Intelligent Mobility Students Envisage 'Future British' in Collaboration with Bentley

Recent vehicle design graduates from the MA Intelligent Mobility programme at the Royal College of Art have envisaged the future of British luxury for Bentley Motors, the most sought-after luxury car brand in the world. Sound, emotion, super-speed and sophisticated manners all feature in the diverse visions created through this design collaboration that asked second-year students to develop concepts of British luxury in the year 2050. The outcomes considered the impacts of new technologies and craftsmanship on personal transport and interrogated what luxury might mean in a driverless and sustainable world.

Discussing the brief at its launch, Bentley’s Design Director Stefan Sielaff – himself an alumnus of the RCA’s renowned Vehicle Design programme – explained: ‘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.’ 

‘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 taste makers in training, if you will. That’s why this challenge is so exciting and relevant.’

Discussing the outcomes of the brief Intelligent Mobility tutor Clive Birch said: ‘Tomorrow’s personal journey will still be an emotional experience, as evolving culture, disruptive technology and personal desires change tomorrow’s car. Our students tackled that challenge when Bentley asked them to look at craft and performance in the next quarter century.’

He continued: ‘This unique opportunity enabled them to work alongside industry within their RCA design programme, with complete freedom of personal expression. Industry partnerships like this offer students invaluable insights without commercial pressures and offer the College welcome support for the learning process, in return stimulating industry beyond the norm.’

Irene Chiu’s design considers the role of sound in future mobility with a vehicle that can block undesirable and stressful sounds while allowing pleasurable sounds to remain. Kate NamGoong identifies the unexpected and the emotional as qualities that will continue to be appreciated in 2050. Her design focuses on the hand-crafted and uses her previous training in jewellery and metalwork to highlight materials and making.

Considering Bentley as emblematic of British innovation, Jack Watson’s vision of future British imagines a scenario where commuting does not restrict where people live as sustainable, luxury stratospheric transport is provided through electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) technology. Bin Sun’s ‘Bentley Rebel Classic’ creates a future where private vehicles are the ultimate luxury car, with a design that takes into consideration the personality and needs of the consumer to help form strong emotional connections with bespoke vehicles. The importance of decorum and manners are elevated in Eunji Choi’s elegant and beautiful design of a driverless vehicle for the smart cities of the future and Kansara Shyamal’s design captured the purist form of Bentley past, present and future.

MA Intelligent Mobility places the RCA at the vanguard of the ‘third age’ of automotive design, supporting students to develop innovative forms of transportation – such as autonomous vehicles – and design systems and frameworks that enable people to move through hyper-connected cities. It also provides students with opportunities to collaborate with other RCA programmes, such as Textiles and Innovation Design Engineering, and take part in live briefs with industry partners like Bentley.

Find out more about MA Intelligent Mobility at the RCA and how to apply.