Bentley and Royal College of Art present the future of British luxury

Bentley and Royal College of Art present the future of British luxury

  • British institution explores how automotive luxury will look in 2050
  • Student projects imagine luxury soundscapes, stratospheric Grand Touring and sophisticated driverless elegance
  • Collaboration included curriculum tutelage from Bentley Design team

CREWE, 09-Oct-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — Bentley has collaborated with design students from the Royal College of Art’s (RCA) Intelligent Mobility programme to envisage the future of British luxury*.

The students were challenged to imagine how – in an increasingly virtual and digital world – elements of physical materiality, technology and craftsmanship can be curated to create a truly luxurious Grand Touring experience.

Bentley’s Design Director Stefan Sielaff, an alumnus of the RCA’s renowned Automotive Design programme, explained: “Bentley has always been at the forefront of automotive luxury, and with this collaboration we asked millennial students for their vision of the future.

“We wanted ideas and concepts that could potentially lead us in new and interesting directions, using the perspective of these digital natives – from all over the world – to see things differently. These second-year students are the ones who will be designing the cars of the future – the taste makers in training, if you will. That’s why the results of the challenge are so exciting.”

Dr. Chris Thorpe, Senior Tutor in Intelligent Mobility at the RCA, added: “How do you make tomorrow’s personal journey an emotional experience, as evolving culture, disruptive technology and personal desires change tomorrow’s car? Our students tackled that question when Bentley asked them to look at automotive luxury over the next 30 years.”

Soundscapes, luxury stratospheric transportation and sophisticated driverless elegance all feature in the diverse design visions, which were created in response to the question: ‘What will British luxury mean in 2050?’

From the 24 student responses submitted, four were identified as being particularly thought provoking by RCA lecturers and the Bentley design team, who also offered guidance and tutelage throughout the curriculum project.

These academic outcomes considered the impacts of new technologies and craftsmanship on personal transport, and interrogated what luxury might mean in an autonomous and increasingly sustainable world.

From Soundscapes to the Stratosphere – The Student Responses

‘Luxury Soundscapes’ by Irene Chiu’s considered the role of sound in future luxury mobility, with a vehicle that can selectively filter undesirable and stressful noises while at the same time allowing pleasurable bioacoustics to remain. She suggests that soundscape will be a transformative approach to in-cabin acoustics in autonomous vehicles, demonstrating how it could be influential in passengers’ health, wellbeing and travel experiences.

‘Material Humanity’ by Kate NamGoong identified the unexpected and the emotional as qualities that will continue to be appreciated by luxury car customers in 2050. Moreover, she suggests true luxury in the future will be the choice to occasionally drive yourself in an internal combustion vehicle, when the rest of the world is fully autonomous and electric. With traditional engines becoming such a rarity, Kate imagines that people will want to see the mechanical workings – just as they do with luxurious mechanical watches today.

‘Stratospheric Grand Touring’ by Jack Watson took inspiration from Bentley’s near-100-year history of groundbreaking innovation for his design study. His vision of future luxury imagines a scenario where international business travel will no longer restrict where people are able live, as sustainable, luxury stratospheric Grand Touring will be a reality.

‘Elegant Autonomy’ by Enuji Choi looked at the importance of elegance and British etiquette in a future with driverless vehicles built for smart cities. The project focuses on the etiquette of ingress and egress, and how it has evolved over time – from horse-drawn carriages to modern-day cars – and the way it will continue to evolve in an autonomous world.

View all of the student submissions at

– ENDS –

Notes to editors

*The collaboration between Bentley and the RCA was an academic exercise, intended to generate discussion around the topic of the future of luxury mobility. The designs and models shown are not future Bentley products or concepts and do not represent the future design direction of the company.

About Bentley

Bentley Motors is the most sought after luxury car brand in the world. The company’s headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines – Continental, Flying Spur, Bentayga and Mulsanne. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley employs around 4,000 people at Crewe.

About the Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at number one in the 2017, 2016 and 2015 QS World University Rankings by subject. Engaging in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of applied art, architecture, fine art, design, communications and humanities. It offers 28 highly specialised programmes in Art & Design to over 2,000 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 800 professionals interacting with them – including researchers, art and design practitioners, along with advisers and distinguished visitors.

Credit for Irene Chiu images – Airglow Creative Studios

SOURCE: Bentley Motors


Marc Mustard
News and Product Communications Manager
+44 (0) 1270 535043


Comments are closed.