Rolls-Royce Art-Deco poster.
Taking inspiration from one of the defining movements of the 20th century, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly presents a selection of Ghost and Phantom family cars that celebrate the Art Deco era.
The highly bespoke Phantom Saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Ghost models were unveiled at the Paris Motor Show 2012, in homage to the 1925 Paris Exhibition or Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes that gave the movement its name.
Phantom Saloon’s black and arctic white interior hints at the visual language of the movement while a suite of Art Deco-inspired interior detailing points to the creativity, skill and attention to detail employed by Rolls-Royce craftspeople.
Hand-fashioned stainless steel inlays in telephone drawer, door cappings and rear picnic table backs subtly evoke the decorative style of the period. An echo of the rich heritage of the marque also lies in the Art Deco-style geometric coachline pattern – a design conceived and used by Rolls-Royce on a show stand at Olympia in the early 20th century.
The elegant simplicity of Ghost is presented in two-tone, jubilee silver atop cobalto blue, whilst the interior features intricately designed and crafted marquetry in front and rear. A Phantom Drophead Coupé furnished in resplendent mother of pearl onlays gracefully completes the show line-up.
“In Paris we have elegantly captured the essence of one of the great periods in 20th century design,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “These Art Deco-inspired motor cars stand as a testament to the breadth of the Rolls-Royce bespoke offering, reinforcing the marque’s position as the world’s leading manufacturer of luxury goods.”
An exclusive collection of Bespoke Phantom Saloon and Ghost family cars, inspired by the Art Deco cars at Paris, will be made available to Rolls-Royce clients.
For Phantom customers, exterior colours will be offered in infinity black, Arabian blue, powder blue or Arctic white, and feature a bespoke, twin coachline with an Art Deco motif. An illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy, hinting at ornamental glassware of the day, completes the exterior detailing. Inside Phantom’s coach doors, touches like Art Deco headrest embroidery, bespoke inlays on piano black veneer and tread plates sporting Art Deco motif further reference the style of the period.
Ghost Art Deco collection cars are finished in either infinity black or arctic white with dual bespoke coach line and illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy. Interior styling includes handcrafted Art Deco inlays, as well as Olympia-inspired motif on tread plates and headrest embroidery. A black and white interior scheme featuring a choice of four seat piping colours takes inspiration from the colour palette of the era.
“For over a century a Rolls-Royce motor car has taken inspiration from the prevailing style of its time whilst retaining the marque’s unique design aesthetic,” added Giles Taylor, Design Director Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Art Deco was defined by theatre, glamour and a sense of excitement. Working to create contemporary interpretations of these classic themes has been enormously rewarding for everyone in my bespoke design team.”
Akin to the artisans of what is sometimes called high Art Deco, only the very finest materials are employed and painstakingly crafted in every model leaving the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England. Exquisite cashmere and finest leather combine to create an interior ambience that cossets passenger and driver in hallmark Rolls-Royce luxury.
Specially sourced wood veneers, selected for richness and complexity of grain, are adorned with mother of pearl or silver inlays - the form and structure of the pieces reminiscent of the fine cabinet making so prevalent in the Art Deco period.
In early 20th Century design, Rolls-Royce cues provided inspiration for Art Deco’s leading designers in fields beyond automobile manufacturing. The Spirit of Ecstasy, the mascot that has graced the prow of every Rolls-Royce motor car for 101 years for example, influenced Marcel Bouraine’s Papillon. His 1928 figurine in glass featuring flowing lines and outstretched wings helped define the decorative elegance of the era.
Art Deco was arguably the most glamorous and exciting design movement of the 20th century.
Loosely spanning the period 1920 to 1940, the name Art Deco was not applied until the 1960s, when the movement was aligned with the Paris Exhibition of 1925 or Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.
It’s a testament to its enduring appeal that many people with little interest in either art or design can identify an Art Deco inspired object or building today, even though they may not be clear what makes it so.
The movement was certainly sensational. Refreshing, different and beautiful in its own right, its roots were embedded in early twentieth century avant-garde painting styles, then moved into a global design aesthetic embraced by disciplines such as architecture, automotive design, marketing, ceramics and furniture making.
Art Deco embraced the cultural enthusiasm of the moment, employing futuristic crystallised motifs referencing Greek classicism and recently discovered Egyptian relics mixed with the dynamic of the age of the machine and streamlined automotive liberation.
Art Deco could be likened to light out of darkness, complementing an epoch characterised by the rapid development of technology and innovative use of new materials. Geometric shapes, recurring motifs and stylised images featured heavily across Art Deco design. Simplicity in form, sweeping lines and streamlining gave the movement an appeal that shocked convention, but delighted high society to the soundtrack of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.
