February 3, 2022
PHANTOM ORCHID – AN INSPIRATIONAL SYMBOL FOR OUR TIME
The ‘one of one’ Rolls-Royce Phantom Orchid has been designed for Singapore. The orchid was selected as an inspirational theme for resilience, beauty and strength. Orchids have long been a focal point for art through the ages, but this is the first time they have been chosen for a Rolls-Royce commission. The orchid is the most coveted of ornamental plants: elegant, exotic, graceful yet hardy.
The combined talent of the Bespoke Collective at the Home of Rolls-Royce saw designers, craftspeople and artisans collaborate over a period of two years to create a masterpiece of this stature.
“Phantom Extended, our pinnacle motor car, was chosen to be the ‘blank canvas’ for this commission,” said Michael Bryden, Lead Designer, Rolls-Royce Bespoke. “Our concept envisaged a balanced yet progressive design, which echoes the values of the Singapore region. The orchid is seen in many facets of Asian life, a reminder that the resilient adapt and thrive regardless of the evolving environment. Phantom is the only motor car in the world to feature the Gallery, a space that enables one to exhibit art, sculptures, or objects of self-expression in the sanctuary of Phantom’s interior. For Phantom Orchid, we collaborated with award-winning artist Helen Amy Murray to create a unique, hand-sculpted silk artwork. The delicate materials and techniques that were deployed in the creation of this piece are protected behind an application of pure glass, that runs uninterrupted across the fascia of Phantom. Finished in an elegant blend of Grace White, Havana and Smoke Grey with Dark Olive stitching, the interior evokes the calm and serene nature which is inherent to the character of Phantom.”
Helen Amy Murray and her team have undertaken pioneering bespoke work with Phantom’s Gallery – a wholly contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s fascia and instrument panel area.
Helen was inspired by several kinds of orchids, including the Singapore Orchid, spending over 200 hours relentlessly refining her design and artwork with a team of six.
“I started by focusing on the actual orchids, which promptly led me to realise that colour was key to capturing the essence of the species. I have created artworks featuring orchids in the past, but my idea for the Gallery was to create something in realistic full colour, which pushed us to refine our digital printing skills,” explains UK-based artist and textile designer Helen Amy Murray, adding that her work is usually more neutral and tone-on-tone: “This more recent return to colour was exciting!”
Murray started by illustrating the design by hand before creating a digital version that she could print directly onto the silk crepe satin. The final part of the process involved a meticulous hand-sculpting of the flowers, releasing layers of fabric to create a 3D effect.
Within the interior, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer Yohan Benchetrit applied his talent to the Bespoke orchid-inspired Picnic Table Inlays in the rear of the suite which, when opened, gracefully reveal a beautiful layer of orchids set into Piano Black veneer. He added Bespoke treadplates emanating a similar theme sans text to welcome the owner and passengers into the motor car. The interior suite meanwhile was furnished with elegant, natural colours which provide a soothing ambience akin to an Orchid Sanctuary.
To complete this special ‘one of one’ Phantom, a unique paint was specially created using the latest paint technology. Arctic White was chosen as the base colour, while a tint of violet was added, inspired by orchids. Combined with fine glass particles through a special process, the result is a stunning pearlescent appearance. Under bright light, the paint technology creates a shimmering effect like no other, changing as an observer views the motor car from different angles. An eye-catching single coachline on either side of Phantom incorporates a Bespoke motif, inspired by an orchid, completing the theme.
“It draws parallels with the Singapore I know; a thoroughly modern garden city merging nature and technology effortlessly in its make-up,” says Bryden, who has not only spent time in Singapore but designed the now famous, ‘one of one’ ‘SG50 Bespoke Ghost’, created to celebrate the country’s 50th Anniversary. “It was the first time we had produced a motor car to celebrate such an occasion, so I am again delighted to have participated with Yohan and the Bespoke Collective here in Goodwood to create another masterpiece for Singapore.”
Just as it takes patience, time and dedication to grow an orchid, similarly, crafting a Rolls-Royce is a process that requires time and passion — but with an end result that more than justifies the wait.
Phantom Extended: NEDCcorr (combined) CO2 emission: 330-328 g/km; Fuel consumption: 19.5 mpg / 14.5 l/100km. WLTP (combined) CO2 emission: 361-344 g/km; Fuel consumption: 17.8-18.6 mpg / 15.9-15.2 l/100km.