DESIGN | The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest
The “problem” with being a brand like Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, is that everyone expects everything you make to be the best. The standard isn’t even comparable against what is, but also what could be; not “is it better than…” and more “is it that much better than…”. A good problem to have in some respects.
That’s why I find it completely understandable that Rolls-Royce took it upon themselves to create a product that — perhaps — nobody even thought was necessary in the first place. As I made my way to the Reims — the champagne region of France — to witness Rolls-Royce’s new creation, my mind was cast back to the first encounter I’d had with Rolls-Royce; it was the launch of their Phantom Series II back in 2012. One car in particular caught my attention, it had a cigar humidor in the glovebox; when opened, the humidor presented your choice cigar to you, be it a Cohiba or Montecristo, in a manner that almost felt like it was being hand delivered. Seemingly simple, unnecessary, but complete in tune with the logic of the Rolls-Royce owner. But how would they interpret the champagne experience?
I wouldn’t have to wait long for my answer, as we made our way to the private dining room of L’Assiette Champenoise, where Gavin Hartley, the Head of Bespoke Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars awaited us.
On a regal round table in the centre of the room rested a monolithic black box, about the size of a large briefcase. Elegant and modern in design, it boasted no clear protrusions or buttons. The “case” was far from ostentatious, but as impossible to ignore as the proverbial “Elephant in the room”. It had presence, without been overtly visually invasive.
Gavin reached down and touched the case on its side, and that’s when the transformation began. The best way I can describe it is like the unfurling of a robotic rose; an elegant combination of mechanics and theatre, smoothly executed as if by nature itself. It was the famed Rolls-Royce “magic carpet ride” reinterpreted—and it worked.
Seconds later, as smoothly as feather returning to earth, the theatrics came to an end. Introducing the Champagne Chest by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“The Champagne Chest is crafted for those that seek a heightened sense of occasion in an elegant, entertaining manner and offers the irresistible allure of gadgetry.”
~ Gavin Hartley, Head of Bespoke Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Given the nature of the Rolls-Royce owner, I don’t think they needed to explain the rationale for the Champagne Chest, but indeed there was one. Illuminated from the central bay, four hand blown champagne flutes present themselves to you, their layout and motion designed to evoke memories of a V12 engine. Even the Champagne Chest “chassis” itself drew parallels with their motor cars, made from machined aluminium and carbon fibre, with Natural Grain black leather embossed with the enigmatic Spirit of Ecstasy and Tudor Oak wood providing the outer.
From the sides of the Chest, two leather hammocks cradle one’s preferred choice of champagne, caviar or canapés. The thermal Champagne Coolers themselves are made from black anodised aluminium and carbon fibre proudly emblazoned with the ‘RR’ emblem, while ensuring your champagne is maintained at the optimum temperature.
As with all Rolls-Royce experiences, you can pretty much customise all the options on the chest, choosing materials to match your vehicle, or perhaps trading out the savoury options for a caviar configuration; two thermal caviar caissons, each large enough to accommodate a 30g tin.
While the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest has an obvious core function, I can imagine owners sat in a room by themselves, gazing upon the chest and repeatedly opening and closing it again and again, as that very process is calming — a thing of beauty in itself. Or maybe that’s just me.
The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest is available to acquire through Rolls-Royce dealerships, with prices starting from £37,000.00 excluding local taxes.