The brief: ‘What will British luxury mean in 2050?’
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.
The different design visions, developed under the supervision of Bentley Design team, included features such as soundscapes, luxury stratospheric transportation and sophisticated driverless elegance.
Among 24 student responses submitted, four were identified as being particularly thought provoking by RCA lecturers and the Bentley design team.
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.
Luxury Soundscapes Concept by Irene Chiu
This concept 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 Concept by Kate NamGoong
This project 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 Concept by Jack Watson
This design study 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 Concept by Enuji Choi
For this concept the designer 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.
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.”
To view all of the student submissions you can visit RCA’s official website.
(Source: Bentley, RCA)