American Marketer


Bentley, RCA team to contemplate luxury’s meaning in 2050

January 22, 2018

Bentley Motors' new Bentayga V8. Image credit: Bentley


Automaker Bentley Motors is exploring the future of British luxury through a partnership with the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Art (RCA).

The design collaboration between Bentley and the Royal College of Art challenges second-year post-graduate students to contemplate and conceptualize “the meaning of future British luxury in the year 2050.” The students were asked to consider areas such as craftsmanship, materials and technology and what these concepts will look like in the future.

Luxury 2050
Bentley’s collaboration with RCA will explore the future of British luxury through a variety of topics.

The automaker’s own Stefan Sielaff, design director, is an RCA alumnus, graduating from its Intelligent Mobility program. In a statement, Mr. Sielaff said, “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,” he said. “I enjoyed a wonderful education at the RCA and these second-year students are the ones who will be designing the cars of the future -- the tastemakers in training, if you will.

“That’s why this challenge is so exciting and relevant. What will British luxury mean in 2050?”

Bentley design director Stefan Sielaff graduated from the Royal College of Arts' Intelligent Mobility program. Image credit: Bentley

Later this year, Bentley and RCA will share the top concepts conceived.

This shortlist will be selected by a judging panel featuring Mr. Sielaff and Bentley’s head of exterior design JP Gregory and head of interior design Romulus Rost. Judges from the RCA include Dr. Chris Thorpe, senior tutor in intelligent mobility at the RCA, tutor Guy Colborne and visiting professor J. Mays.

The winning student will receive an internship at Bentley’s design department located in Crewe.

“How can we create a truly emotional response to a personal journey over the next 30 years?” asked Dr. Thorpe in a statement.

“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,” he said.

British automaker Bentley Motors sees the future of mobility as a joining of technology and craftsmanship.

In an address at the 2017 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Bentley’s then-chairman/CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer shared his projections, explaining how he expects the car buyer’s needs to evolve over the next decade. From concierge services to a mobility club, the brand is thinking about what ownership means going forward (see story).