Bentley Motors’ artist-illustrated ‘Unifying Spur’ has diversity and inclusion embedded in its heart.
As European Diversity Month drew to a close in May, and Pride celebrations around the world were due to kick off, Bentley put out a statement, and a very visual one at that. The Unifying Spur is a uniquely-designed version of the iconic luxury sedan well known to Bentley’s customers and its fans, the Flying Spur.
Emblazoned with a colourful wrap by an in-house artist at Bentley, the Unifying Spur’s unique design captures the themes of love, progress and unity, and incorporates the nine Inclusive colours of the globally-recognised Progress flag.
A challenge was set to the Bentley Design team to create an automotive artwork that celebrates diversity in all its forms. In-house designer Rich Morris, who paints and sculpts in his spare time, rose to the challenge by creating a piece of four-wheeled art using the nine colours of the Progress flag. His design joins the words “Love is Love” through a single, unbroken line, that traces faces, dancing figures and shapes – representing the unifying power of humanity, regardless of race, creed or sexuality.
Working as a part of the Bentley Design team, Rich is involved in many special projects and design editions. As an artist, as well as designer, Rich brings a unique perspective and set of creative skills to each and every car he works on. Naturally, Rich was an obvious choice for Bentley, when looking at internal talent to create this bespoke car, for an important cause – and he rose to the challenge.
Rich Morris said: “As a big fan of the Beatles Bentley, minimalist design and bold art, I began playing around with some shapes and colours, sketching and doodling faces and human forms. The final work that was translated onto the car, was then finished in colourful acrylic. The single black line of the design traces enigmatic dancing figures that allow you to project your own thoughts and interpret the faces to be anyone, yet without representing any one single person or thing.”
He continues, “It was very important for me to use all of the colours from the new Progress flag, encompassing each and every person in our society, and diversity in all forms. I’ve tried to interpret these colours with the precision of any Bentley design, adjusting them to reflect the palette of our car interiors and exteriors, with the more muted tones as well as the rainbow of bright shades.”
A huge fan of the 1960s ‘Beatles Bentley’, Rich was able to draw inspiration from the bold colours of this iconic car, from the retro fashions of the period and from The Beatles’ influential music.
Anne Hoerner, Bentley’s Head of Diversity, Culture & Strategic Projects explains: “The Unifying Spur represents people from all walks of life, brings all groups together, without discrimination. At Bentley Motors, each and every one of us has a passion and a love for what we do and an emotional connection to the products that we build. As a statement of our diversity strategy this car is especially important because it physically embodies the bond that connects us all.”
Anne continues, “By encouraging our colleagues to be themselves both inside and outside work, we are empowering them to fulfil their dreams and love who they are and what they do. We celebrate those who can bring their authentic and true selves to the workplace, as we can only do our best, if we are all being our best self.”
The car launched at the same time as Bentley announced its five-step diversity and inclusion plan under the Beyond100 strategy, setting out its long-term business goals and targets relating to this important topic. The 101-year old company is going through unparalleled change on its journey towards a climate-positive future. Recognising the fundamental importance of diverse experiences and perspectives to drive creativity and innovation, Bentley aims to become the most diverse luxury car manufacturer in the world. To this end it has set a target of increasing diversity in management to 30 per cent by 2025. In an industry that is traditionally and currently skewed heavily towards a male workforce, this is a bold and important step for Bentley Motors, setting an example for their automotive peers.
Bentley’s five-step strategy focuses on outreach, recruitment, succession planning, culture and development. The early careers talent acquisition team will increase its focus on organisations with diverse intakes, while the recruitment of established hires will explore new talent pools. To ensure that all talent within the business is supported, succession planning will be reviewed to ensure early identification of diverse talent within the business. Development programmes will ensure that colleagues from all walks of life are able to grow and achieve their full potential.
The Unifying Spur follows on from 2020’s Bentley Pride car – a rainbow-striped Continental GT V8 Convertible, which debuted at Cheshire East Pride, at Bentley’s home in Crewe, and travelled around the country for various events including the virtual and Covid-safe Manchester Pride, usually attended by 170,000 people. The car was applauded wherever it went and brought smiles to the faces of people far and wide. The Unifying Spur for 2021 was born from its success. It means a huge amount to people across the Bentley business, but also signifies Bentley’s welcoming nature, representing the open arms of the brand to all existing and potential customers, future colleagues, and all fans of the iconic luxury automotive marque across the world.
Will art cars become a thing of Bentley’s future? We hope so…
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