70 years ago, Bentley’s design department sketched out independence from Rolls-Royce
Did you know that Bentley created its very own design department 70 years ago this month? The operation was likely small at first, since the first vehicle crafted by folks in Bentley’s hometown of Crewe was the 1951 R-Type Continental. While it had a Bentley-worthy grille, the swoop-fendered saloon was heavily based on the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn. Which was par for the course for Bentley for many decades, but luckily the two brands diverged to the point that Bentley Design came into its own. Today, Bentley creates cars that look like nothing else, even with some engineering input from parent company Volkswagen.
Andreas Mindt, Bentley’s director of design, understands his brand’s heritage and knows the weight of his actions in the design studio. “Leading the next evolution of Bentley’s design DNA is a true honor, especially after so many decades of exquisite design in our studio in Crewe,” he says. “Our team of designers is now engaged with their next opportunity—creating Bentley’s first BEV, which must translate and reshape those classic forms and details to a truly future-facing design.”
While those who read press releases for a living witness similar statements on a regular basis from other manufacturers, we don’t normally hear it from an automotive design team that also creates high-end furniture. Bentley Home Furniture takes the brand to places normally reserved for Porsche Design, as it sports “a passion for individuality” and “furniture can be customized in the finishes that have made the British brand unique, from the most exquisite leathers and wood veneers.”
While fancy furnishings may not have the appeal of high-end motorcars to many folks, it’s great to see Bentley leveraging its talent elsewhere. In Miami, perhaps?
You heard that right. Bentley took a page from Aston Martin and Porsche Design and went full luxury-condo on us. We can only hope that Bentley’s bespoke furniture outfits the common areas of the building in Sunny Isles Beach, and that the car-friendly amenities of its competition transfers over to The Crewe Cabins.
Speaking of, because Bentley’s design staff grew 10 fold in the last 20 years, the folks in Crewe are planning up a new studio in the Bentley campus on Pyms Lane. Don’t expect an invitation to either facility’s grand opening events, but perhaps you can take comfort in the following photos celebrating 70 years of Bentley design.