A digital and analog process lets guests experience a personalized design process.
—By Dave Pinter
Shopping for a Bentley isn’t quite like buying any other car. One of the main points of difference is the vast level of customization available for exterior paint colors and interior materials. For a customer, this is a daunting amount of choice. So Bentley opened a popup design studio in New York City to test an interactive process which creates color and finish combinations personalized to each customer.
Upon arrival, each guest was issued a RFID commissioning key which logged their design choices.
The first step involved interaction with a Mood Station. A display generated two random images from a bank of 200 and guests selected a preference with their key cards based on color, content and feeling. Each of the images was mapped to a graph differentiating between adrenaline, serenity, performance and comfort. The images were also coded with one of Bentley’s 60 paint colors. The Mood Stations had no text and were really easy and intuitive to use.
Once a set of images were selected, guests could review them on a 10ft x 16ft screen. Fitted with Leap Motion Technology, hand gestures controlled a fly around of the image cloud and an individual image could be zoomed in on with a forward hand movement. Following the review, guests could see where their images registered on a personality graph along with a starter color palette.
Nigel Ratcliffe, Exterior Designer at Bentley reviewed the selected images and generated some color exterior paint color combinations using a traditional car design technique with markers and ground pastels.
Interior material selections were narrowed including soft surfaces and accent stitching as well as hard surface wood or metal trim.
The final stop was merging all the choices on a special version of Bentley’s car configurator. The digital tool assigned the materials to a desired model and generated a spec sheet. The process gave guests a lot of control but also opened up potential for choices beyond what they may have already seen. Having the consultation time with a design professional was good to push beyond the expected into a more personalized vehicle but also kept a level of sophistication in mind avoiding a garish combination.
The temporary studio space in the Meat Packing District was selected to lure wealthy customers in who frequent the fashion boutiques and high-end restaurants in the area. A single Mulsanne was on display inside as well as Bentley’s handbag collection made with the same leather available on the interiors.
The Bentley Studio was a kind of test that may see implementation within dealerships. Lexus is set to open their next Intersect location in the same neighborhood. Whether Bentley see an opportunity for a more permanent stay for the Studio is something we’ll have to wait and watch for.