Debuting at this year’s Design Miami is esteemed British automotive brand Bentley's new art and design initiative, Bentley Elements, which unveiled its first commission in a planned series of adventurous artist collaborations.
The initiative, conceived by creative directors Duncan Campbell and Charlotte Rey of branding agency Campbell-Rey, seeks to ‘bridge the physical and abstract elements of the car’s construction with the values of the brand and the elemental features of the natural landscape that the car inhabits’. The duo, who specialise in consultancy for heritage brands, have mapped out a programme of collaborations that will result in a new original commission from a craftsperson or artist being produced each year.
To kick start the creative process, Campbell-Rey ventured to the Bentley factory in Crewe, England, where they were inspired by the neon-lit vehicle audit bays in which the cars are inspected prior to delivery. As a result, the duo invited Italian artist Massimo Uberti to create an installation based around light for the inaugural Elements piece.
Uberti, who is known for creating dreamlike light installations using neon tubes, visited the Crewe factory before beginning work on the project. 'This installation represents the union between Bentley's innovation in engineering and technology, combined with the highest levels of craftsmanship, which I had the opportunity to appreciate when speaking with the craftspeople in the factory,' says Uberti. 'In their work, I recognised the creative spirit of an artist.'
Echoing the stark light of Bentley’s audit bays, the Milan-based artist used his trademark neon tubing to create a gravity-defying outline of a room inhabited by a table and chair that lit up its dark surroundings. The composition, Uberti explains, is representative of the craftsman’s atelier: 'Here you can find architectural elements that recall classic industrial structures with the slanted roof, low profile and the horizontal window. The working creative table speaks of ideas for the future, while the renaissance proportions of the entrance arch reference the past.'