The Phantom Syntopia, a collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Dutch fashion designer and haute couturière Iris van Herpen, has been unveiled. Based on the Phantom Extended, the vehicle is the most technically complex commission the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective has ever undertaken. Following four years of continuous development, the model is now complete.
Taking its name from Iris van Herpen’s 2018 collection, the Phantom Syntopia was designed using the principles of biomimicry, an art inspired by patterns and shapes found in nature. Much like the clothing collection, the Phantom Syntopia aims to represent fluid motion in solid materials through its ‘Weaving Water’ theme.
The Phantom Syntopia’s interior suite was co-created by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective and Iris van Herpen, with certain elements handcrafted by Rolls-Royce craftspeople, and others by Iris van Herpen’s team. Other interior features were created in Iris van Herpen’s Amsterdam atelier, alongside the designer’s Haute Couture garments.
Upon opening the coach doors and the vehicle, the eyes are drawn to the Weaving Water Starlight Headliner, crafted using a single sheet of leather. Precise symmetrical cuts reveal a silver liquid metal texture made from woven nylon fabric underneath, giving the headliner a 3D appearance.
The headliner is finished in 162 petals made of glass organza, applied over a 300 hour period by members of Iris van Herpen’s Couture team. Furthermore, 187 of the 995 fiberoptic stars in the headliner were individually placed by hand alongside the artwork, illuminating sequentially from the rear and moving to the front. The entire headliner involved nearly 700 hours of collective work.
A design found on the picnic tables and the passenger panel just below the Gallery mirrors the Weaving Water artwork on the hood. The motif was achieved by combining multiple coats of paint and lacquer containing different quantities of glass particles. Initially, the surfaces were covered with a black paint mixed with 0.9% glass particles. The Weaving Water motif then had a clear coat mixed with 1.4% of shimmer applied –a complex process which took more than three weeks to complete.
Drawing inspiration from an era where a driver’s seat was trimmed in hardwearing leather and the rear seats in luxurious fabrics, the front seats of the Phantom Syntopia have been finished in Magic Grey leather, while the rear seats are upholstered in a specially created silk-blend fabric. This features a pattern which resembles the patterns cast by light reflecting on water at night. The seats are quilted with a Weaving Water motif, inspired by a tufting technique often employed in fine furniture-making in which embroidery is applied to the reverse side of the textile.
“For this special collaboration I was inspired by the concept of ‘Weaving Water’ and transformed the sense of being in movement into an immersive experience of fluidity inside the Phantom,” explained Iris van Herpen. “I wanted this to become a state-of-the-art experience being overwhelmed by the forces of nature. The powerful movement of the Phantom is woven into the shifting three-dimensional waves inside the car to embody the ingenuity of nature.
“From the very beginning, this truly was a meeting of minds: two luxury houses that share the innovative vision and ambition to transcend the boundaries of luxury design,” explained Gavin Hartley, head of bespoke design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Together, we further explored the potential of Phantom as a perfect canvas for individualization. Phantom Syntopia literally takes Rolls‑Royce interior design into a new dimension with its immersive, sculptural elements, reinterpreting the elusive fragility of nature’s forms in a perfectly engineered reality.”