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Rolls-Royce design director on modern luxury

The concept of luxury has evolved to include a much more complex set of values. Time, authenticity, legacy, access, resource, journey, skills and memory – these are just some of the concepts joining the more classic terms associated with luxury. And going forward, when the car becomes essentially a high-tech gadget in the age of autonomous driving, what will define true luxury?

Our luxury brand content editor Nargess Banks caught up with Giles Taylor, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design director, who offers his thoughts on the subject.

How would you define modern luxury?

The subject is very topical, especially for us. Time, for instance, is of growing importance with the high net worth clients, and we are assessing how Rolls-Royce fits into this. For us it is more about the car journey, where we create a world that revolves a little slower, a world that is more of a sanctuary. It has to be about offering splendid isolation.

Rolls-Royce 2015 Drophead Dawn

How do you see this being unique to the marque?

For us design means being timeless, classic, authentic. When a client sits inside one of our cars they could be six or sixty-five – that’s how familiar the surrounding should be. It is about time autonomy. The interior has to be effortless, so the occupants can navigate the technology on-board whilst carrying on with their businesses. The car needs to offer this sanctuary, a sense of escapism.

It could be argued that Rolls-Royce cars have always been driverless, given that they are predominantly chauffeured. Yet how do you see the future of luxury in the context of autonomous driving?

The autonomous car of the future will mean creating space inside the vehicle. High net worth individuals are buying space on and we need to create more space for a more luxurious interior.

Rolls-Royce 2015 Drophead Dawn, here showing the hand crafted mirror-matched open pore wood rear deck cover shows attention to craft and detail

However, this also means de-cluttering the space, taking out the extra furniture so you can appreciate the beautifully crafted mahogany wooden panel on the dashboard, for instance, or the exquisite hand stitching on the leather chairs, and the most beautiful technological clock…

How do you envisage the future?

The future is extremely modern for us with craft solutions are at the core. The Rolls-Royce DNA is about modernity. If you look back at our early Phantoms, for instance, there is a sense of purity in the design, of almost austerity. There is not a lot going on but clean shapes and incredible craftsmanship and execution. Modernity, high tech is in our DNA.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Serenity bespoke special edition
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