Imagining the future of automotive luxury more than three decades from now seems to be a daunting task. It would be hard for a typical person imagine such future without having the sense of vision and an eye for design. But for students at the Royal College of Arts in London, imagining how automotive luxury would look like in the future is their true calling.
In a dynamic collaboration, Bentley and Royal College of Arts (RCA) sought how the automotive luxury could be defined in 2050, or more than 30 years from now. The collaboration asked student at the world renowned RCA to imagine a truly luxurious Grand Touring experience for the future, by employing elements of physical materiality, technology and craftsmanship – all of which refuse to die even this era of virtual and digital world.
Interestingly, the current Design Director at Bentley was a graduate at the RCA. Stefan Sielaff, an alumnus of the RCA’s renowned Automotive Design program, remarked that the collaboration challenged millennial students for their vision of the automotive future, as laden with luxury.
In particular, the collaboration involved RCA’s second-year students, who Sielaff described as those designing the cars of the future and the taste makers in training. These students were asked the same question for them to answer with their designs: “What will British luxury mean in 2050?”
Overall, 24 students rose to the challenge and submitted designs they believe represent British luxury in 2050. From these 24 submissions, RCA lecturers and the Bentley design team selected four thought provoking designs. These designs are: ‘Luxury Soundscapes’ by Irene Chiu; ‘Material Humanity’ by Kate NamGoong; ‘Stratospheric Grand Touring’ by Jack Watson; and ‘Elegant Autonomy’ by Enuji Choi.
As it name indicates, Chiu’s ‘Luxury Soundscapes’ played special attention to the role of sound in future luxury mobility. She designed an autonomous vehicle can filter in pleasurable sounds while filtering out undesirable and stressful noises. Luxury Soundscapes essentially demonstrates how soundscape – as a transformative approach to in-cabin acoustics – can play a role in the wellbeing and travel experiences of passengers.
Meanwhile, NamGoong’s ‘Material Humanity’ focuses on unexpected and emotional aspects luxury car customers would still appreciate in 2050. In the future, fully autonomous and electric vehicles would be common, while an internal combustion vehicle would be luxury because of traditional engines becoming a rare commodity.
Inspired by Bentley’s near-100-year history of innovation, Watson’s Stratospheric Grand Touring imagines a future where luxurious stratospheric Grand Touring has become a reality, thereby lifting the restriction as to where people are able to live.
On the other hand, Choi’s Elegant Autonomy centered on British elegance and etiquette -- in particular when entering or exiting a driverless vehicle in a smart city.