How Bentley uses travel to inspire its car design elements


Bentley is known for making some of the most luxurious cars on the market. And it’s the brand’s attention to detail and finish that really justifies the six-figure price tag. But what you might not know is that travel elements inspired many of these features. Bentley recently celebrated 1,000 bespoke projects last year through the Mulliner division which incorporates specific requests from wanderlust-inspired customers.

“We meet different customers and get to know their lifestyles,” Darren Day, interior design manager at Bentley, told me. “We know their favorite hotels, their food, etc., and we’re starting to adapt designs to bring those aspects to life. For example, I looked at a client’s favorite hotel and used that to influence the seams. They just feel ‘wow’ and I don’t always know why. But it’s because we take those lifestyle details into account.”

While there are many examples of travel built into the design, a few stand out.

Fly fishing kit

A favorite pastime of many guests is fly fishing. So the Mulliner team decided to create a kit for the Bentayga to make the next trip to the water’s edge a little more luxurious. Mulliner’s Bentayga Fly Fishing features four Hardy Zephrus rods stored in saddle leather trimmed tubes complete with linen cross stitches. There’s also a pair of landing nets in matching leather bags, which are stowed in a one-of-a-kind, carpeted, hard-sided pocket built into the side of the trunk. And there’s a neoprene-lined, handcrafted wooden chest with Saddle leather trim to store your waders and boots.

“The Bentayga Fly Fishing installation is a superb demonstration of how Mulliner can incorporate a particular pursuit into the design of your Bentley,” the Mulliner team said in a statement. “The team’s unique skills can be tailored to suit the most demanding lifestyles or to ensure your car blends in with your unique aesthetic.”

Bespoke Mulliner Yacht Design

If you’re lucky enough to own a Bentley, you’re probably also capable of spending time on a yacht. So the craftsmen at Bentley Design Services decided to incorporate this luxury travel item into a client’s Continental GT V8 coupe. First, they created a bespoke nautical trim that matched the owner’s yacht with Dutch yacht builder Contest Yachts. This included the incorporation of the yacht’s Hotspur red leather cabin, beige linen skin and diamond-in-diamond stitching. And the car’s Light Sapphire exterior matches the yacht’s deep blue hull.

“This project was an opportunity for Bentley Design Services to showcase some of their many skills in a truly unique collaboration,” said Brett Boydell, head of Bentley Design collaborations at Bentley Motors, in a statement. “Bentley cars embrace qualities of craftsmanship and style that are only achieved at the highest level of nautical design.”

Chic picnic

Like the fly fishing kit, Bentley wanted to create the ultimate luxury accessory for a day out or a road trip: a chic picnic basket. The picnic baskets have been designed for the Bentayga series and come complete with a refrigerator, custom fine china cutlery, crystal glass and storage space for dry goods. Plus, the baskets themselves convert into seats to make picnicking as comfortable as possible.

“The talents of Mulliner’s design team extend beyond the cars themselves, from feature content to scale models and design-themed sculptures,” the team said in a statement.

Seams inspired by California sand dunes

As part of a launch event, the team traveled to the California sand dunes to demonstrate what the vehicle was capable of. They drove on ice, through ravines and more in this event. And it was this journey that inspired Day to add elements of this terrain to the car.

“I’ve always been inspired by the pitch to influence the interior,” Day told me. “So you’ll notice little mountains in the way the inside stitch comes together. It’s kind of like the tracks that tires leave when they’re on rough terrain. Plus, practically speaking, we’ve created a panel at the bottom of the door which is a darker color so if you’re off-roading your shoes don’t accidentally leave a visible scratch.”

He added, “All the different elements of travel always inspire us.”

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