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Bentley Lets Consumers Build Custom Cars

The luxury brand’s Visionary Experience blends art, technology, and psychology to generate a one-of-a-kind car customization journey.

Bentley's Mulsanne was parked in the middle of the pop-up. The flagship car is named after the Mulsanne Straight, which is the fastest stretch of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Photo: John Walder Photography

Bentley claimed a prime parking spot recently, setting up a pop-up space in New York’s meatpacking district as part of a marketing activation aimed at current and new customers. The luxury car company’s Visionary Experience, which took place from May 14 to 24 in Manhattan, allowed drivers to customize their future vehicles through a unique commissioning process.

“Bentley Studio elevates commissioning to a new level through a distinctive blend of art and technology. The Bentley Studio is designed to provoke inspiring design through a process that draws on customer’s passions and, with the support of Bentley designers, turn their inspiration into a reality,” said Lisa Churchill, corporate events manager for Bentley Motors.

First, guests were presented with a set of images at “mood stations” and asked to select the one that inspired them the most. Each of the 200 photographs—from scenic vistas to sporting activities—was assigned attributes (adrenaline versus serenity and performance versus comfort), along with one of 60 Bentley paint colors. As the guest selected images, a pattern emerged revealing the model and color preferences for their customized Bentley. The information was loaded onto individual R.F.I.D.-enabled key cards.

Guests were then able to view their collection on a large projection screen, with photos plotted on a matrix according to the embedded traits. The interactive experience allowed Bentley to tap into the customer's subconscious to offer a truly customized car with 1.3 billion possible combinations.

With their bespoke color palette in hand, customers consulted with designers to create a dealership configuration, complete with paint, interior, and veneer selections.

“Guests who visited the Bentley Studio often engaged in deep conversations with Bentley designers and ended up designing more personalized vehicles than they ever thought possible,” Churchill said.

The Bentley Studio pop-up, which echoed the look of the company’s factory in Crewe, England, with industrial decor and sleek furnishings, will be making stops in Los Angeles, Pebble Beach, California, Miami, and Aspen, Colorado, and is open to the public.

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