps a day are created.

Meanwhile the new factory did see a reduction in energy footprint of 29% per car corresponding to Rolls Royce and more than 60% of waste including cardboard, scrap, plastic, tyres and polystyrene is now recycled.

Although environmental and sustainable claims may slightly temper the glamour of a brand like Rolls Royce, its posture to automotive design – and now lifestyle products – is one of totality, in that it thinks the whole kit can be improved.

Hartley puts it best when he recalls a saying by Henry Royce, one of the unprecedented founding partners of the company.

“’Take the best that exists and record it better and if it doesn’t exist then design it.’”

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