Legendary British car manufacturer Rolls-Royce decided to enlist the help of two textiles graduates from premier UK colleges to help design a bespoke interior for its latest Phantom model. The graduates really pushed the boat out, using silk, cherrywood and bamboo to build the marque’s most luxurious interior ever.
The interior and paintwork for the new Phantom Serenity were both customised by Rolls-Royce’s in-house design team, along with two textile design graduates, named Cherica Haye and Michelle Lusby, from the Royal College of Art and Plymouth University respectively. The project’s aim was to bring the spotlight back onto Rolls-Royce’s coachbuilding capabilities, and the lengths it can go to in tailoring its cars to an individual customer’s requirements.
Haye’s and Lusby’s input began at the design level, where they suggested using classical Japanese robes as the starting point, because of the association with high status, that they were made from quality silk, and that they frequently incorporated vibrant motifs.
The blossom motif has been long cherished in Japan and used in royal robe design for centuries. This led Haye and Lusby to suggest it as the perfect representation of tranquillity and serenity for Rolls-Royce’s latest model.
The passenger seats were upholstered in a very special silk. Sourced in unspun form from Suzhou in China, a city well known for its imperial embroidery experts. It was hand-dyed by local craftspeople before being transported to Essex, where it was hand-woven into the fabric in one of Britain’s oldest mills. Once the various colours of the silk were blended, the fabric was transferred to London. Here Haye and Lusby applied the final touches onto the material before it went to the factory for installation. The project was careful to import just enough fabric to furnish the interior.
The silk, along with white leather and smoked cherrywood, all came together to create a sumptuous interior, with Japanese blossom motifs underlining the Asian influences of the theme. The blossoms stretch out across the interior cabin’s roof line and can also be found on the inside door panels, inlaid in mother-of-pearl. The white, iridescent material was laser-cut into shape and then applied to the by hand to the wood trim.
To compliment this, the exterior is finished in a custom-designed mother-of-pearl paint. It’s reported to be the most expensive ever developed by the company.
The seats feature a smoked cherrywood trim, while the rear-centre console is embellished with bamboo to continue the overriding theme.
Given its exacting and influential clientele, one-off commissions form a large part of Rolls-Royce’s business. Roughly 85% of its cars are commissioned with some level of bespoke requirement and, while this Phantom Serenity was not requested or designed with any single customer in mind, the car does make an amazing rolling showcase of the company’s abilities.