“An Unbroken Line”: the story of Bentley Design

Exhibitions 11 Feb 2011
“An Unbroken Line”: the story of Bentley Design

Bentley has opened an exhibition called “An Unbroken Line” which documents the history and the behind the scenes of the brand’s design from the origins to the present day.

Bentley Continental GTC design sketchThe ‘An Unbroken Line’ will be hosted at Bentley’s Headquarters in Crewe, Cheshire East (UK) throughout 2011.

The exhibition follows the story of creativity and technology behind the creation of the latest Bentleys including the Continental GT and Mulsanne.

Many of the very first drawings for the new Continental GT, including concepts consigned to the studio archives, are being shown publicly for the first time.

The designers offer a step-by-step guide as to how the interior and exterior styles take shape both through computer virtualization and sophisticated full-scale clay models.

They also provide an insight into how they employ advanced manufacturing techniques such as aluminum superforming, adapted from the aerospace industry, to shape the body of the new Continental GT.

Bentley Continental GT Interior DesignThe exhibition also captures key moments of the company’s lineage and the unbroken line of signature characteristics that define a Bentley.

Whether it is the particular shape and positioning of the headlights, the use of inverted needles on the dashboard or the pronounced ‘powerlines’ that sweep down the flanks of the car – the language of design comes to life.

Dirk van Braeckel, Bentley’s Director of Design and Styling, explains: “What I particularly like about the exhibition is the sheer number and variety of interesting objects we’ve been able to bring together for the very first time, it is quite a collection.

Bentley Continental T Design SketchIt is also fascinating to see just how talented the early Bentley designers really were – the beauty of their concept sketches and sheer precision of their technical drawings still inspires my own team to this day.”

The exhibition also highlights the lighter side of factory life with some design folklore.

The slightly strange world of ‘Teddy Bear Ears,’ the ‘Bentley Bat Cave’ and ‘Dame Ednas’ are explained and there is the opportunity to see how the designers have turned their hand to creating beautiful and bespoke accessories with other luxury partners like Breitling and Tibaldi.

Bentley drawing by MG Paulin Bentley Winged B Mascot

Right at the heart of the exhibition – illustrating the art of designers both past and present – are some of the examples of the cars that have made Bentley famous for over 90 years.

The new Continental GT and Mulsanne line-up alongside some classic and rare Bentley’s including Woolf Barnato’s exquisite 1930 ‘Blue Train’ Speed Six Coupe which has been especially shipped in from America by a friend of the company.

The car is renowned for its sleek and revolutionary Gurney Nutting coachwork and is also famous for winning one of the most intriguing wagers in motoring history when Barnato, a Le Mans-winning driver, drove all the way back to London from the south of France before his friend reached Calais on ‘Le Train Bleu.’

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