March 27, 2006 It seems logical that prestige automotive designers should be the go-to-guys when you wish to create an ambience of luxury – they’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s the key difference that enables a few extra zeros to be added to the price. We saw it recently when BMW Group Designworks was used by Airbus to design a luxury aircraft interior and now we’ve seen Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employed to make a special captain’s chair for HMS Illustrious – the flagship of the Royal Navy. The chair, which is appropriately finished in the finest navy blue leather with sea shell-coloured piping, was handcrafted by Rolls-Royce engineers and craftspeople at the company’s world headquarters in Goodwood. It is based on the front seat originally designed for the best-selling Rolls-Royce Phantom and has been specially adapted for its sea-faring role. The chair was officially presented by Rolls-Royce chairman, Ian Robertson, and a group of Rolls-Royce staff to Captain Bob Cooling and his crew in Portsmouth yesterday, as part of the ship’s refurbishment.
The interlinked Rolls-Royce monogram is embroidered on both sides of the headrest and specially modified arm-rests have been fitted. The seat has been engineered to allow a full range of electrical adjustment to ensure optimum comfort at all times. A wood veneered table features in the rear of the chair and a plaque has also been fitted to mark the occasion.
Ian Robertson said: "It is an honour and a pleasure for all of the Goodwood team to have made this special chair for such a magnificent aircraft carrier. It is a thrill for all of us to see it take pride of place on the bridge." Captain Cooling remarked: "On behalf of HMS Illustrious, I am delighted to take ownership of this unique chair and secure our links with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. It marks an important relationship between the Royal Navy and the wider Rolls-Royce community and demonstrates the enduring strength of such a British marque."