Bentley asks future designers to imagine future cars

Bentley asked students at Royal College of Art for future luxury visions

Published: October 14, 2018, 1:30 AM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:58 PM

Kate NamGoong's Material Humanity - submitted as part of a Bentley/Royal College of Art project about the elements of future luxury.

When Bentley decided to look at what the future of luxury cars would be like, it went to the people who will be designing them — design students in the second year Intelligent Mobility program at London’s Royal College of Art.

“Bentley has always been at the forefront of automotive luxury, and with this collaboration we asked millennial students for their vision of the future,” said Bentley’s Design Director Stefan Sielaff, himself an RCA alumnus, from the school’s renowned Automotive Design program. “These second-year students are the ones who will be designing the cars of the future – the taste makers in training, if you will.

“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,” he added

Under the tutelage of the Bentley design team, students were challenged to imagine the physical and technological elements, as well as the craftsmanship, that would go into a future luxurious Grand Touring experience.

Asking the question “What will British luxury mean in 2050?” Bentley and RCA lecturers got back 24 responses featuring soundscapes, luxury stratospheric transportation and sophisticated driverless elegance. Four were singled out as particularly thought provoking

“How do you make tomorrow’s personal journey an emotional experience, as evolving culture, disruptive technology and personal desires change tomorrow’s car?” said Dr. Chris Thorpe, Senior Tutor in Intelligent Mobility at the RCA. “Our students tackled that question when Bentley asked them to look at automotive luxury over the next 30 years.”

Irene Chiu considered the role of sound in future luxury mobility in her “Luxury Soundscapes” submission. The vehicle can selectively filter undesirable and stressful noises, while allowing pleasurable bioacoustics to remain. Soundscape is a transformative approach to in-cabin acoustics in autonomous vehicles, influencing cabin occupants’ health, wellbeing and travel experiences.

“Material Humanity” is Kate NamGoong’s suggestion that true luxury in the future will be the choice to occasionally drive a classic internal-combustion vehicle in an autonomous, electric-vehicle world. Although those vehicles may be hard to come by, she imagined a cabin where occupants can see the mechanical workings, like they can see the workings of today’s luxury watches.

Drawing inspiration from Bentley’s 100-year history of ground-breaking innovation, Jack Watson created “Stratospheric Grand Touring” as a vision of a world where international business travel will no longer restrict where people are able to live in order to pursue their business ventures.

And “Elegant Autonomy,” by Enuji Choi, looks at the importance of elegance and British etiquette in the future driverless vehicles designed for smart cities. Particularly, the project looks at the etiquette of entry and exit and how it has evolved from horse-drawn-carriage times and will continue to evolve in the autonomous world.