Bentley Motors Interior Design director Darren Dey gives us a first-hand look at 5 unique interior features from the Bentley Mulsanne.
1. What is your daily role as Head of Interior Design for Bentley Motors?
I’m responsible for all the surfaces and all the shapes you see inside the car – the total design. I work with a team of about 14 designers and we all develop every surface of the interior. I’ll be at Bentley now for 20 years.
2. Can you take us inside the process of interior design?
When it comes to Bentley, we’re all about authenticity and honesty and the very natural materials we work with. So I’m looking to create very beautiful and pure surfaces with charm and attention to detail, which really make the materials shout. So when you sit and the car and look around, you say “wow, these materials are amazing.” If we make them pure and super clean, super precise, they really sing.
3. What are the unique interior design elements of a Bentley?
There are many iconic elements; one of the main ones are these facilities – they are real, solid metal. They are very iconic and set up on the dash board on the four round vents. There are many other iconic elements, too. If you look inside the door handle release, you’ll feel the texture, which is also on the organ stops that push in and out and make the vents work. The knurling is a lovely finish you get that allows you to get good purchase on pieces that move. There are certain features that we like to make very strong. Also, in the Mulsanne, the wood runs all the way around the car, even behind you. It gives you this wonderful feeling of being enveloped in this material finish. Of course, the leather work is another strong element in our DNA – the way the seats are piped and fluted – these are all very strong features that makes our car very unique. We spend ages just tweeking things so that the overall car feels just naturally right.
4. How long does the interior design process take from start to finish?
We spend about two years developing the design as a clay model. We start with a sketch of the [Mulsanne] interior – this is a hand-drawn sheet of details. We spend a lot of time hand-drawing and sketching ideas out based on either historical references, or we look at influences such as watches, buildings, or all sorts of things which could be in fashion. But ultimately, we create fashion; so, we’re looking for inspiration to create the next big thing. We like to also pick up on details that have some historical reference and meaning. We’ve got such a rich history that it’s worth doing that.
5. What are your sources of inspiration?
When we were designing our SUV, we did a concept car and looked at a lot of equine and polo and different sports that customers might enjoy. So we might be looking at, say, hunting jackets, or guns or the knurling on the guns. Or we might look at the different boots that people might be wearing and look at how the leather works. We do draw inspiration from all sorts of sources. For instance, we have a little iPod drawer that is in the front of the Mulsanne. We were looking at the way that, when you go inside a jewelry shop, you open a little drawer with awesome beautiful rings or watches. We were trying to create that ambiance. Some elements we do come up with from previous Bentleys of the past. But there are all sorts of different inspiration.