Judges and winners discuss highlights from Dezeen and Bentley’s Future Luxury Retail Competition in this video, which was filmed on a trip to Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, UK.
The competition, which attracted over 145 contestants from more than 33 countries around the world, invited architects and designers to explore what luxury retail spaces could look like in 2030 and beyond.
Three finalists were chosen as the winners and were invited to Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, along with receiving a cash prize.
“Bentley is a 104-year-old brand,” said Chris Cooke, head of design collaborations at Bentley, who was also a judge for the competition. “For the last 77 years, our home has been right here in Crewe.”
“We felt this would be the perfect place for our finalists to discuss their projects and allow them to see firsthand how our vehicles are made,” he continued.
Through the competition, Dezeen and Bentley aimed to explore the momentous changes occurring in the automotive and luxury industries. Car brands are moving away from the previously ubiquitous internal combustion engine in favour of electrification, while manufacturers are rethinking traditional dealership models entirely.
Bentley, which is known for luxury motoring, craftsmanship and technical innovation, is leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to dissolve the distinctions between the physical and digital. This aligns with its commitment to sustainability and full electrification of its entire range by 2030.
Against this backdrop, the competition sought to discover forward-thinking and compelling visions for both digital and physical luxury retail experiences of the future, within and beyond the automotive sector.
The first-place winner of the competition was Finnish design agency Ultra for its proposal called Bentley Intercontinental Pavilion.
The concept envisioned invite-only, temporary pavilions situated in select locations around the world that would showcase models from an imagined range of Bentley cars called Intercontinental.
Each pavilion would be designed to reflect the distinct context of its location and would be built by local craftspeople using local materials.
Customers invited to the pavilion corresponding to their desired model’s origin would collaborate with local artisans to make final selections on the details, materials and finishes of the car, making use of locally sourced materials.
An augmented reality (AR) experience within the pavilion would facilitate customers in envisioning their customised vehicle.
Second place was awarded to Daniel Czyszczoń for BExperience, which envisions autonomous mobile showrooms driving to customers’ locations, negating the need for physical showroom visits.
Specially designed test vehicles would be equipped with digital displays showcasing an array of materials and finishes for customers to test without the need for physical samples.
The autonomous feature of the vehicles would enable customers to seamlessly test drive the car while journeying to different locations, providing an expeditious alternative to current retail models.
Third place was awarded to Meredith O’Shaughnessy for The Crossing, which would see disused car parks in urban settings repurposed into luxury retail and entertainment spaces.
As a nod to the building’s previous function as a car park, The Crossing would feature a meandering driving track that envelops the building and extends onto the roof, mirroring the spiral ramps commonly found in car parks.
The driving track would enable visitors to be able to choose from various settings to simulate picturesque landscapes using projection mapping, enabling customers to envisage driving on scenic routes.
Narrowly missing out on a place in the top three, V10 co-founders Luca Rizzi Brignoli and Fang Zhou’s Bentley Moon Rally 2030 proposal was lauded by the judges for its imaginative lunar experience.
The concept envisaged 100 drivers competing in a qualifying race at Bentley’s HQ, with the top 10 advancing to the Bentley Moon Rally.
The finalists would enjoy a luxury experience with custom space suits, lunar travel gear and personalised gourmet food.
A selection of guests would be invited to the race on the moon, while AR/VR headsets would provide an immersive experience for enthusiasts back on Earth.
Although the judges felt the Bentley Moon Rally concept wasn’t feasible for 2030, they highly commended the ambition behind the idea.
The judging panel consisted of visualisation artist Charlotte Taylor, Halleroed co-founder Ruxandra Halleröd and Parisian concept store Colette co-founder Sarah Andelman.
They were joined by head of design collaborations at Bentley Motors Chris Cooke and Dezeen editorial director Max Fraser.
The judges ultimately selected Bentley Intercontinental Pavilion by Ultra as the overall winner of the competition.
Ultra received a top prize of £15,000 for its winning proposal, while Daniel Czyszczoń received £10,000 for his BExperience concept and Meredith O’Shaughnessy received £5,000 for The Crossing.
A selection of 15 innovative proposals were shortlisted by the judges, which was published on Dezeen in August.
Find out more about the Future Luxury Retail Design Competition ›
Automotive models shown in the imagery are not associated with Bentley.
The Future Luxury Retail Design Competition is a partnership between Dezeen and Bentley. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.