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Rolls-Royce Brings a Sense of Serenity to Geneva Motor Show

We have come a long way in the past century since Henry Ford explained the paint options for his Model T. "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black." Today, while enthusiasts love to make modifications of their own, customization from the factory is again becoming the ultimate way to take your status symbol car up a notch. SONY DSC In an era of computerized mass production, we have the ability to create almost an immeasurable combination of mechanical and interior specifications. When I looked at the production line of Maserati, I was told there were over 40,000,000 possible combinations. Serenity 6_ This trend to increasingly personalize our daily transport has been taken to hitherto unknown heights by Rolls-Royce, in a one-off car that was on display at the Geneva Salon, the Rolls-Royce Serenity. The exercise is based on a Phantom Series ll and is described by the company as "the new standard in authentic, bespoke luxury motoring." Frankly, who am I to disagree? We often describe cars that we admire as automotive works of art - and I suspect we are largely thinking in terms of sculptures and three dimensions. However, art takes many forms, and tapestries and fabrics have their place, as do paintings and other two dimensional works. Serenity 1 At first glance, there seems to be something different about the Serenity's external appearance. In fact, the bespoke Mother of Pearl paint is the most expensive one-off paint ever developed by Rolls-Royce. Added in a three stages, the pearl effect was then hand-polished for 12 hours by the craftsmen in the Rolls-Royce Factory at Goodwood to deliver this shimmering presence. Most expensive, consider that... and this is Rolls-Royce we are talking about - enough to make the accounts department wince. 2015 Geneva Salon The interior of the Serenity is unlike anything I have seen, except perhaps in places that are Royal Palaces or the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. That, of course, was the aim of Rolls-Royce. To achieve this goal, they recruited experts Cherica Haye and Michelle Lusby, both Textile Arts graduates from the Royal College of Art and Plymouth University respectively. Haye explained the inspiration for their vision. Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 15 47 53 “The rear compartment of a Phantom is the most tranquil, beautiful place to be, a place where time and the outside world simply slip past. This tranquillity made us think of the Oriental tradition where Emperors would take to their private gardens to reflect in solitude under the blossom trees. The blossom motif is one that is cherished in Far Eastern culture and has been beautifully applied to Royal robe design over the centuries. We felt it was the perfect representation of tranquillity and serenity for a beautiful modern interior from Rolls-Royce.” Serenity 8 Silk was the material chosen, with Lusby describing the rational. “Some of the most opulent silk motifs come to us from the Orient, where imperial families’ and rich merchants’ robes were made from the finest silk materials. The ultimate example of the most opulent robe design became the junihitoe, a highly complex handmade ‘twelve-layer robe’ of silk worn only by female Japanese courtiers. The colours and the arrangements of the layers were very important, with the colours given poetic names such as ‘crimson plum of the spring’." Serenity 16 The Serenity's material was sourced from Suzhuo in China, famous for the traditional imperial embroidery supplied to the Emperors. The unspun silk was hand-dyed before being sent to Britain to be hand-woven. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail borders on madness, but the results are simply stunning. 2015 Geneva Salon The silk upholstery is enhanced by the interior arctic white leather seats, bamboo cross-banding and smoked cherry wood. 2015 Geneva Salon The motivation behind this exercise is two-fold. Firstly, to show the world what can be done when imagination and budget are combined. The second part is obvious, when the figures are considered. One-off commissions and Bespoke Collections helped Bespoke sales to grow globally by 31% in 2014, with 85% of all Rolls-Royce motor cars sold around the world commissioned with some level of Bespoke content. 2015 Geneva Salon Additional photography courtesy of and copyright Rolls-Royce Motor cars. The Geneva Salon has been witness to many concept cars over its illustrious history, most have been performance or style related, the Rolls-Royce Serenity is the last word in luxury and opulence and is a form of automotive art in every respect. Next up from Geneva Motor Show coverage, what are the new Concept Cars telling us about the future?...
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