The luxury car marque, renowned for the finest craftsmanship, has unveiled its latest bespoke study, Serenity, a car, the company claims, with the most opulent cabin of any Rolls-Royce Phantom in history.
That's because it sees a return to the forgotten art of dressing the interior in silk, rather than in leather. The Serenity's cabin, from its door panels to the roof liner are dressed in hand woven, hand-dyed, hand-embroidered and hand painted silk. Each panel of the material used required 600 hours of work.
Contrasting against the oriental-inspired silk motifs is the use of rare smoked cherrywood on the dashboard, fascia and the rear seat valances, which itself is balanced by use of cross-banded bamboo. And of course, it wouldn't be a Rolls-Royce without some marquetry, this time in a floral pattern, laser cut and hand applied into the wood.
As well as showing what the company's craftspeople are capable of doing with a length of the world's finest silk, the car serves as an automotive history lesson.
Until leather became suitably soft, refined and malleable, it was not a material permitted to grace the interior of the finest automobiles. The chauffeur sat on leather while his passengers were cocooned in the finest silk.
'Having revisited the history of the amazing interiors of the elite Rolls-Royce's of the early 1900s, we felt inspired to share this heritage with our new customers in a very contemporary way,' comments Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The silk used was sourced from Suzhou, China, a town where the thread was hand-dyed using methods dating back centuries. It was then hand woven, embroidered and painted in the UK.
Two Textile Arts graduates, Cherica Haye and Michelle Lusby, were enlisted to help develop a floral motif that blended contemporary design with imperial far-eastern traditions in order to create a sense of tranquility. 'This tranquility 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,' said Cherica Haye.