But while the 1920s and 30s are held to embrace the Art Deco era, there was no definitive starting point, nor end. Art Deco influences were to be found well before this period and today Art Deco colours contemporary design.
Art Deco and Rolls-Royce.
The famous Rolls-Royce mascot ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ is one example that might be described as a prequel to the movement. Born in 1911, the graceful little Goddess has now adorned the prow of Rolls-Royce motor cars for more than a century.
The influence of this genuine icon can be seen in famous Art Deco designs several decades later. Marcel Bouraine’s (1928) Papillion, a winged-figurine in translucent green glass created in the powered glass pâte-de-cristal technique, hints at the original Rolls-Royce design.
The Spirit’s influence can also be seen in the glassware of Rene Lalique, creator of 29 car mascots of the period, such as the Spirit of the Wind in 1928. Also, his beautiful statuette Suzanne au Bain (1930), a nude revelling in fluttering draperies, a pose not dissimilar to that adopted by the muse said to have inspired the Spirit of Ecstasy’s designer Charles Sykes twenty years earlier.
The Spirit of Ecstasy’s flowing lines pre-empted the Art Deco movement. And the beautiful Phantom I, II and III models of the 1920s/1930s, wearing fine bespoke coachwork, certainly embody some of the high points in Rolls-Royce design of the last century.
Art Deco inspired those with the courage and conviction not to merely follow. It introduced a sense of flow and dynamism. In the movement’s most opulent creations, Art Deco complemented the reputation Rolls-Royce had already established at the pinnacle of the burgeoning automotive sector, embracing the finest designs and revelling in the most glamorous of objects.
High Art Deco (as it was sometimes described) also embraced the sheer luxury of natural materials, the use of the exotic and experimental and celebrated the march of technology. The clean lines of aluminium – a material used to such success in bringing to life the original Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost - cool stainless steel and the luxurious feel of lacquer; all were to feature prominently in Art Deco design.
Bespoke Rolls-Royce luxury for the 21st century.
Though Rolls-Royce cars hold a timeless quality, the visual history of the marque illustrates that something can always be traced of the era in which the cars were designed. In creating a Rolls-Royce for the 21st Century, designers rose to the challenge of expressing the marque’s heritage and language of one of the most celebrated aesthetics in automotive history without straying into pastiche.
This balance was achieved by elegantly incorporating Rolls-Royce design and engineering tenets, that have stood for nearly a century, into a contemporary motor car that quickly established a pinnacle position in the modern automotive era.
Features referencing the marque’s heritage such as the Pantheon grille adorned with Spirit of Ecstasy, wheels proportionally half the height of the car and interior furnished with classic detailing including eyeball vents operated by organ-stop controls, found their home in a thoroughly modern masterpiece.
The spirit of movements such as Art Deco can be seen in every modern Rolls-Royce. The evolutionary updates to the pinnacle Phantom Series II family are an elegant example. It is a car built in the context of the world we live in today that retains the true essence of what has gone before.
Detailed interior touches in Phantom include quarter mirrors behind the c-pillar that reflect ambient light. Finished in green-frosted glass, these are reminiscent of the pâte-de-cristal pieces so prevalent in Art Deco glassware classics.
Today, echoes of Art Deco can be found in Ghost too. Its overarching design theme - the power of simplicity – reveals clean sweeping lines and proportions evoking the understated grandeur of the period.
The employment of only the finest materials and handcraftsmanship pays homage to the design and manufacturing excellence that typified the best of the Art Deco era. Cashmere and luxurious leather interiors give an air of sumptuous indulgence.The form and section of hand-crafted, lacquered and highly polished wood veneers for example evoke the structure of fine furniture. Rolls-Royce veneers are chosen for their richness, iridescence and complexity of grain, often enhanced by inlays adorned with silver or mother of pearl and cross banding, so reminiscent of fine cabinet making in the Art Deco era.
In celebration of the Art Deco period and the relevance of the Paris Exhibition to the movement, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has created a series of highly bespoke Art Deco inspired Phantom and Ghost models which will debut at the Paris Motor Show 2012. The Phantom Saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Ghost models feature a suite of design detailing inspired by the period.
The Phantom Saloon for example includes a black and arctic white interior featuring a stainless steel inlay in the telephone drawer, door cappings and in rear picnic table backs. These feature a geometric pattern first used by Rolls-Royce in early 20th century motor show stand designs.
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