The Royal College of Art recently hosted its annual Interim Degree Show, which showcased the projects of the first and second year students enrolled in the MA Vehicle Design program. One of the highlights of the show came in the form of a project created by second year students in collaboration with Rolls-Royce.
Taking into account the luxury marque’s history of blending coach-built body design cues and traditional interior craftsmanship with an imposing modernity, students were asked to devise a new vehicle that would cater to the brand’s existing customer demands and take into account possible user scenarios to propose a credible addition to the Rolls-Royce portfolio for the year 2020.
Above Rubies Concept by Jan P Rosenthal
Rosenthal’s ‘Above Rubies’ concept blends the attributes of a two-seater coupe and an SUV. The resulting vehicle is a future Rolls-Royce for the desert.
Sporting the familiar Rolls-Royce design language, the front-end design is a more modern interpretation of the characteristic Phantom face, with slender headlamps and a large grille. Measuring 5770mm in length and 1694mm tall (slightly shorter than the Phantom but also slightly higher), the crossover vehicle has higher ground clearance and the hood height of a Range Rover.
A smooth greenhouse and shallow DLO combine with the roof canopy which has been brought backwards, similar to other vehicles in the Rolls-Royce range but with a steeper rake to the windscreen and A-pillars that roll into top surface of hood.
The accelerated surfacing, sharp highlights on the bodyside and an upkick on the rocker panels give it a dynamic forward motion, appearing light and agile while retaining the monumental proportions characteristic of a Rolls-Royce product.
A Bentley GT-like rear end treatment – complete with narrow backlight – lend a bunker-like quality that alludes to the car’s safety credentials.
Shooting brake Concept by Niels van Roij
Inspired by architectural deconstructivism, Niels van Roij created a two-seater car with rear accommodations suitable for pets.
His theme exploration looked into the coupe, shooting brakes and wagon typologies and led him to develop a design that drew on aspects of Roll-Royce’s historic shooting brakes and evolved the two-tone character of the vehicle, which has become an intrinsic part of the ultra-luxury car maker’s DNA. At the rear a convenient drop down tailgate provides access for the user’s four-legged companion.
The interior, which consists of 3D component themes, features an aluminum element in the center stack and visually floating panels. It also features a massive divided rear area and an integrated ‘dog walk’ armrest that enables users to interact with their pets. Van Roij also sought to include bespoke materials into the design, notably tweed, which is not only highly durable but also unique in the automotive space.
Silver Wraith Concept by Paul Nichols
Paul Nichols’ Silver Wraith concept sought to answer the question: “What is luxury after the economic crisis?” By conducting research, Nichols determined that consumers in emerging markets want the West’s lifestyle, but that users in the West are looking for something new – not superfluous luxury.
Nichols therefore created a three passenger vehicle ‘sculpture’ (an atypical 1+2 layout – like a modern day rickshaw) that bears signature Rolls-Royce elements and rides on a wheelbase that’s been shortened six inches relative to the Ghost.
The vehicle’s hood is an organic sculptural piece – held together by clamps – which separates and cuts through body. With its square face, front fenders that blend into rest of the body, slanting shoulderline, drop down DLO and truncated rear end, the vehicle’s graphical breakup makes its intentions understood.
There is a romantic connotation to the vehicle’s interior layout and exterior proportions, while the strong window graphic and narrative of the front effectively communicate the strong presence sought by Rolls-Royce’s customers.
Nichols attests that the vehicle would likely be driver’s car in the West, but chauffeur driven in Eastern markets.
(check back soon for part 2)