2018 Bentley Continental GTEnlarge Photo
Bentley is exploring the future, the future of luxury and design, to be precise. The British ultra-luxury brand is doing so with a new partnership formed with the Royal College of Art. An institution of learning formed in 1896 is helping an automobile manufacturer founded in 1919. The goal? To examine the future of Bentley in the year 2050.
Stefan Sielaff is the Design Director for Bentley, and he's also an alum of the London university's Intelligent Mobility program. Now he's tasking second-year post-graduate students to come up with forward-looking concepts. The main areas of focus for these concepts relate to craftsmanship, materials, technology, and luxury as a whole.
This is a great way to mine potential design and manufacturing ideas for future Bentley vehicles. While it's all conceptual in nature, the concepts that can give birth to elements that make it into production vehicles. If you're going to have a group of people conceive these ideas, it's a good idea to leave it to young minds to do the work.
"Bentley has always been a leader in luxury, and with our collaboration we are asking these millennial students for their vision of the future. We are looking for 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," Sielaff said.
Dr. Chris Thorpe, Senior Tutor in Intelligent Mobility at the RCA, added: "How can we create a truly emotional response to a personal journey over the next 30 years? In an increasingly virtual and digital world, how can the elements of physical materiality and our sensory response be orchestrated and composed to meet our deepest human needs and desires? These are the areas we are exploring with Bentley."
These young designers will also have the potential to become part of Bentley's buying demographic, likely right around 2050.
The students will work on their concepts to see them judged by a panel of experts from Bentley and the school itself, plus visiting professor J Mays, the former Ford and Audi designer. The top concepts will be shown later this year and the winning designer will receive an internship in Bentley's design department.
That means the winner could possibly go from imagining a future Bentley to creating a real one.