Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, has announced the three winning designers who will participate in the inaugural Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge. Bi Rongrong, Ghizlane Sahli and Scarlett Yang were chosen by a panel of international jury made up of leading design world individuals. The jury consists of Anders Warming, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Yoon Ahn, Creative Director of AMBUSH and Director of Jewellery at Dior Men; Tim Marlow, Chief Executive and Director at the Design Museum, London; and Sumayya Vally, Founder and Principal at Counterspace Studio, Johannesburg.
In its official statement, the jury said: “The process of selecting three designers for the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge was an inspiring one. We were delighted with the range and quality of submissions, leaving us feeling optimistic about the future of textile design. The work of the nominated designers demonstrates a compelling mix of experimental and traditional; hands-on process and industrial technology; as well as nuanced design thinking and the capacity to respond intelligently to a brief. The Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge is about celebrating the bridge between tradition and innovation, and all the designers we selected understand how humans are connected to our surroundings. The three winners also bring forth ideas that touch deeply on important challenges of our time.”
The Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge is a new biennial initiative that invites emerging design visionaries to create unique works inspired by Rolls-Royce and the Spirit of Ecstasy, that sculptural figurine that adorns the bonnet of every Rolls-Royce motor car. Each edition of the Challenge will focus on a different medium and related field of practice.
The 2022 edition of the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge will focus on textile, challenging participants to explore the possibilities of material and push the boundaries of textile design.
“We are delighted to announce the three talented designers chosen to participate in Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme’s first Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge. Reviewing the design proposals was a fascinating process and we were presented with ideas that were forward-thinking and surprising. At Rolls-Royce, innovation informs every aspect of our design process, and this is what really stood out in the proposals of the three chosen designers. We look forward to supporting Bi Rongrong, Ghizlane Sahli and Scarlett Yang, and in bringing their designs to life,” said Anders Warming, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Shanghai-based artist and designer, Bi Rongrong, collects images of architecture and ornaments from urban settings, and through manual or digital processing, transforms them into painting, collage, fabrics, video, and site-specific installation. She has collaborated with important art institutions including Centre for Heritage Arts & Textile in Hong Kong, Shanghai Museum of Glass, UCCA Lab, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, and Vanguard Gallery. Her public art projects include, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\ Architecture, Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, and Cass Sculpture Foundation (UK).
Her proposal for the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge builds on her research into the “urban skins” of cities, combined with her practice of layering diverse materials with LED animation. Bi interprets “urban skins” as the surfaces and spaces of a city, for example the ornamental patterns carved on a building, the text from posters on walls, or the vegetation growing on the edges of pavements. Her design will feature imagery sourced from “urban skins” relevant to the Spirit of Ecstasy, incorporating metal and fabric, taking inspiration from materials used in the creation of a Rolls-Royce motor car.
Ghizlane Sahli is a textile artist and designer who lives and works in Marrakech. She reuses and recycles materials in her work, drawing attention to critical environmental issues while exploring the beauty of everyday objects. Sahli works with the help of local artisan women, using their ancestral techniques to create her contemporary ideas. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is part of many important collections, such as the V&A in London, the MACAAL in Marrakech and the Fondation H in Paris.
Her proposal for the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge continues the use of recycled material in her practice, elevating these materials by showcasing their potential for functionality and beauty. Sahli will create a suspended sculpture made from recycled plastic, combined with white silk and gold thread, which will be configured to convey qualities of the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.
Scarlett Yang is a multi-disciplinary designer based in London who focuses on sustainable innovation, biomateriality and virtual fashion. She explores the intersection of fashion, design, and technology in her work. A graduate of Central Saint Martins in London UK, her practice speculates the life cycles of fashion textiles for a biodegradable and digital solution to the current environmental emergencies. Using algae extract and silk cocoon protein, she created a glass-like dress that grows over time and can decompose in water within 24 hours. Yang’s work has been exhibited internationally, from the Kyoto D-Lab, CentroCentro Madrid to the 2021 London Design Biennale.
Yang’s proposal for the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge continues her investigation into hybridising hand-made craft and industrial technology. The design will incorporate a groundbreaking new material created from algae extract and silk cocoon protein, developed by Yang for the project, resulting in a dynamic textile work.
The three winners will be invited to the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, where they will meet the marque’s master craftspeople before completing their creations. The final works will be unveiled later this year, before proceeding on an international tour. You can stay up-to-date by following @rollsroycemuse.