All images courtesy of Rolls-Royce
Any true aesthete knows there is no space too small or unsuitable for the right fine art. But, while your on board gallery is perfect for a Picasso or one of this month's top auction lots, you may not think your car to be the best place for a custom art installation. Rolls-Royce, however, would beg to differ. The marque's latest launch, the new Phantom, feature a space on the fascia designed exclusively to allow owners to personalise their cars with custom artworks. To demonstrate the possibilities of this space Rolls-Royce has commissioned seven artists to offer their interpretation of the space with dramatically different results. Click through to take a look and discover the inspiration behind each one.
Digital Soul by Thorsten Franck
Munich-based product designer Thorsten Franck has used cutting edge technology to produce a unique artwork based on the DNA of his patron. Franck captures the patron's character using a special algorithm before transcribing this into an object via 3D printing in stainless steel. The finished product has then been plated in 24K gold and highly polished to produce a finished piece which changes depending on your position in the car, time of day and angle of sunlight.
"My work embraces additive manufacturing and manipulates it to produce a unique work of art that could not be created by man alone," explains Franck. "I have mapped an algorithm to interpret your soul. The visual aesthetics of gold change throughout the day by reflecting the light; there is life in this sculpture.”
Based on a unique rose bred and grown exclusively for Rolls-Royce by British brand Harkness Roses, the bloom was transformed into a precious fine art objet by the master porcelain artisans at Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg in Bavaria. The finished piece depicts the rose in various stages of its life, with the most elaborate flowers containing up to 80 individual elements.
“Nature is simply perfect and imitating it is a challenge," said Anton Hörl, master porcelain maker. "We as artists have to ensure that our emulation does nature justice. I wanted to feel the tension of each individual blossom. The observer must be able to recognise not only the variety, but also its unique character.”
British artist Helen Amy Murray took inspiration from Rolls-Royce's iconic T_he Spirit of Ecstasy,_ which has graced the prow of every Rolls-Royce car since 1911. Originally based on Charles Sykes' bronze statue The Whisper, Murray worked in silk appliqué to create a subtly sculpted linear piece which merely hints at the female form through the delicate line of the neck and barely discernible wing.
“I was inspired by the ethereal quality of the illustrations of The Spirit of Ecstasy by Charles Sykes," says Murray. "They led me to incorporate the female form into my work; I wanted my Gallery commission to look soft and organic. The subtle spacing of lines brings the draped figure into perspective.”
London artist collective Based Upon believes every artwork should tell a story and, when commissioned to create a piece for The Gallery, hit upon Rolls-Royce's history as a brand grounded in experimentation and impossible feats as their inspiration. To create the artwork a piece of silk was pulled through a tank of water with the effect being captured on camera. The image was then analysed and reworked in clay and wax before being optimised to fit The Gallery space. The finished piece was then machined in aluminium, then polished and curved to resemble the shapes of the original fabric.
“We tried to capture a moment as though the Spirit of Ecstasy’s shawl was allowed to drape over the car at high speed, capturing that moment that leaves time standing still, as the Spirit of Ecstasy trails all in her wake,” comments Lex Wlech, co-founder of Based Upon.
For British designer and goldsmith Richard Fox, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is not a new canvas, having been commissioned to embellish many models with precious gemstones by private clients throughout his career. For his piece, Fox drew on these previous experiences as well as the clock beloved of many Rolls-Royce patrons, to create an artwork which depicts a star burst emanating from a single diamond encased in platinum. Each solid silver spear of the star burst contains pear cut amethysts, highlighted using rich Violet de Nuit lacquer, while the clock has also been given additional guilloche engraving.
"The Gallery offers patrons of Phantom an unparalleled level of Bespoke opportunities," says Fox. "The use of natural gemstones and a brilliant cut diamond will bring movement to The Gallery, as light refracts, accentuating the depth of the design. This work brings an entirely new interpretation of diamonds to the dashboard.”
Swiss-based Nature Squared took on a huge challenge with its Gallery commission through its determination to work with materials that had previously been impossible to incorporate in motor cars. Feathers take central stage with over 3,000 naturally iridescent examples being hand-sewn onto open pore fabric leaving the clock, which has been inlaid with sustainably sourced jade green abalone, as the centrepiece.
“The inky iridescence and sumptuous texture of the feathers provide a sense of true luxury," explains Martin Ehrath, head of research and development at Nature Squared. "Phantom’s clock has been softly cosseted by feathers, their fragility protected by ‘The Gallery’s’ glass fascia. The timeless beauty and elegant grace of this Gallery is preserved in the sanctity of Phantom’s interior.”
Acclaimed Chinese artist Liang Yuanwei based her commission on the autumnal colours she encountered when visiting the West Sussex home of Rolls-Royce. Using thick layers of paint to an almost sculptural effect, Yuanwei's work is suggestive of abstract texture which reveals more and more detail the closer you get.
“My artwork for The Gallery is reflective of the impression that I get from the marque, having seen the human and natural environment of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ headquarters," said Yuanwei. "I wanted to capture the atmosphere and reproduce it. That feeling is sophisticated, a sophistication that envelops you. Like painting, the many aesthetic details of a car represent the brand's values and heritage. Over time, a brand’s culture is passed on to the present. Some things persist, some things elapse, some things are abandoned, and some things evolve. This is the way of inheritance with a sense of responsibility, like the detailed strokes of a painting. This is also the approach to my work.”