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May 15, 2020

The Complexity of Simplicity

Sina Maria Eggl is the designer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars but she is so much more than that! A job like this may be one of the most coveted in the world but it is not simply the job of a designer. In fact, we could call Sina a writer, an engineer, an artist, a poet, an orator, at times a mixologist and most recently even a horticulturalists. More on these curious job titles to follow.

We had the honour of talking with Sina during the lockdown period. With a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial design, she started at Rolls-Royce as an intern and in a quest to continuously redefine the content of Bespoke she stayed on at Rolls-Royce as the accessory designer, becoming an integral part of the team. “What I love at Rolls-Royce is that not only do you achieve perfection but also elegance. A huge part of my job is to chase elegance, to create elegance and to hopefully achieve elegance as well.” – Sina Maria Eggl.

We asked Sina what some of her most notable achievements were and we were expecting a large project, but in fact, it was her very first project – the design of a 15 piece cocktail hamper. To create this limited edition hamper, she had to go and do research in London bars speaking to barmen on a quest to find out “what makes the best cocktail in the world, what elements have to be inside and how you actually use them”. She goes on to explain the amount of consideration that went into the hamper from materials, for example, to ensure a non-toxic wooden cutting board, to the creation of delicious and relevant cocktail recipes. Sina’s talent extends beyond mere design. She was able to extract inspiration and direction out of London bar interviews and in a complete juxtaposition, apply this to a Rolls-Royce 15 piece Cocktail hamper. She said “I’ve experienced customers that have this exact hamper in their living room and didn’t go for any other. They used this one and watching customers select your product is incredibly cool to experience.”

Besides the cocktail hamper, Sina has some other notable achievements including her involvement in the mesmerising Phantom Gallery and the Cullinan Black Badge edition. More about these to follow.

Rolls-Royce is known for its meticulous choice of materials and colours. They have been able to break the boundaries of what truly defines a luxury vehicle. Sina explained how it all comes from inspiration in a particular moment. The team constantly travels around the world to do their research and talk to architect/designers from other countries. From design, furniture and art show to fashion shows, different cultures and even social media and YouTube, the team experiences it all. “I always like to learn about foreign etiquette and think it is very interesting” Sina explained. “We learn a lot about many cultures and about materials and material mixes that have special meaning for that one particular culture. So the inspiration can come from either the light of the moment or a specific element that inspires you. Even if we don’t touch on it for two years, a project may come that reminds you of it and you can try to recreate that moment. So it’s constant, constant research. Sometimes you find an answer and you still don’t have a question for it.”

COVID-19 has affected the entire world, but it has not slowed down the team at Rolls-Royce. Their homes have now turned into design studios and thanks to Skype, all departments are able to stay in contact which is of utmost importance to ensure every element fits together seamlessly. Sina explained to us how she grabbed as much of the materials she had around her as soon as they were told to work from home and how it has resulted in them working a bit more simply with what is around them. But the question now is, where does Rolls-Royce go from here? COVID-19 gave them confirmation of their previous deliberations on simplicity and minimalism. “True luxury is a lot more subtle and in a post-COVID-19 world, we anticipate this desire for a reduction and modest celebration of materiality to become even more relevant. The simplicity, I think, is incredibly complex, but it allows the ability to think about what you really want.”

The Phantom Gallery

If you have never heard of the iconic Rolls-Royce Phantom Gallery, it is definitely something worth investigating. A pure application of glass runs across the fascia, uninterrupted, of the greatest luxury vehicle in the world, the Phantom. This is an innovation that furthers Rolls-Royce’s unparalleled Bespoke vision and mastery of materials and craft.

The Gallery was created to let customers have a custom piece of art in their car. Sina explained “We figured out that a lot of our customers are using art in their private jet or superyacht as well as in their homes and there is no possibility, so far, for them to really express those delicate art pieces in a car. We wanted to create this beautiful canvas for customers to curate their personal piece of art in combination with our excellent supply or artists.”

The design team was tasked with using materials not usually used in a car and what they managed to achieve is breath-taking. They found artists from around the world to create a collection of unique and artistic creations, free from the constraints of automotive design, meticulously researched and made from the best and finest materials.

For example, the collaboration with Nymphenburg (which Sina worked on) called Immortal Beauty. This displays a range of roses, showing the varying stages of the life of this rose, with some of the most elaborate blossoms consisting of up to 80 individual elements freely shaped by hand. She further explained the elaborate process of the project. After deciding on a flower, the next question, of course, is what type of flower? “We decided to go for an English rose, which is which stands for English beauty. And again, exactly what we find in our brand. Rolls Royce is an English rose as well.” They wanted a special rose and therefore decided to breed a rose especially for this project which meant many hours in wellies on a rose breeding farm. The chosen rose was a beautiful white colour with many large minimalist petals and powerful size. A new porcelain formula was developed for this which alone lasted three months in order to create porcelain as fine as the petal of the rose itself and to be able to burn the black porcelain together.

The Phantom Gallery Collection consists of 7 intricate and completely unique designs, each created by a different artist or master artesian.

• Digital Soul by Thorsten Franc is an artistic interpretation of its Patron’s DNA, plated in nearly 50g of 24-carat gold, this piece of artwork ensures a unique experience for every person depending on their physical position in the Phantom as well as the strength of the sun’s rays or the soft glow of the carefully inserted stage lights on the gold.

• Immortal Beauty by Nymphenburg as discussed already is a delicate porcelain display of an English rose’s life cycle.

• Whispered muse by Helen Amy Murray is a dual illusion from sculptured silk applique providing a mesmerising, linear aesthetic. On your first look, a serene landscape appears from a delicate organic form. However, when you look closer, a subtle draped female stars to emerge – the wing of the elusive Spirit of Ecstasy.

• A Moment in Time by Based Upon. The process of making this artwork is almost as beautiful as the final product. A swath of silk was pulled through a tank of water, weighted, suspended and captured on camera. After analysis, it was remastered into the clay. A malleable wax sculpture was then reworked to optimise space in The Gallery. The final piece was machined from a solid billet of aluminium and polished to accentuate the curvature of the alluded fabric.

• Astrum by Richard Fox shows a starburst coming from a centrally placed diamond, encased in platinum. Each solid silver starburst spear is filed, soldered, shaped and hand-polished, has been created to carry magnificent amethysts, giving a precious jewel-like quality. The backing is engraved with a guilloche effect, to provide visual depth and show the curvature of the dashboard. A rich amethyst lacquer, named Violet de Nuit, is used to reflect and intensify the colour of the stones carried at the ends of the spears.

• Iridescent Opulence by Nature Squared shows an array of beautiful, powerful feathers, hand-sewn onto an open pore fabric originating from the clock. The beauty of the rich, vibrant colours provides an opulent and decadent interior.

• Autumn Pallet by Liang Yuanwei is a painting masterpiece. With brushstrokes that look almost sculptured, her work perfectly captures the impression and texture of the fabric. Although the strokes look seemingly random, the more you look at this exquisite and meditative scene, the more you find.

The Cullinan Black Badge

“Black Badge” reflects the desires of a distinct group of Rolls-Royce clients: men and women who take risks, break rules and build success on their own terms. With the first Black Badge vehicle released in 2016, and growing since then, the Black Badge family has now become known to define taste patterns of a new generation of super-luxury consumer.

The Cullinan itself was created to satisfy demand from younger, more adventurous clients. It is immediately becoming the greatest super-luxury SUV in the world. By combining luxury in its purest form with genuine practicality and off-road capability, it promises an experience that is effortless everywhere. Rolls-Royce has yet again gone above and beyond by introducing the Black Badge Cullinan: the darkest and most urban statement of Black Badge yet.

Sina gave us insight into what the Black Badge Cullinan entails. “It’s that great combination of clean big surfaces with this really detailed three-dimensional carbon fibre that we used and then this really vibrant and strong Forge yellow. It’s absolutely unapologetic in elegance and it was designed with true perfection till the very last element” and of course, it also includes a hint of romance. The car features incredible shooting stars throughout the roof and headliners. The Starlight Headliner intensifies the cabin’s ambience by casting a low light over the lavish leather seats. Presented in fine Black leather, handwoven with over 1000 fibre optic lights, it is a true reflection of the sky at night and incorporates eight brilliant white shooting stars that dart at random predominantly over the front occupants, subtly acknowledging the motor car’s owner-driver appeal.

The Forge Yellow colour was created specifically for this car. It was inspired by the beauty of lava stone. “We looked into the volcanoes, their incredibly strong power and all that beautiful hot nightline that is coming out of the volcano. We just love that combination of black and the extremely vibrant yellow and we found that is exactly what this incredibly big car deserves.” They wanted to express the power of the colour and thought it was the perfect striking colour to work with. Together with the all-new Forge Yellow alloy wheels, their signature high gloss black exterior shows off the sleek confidence of the car and has left room for yet another addition, the red brake calibre.

The Black Badge Cullinan 6.75-litre V12 engine now delivers increased power (600PS) and torque (900NM) as well as a re-engineered drivetrain and chassis to ensure enhanced dynamic performance.

Although Sina has had many influential moments on her journey, a powerful one that stood out to her was the collaboration with Nature Squared on the Phantom Gallery for the beautiful Iridescent Opulence. In this amazing piece of artwork, 3000 iridescent tail feathers were individually handpicked, shaped and staged so the sheen and rich hue are visible. “We wanted to go with the raw material. We didn’t enhance anything, it’s just the raw beauty of that feather and we staged it in a circular way around the clock, which is the heart of the Gallery, covered in shells. It’s absolutely fragile”.

“It’s incredibly important for us to stay positive and inspired and in difficult times like these that we are in can threaten creativity massively. As tragic as it all is I think we all have a duty, and you guys are doing that, with spreading these messages of beauty, passion, love and smiles.”- Sina Eggl

Written by Nicole Capper for Luxuria Lifestyle South Africa