designed for the Continental GT and GTC, the Diamond-in-Diamond concept adds a
more sporting look to the cars’ interior, alongside the other elements of the
Mulliner Driving Specification: 22” lightweight forged alloy wheels,
embroidered Bentley emblems, additional veneer options, a jewelled-finish fuel
filler, sports pedals and indented leather headliner.
new quilting interpretation, inspired by the Diamond-in-Diamond technique is
now being rolled out for Bentley’s new Flying Spur, launched in 2019. The new
design features an elegant series of ever-lengthening diamonds tumbling down
the seat, in precise yet seemingly random formation – this new technique uses
the same machinery as the original Diamond-in-Diamond pattern.
redesigning the quilting for the Continental GT and GTC, Bentley designers were
aiming to create something that could not easily be replicated. Bentley’s
discerning customers are always looking for something unique and special, with
depth to the craftsmanship – a concept that is hard to copy ensures this.
Diamond-in-Diamond Quilting concept cannot, therefore, be mass produced, and
requires specialist skill and bespoke machinery to execute. The concept
features a floating diamond within a main grid of larger diamonds. Unlike more
simple or traditional quilting designs, the Diamond-in-Diamond requires more
than just a simple sewing machine to complete the pattern, and cannot be
achieved by hand. Specialist machine embroidery is employed, with a twofold
result: solving the problem of how to achieve this complex pattern, as well as
adding a new process that brings extra value in the highest level of
visible appearance of the Diamond-in-Diamond stitching is inherently shinier
than the classic running stitch used in Bentley’s original quilting techniques
and other forms of embroidery and stitching. The diamond stitches have a
3-dimensionality due to the quality of thread – the diamonds ooze luxury.
Diamond in the Rough
designers are always looking for balance. A diamond, or rhombus in Euclidean
geometry, is a simple, universally recognised shape consisting of four
equal-length diagonal sides. It stands as an emblem of Bentley’s signature
design language, appealing in its simplicity and a playful shape for Bentley
designers to work with. It is also reminiscent of Bentley’s iconic diamond
knurling, seen throughout so much of its recent design history.
Bentley Interior Designer Louise McCallum was tasked to redesign the quilting
for the Continental GT and Continental GT Convertible, a twist on Bentley’s
existing use of diamond patterns seemed a good place to start.
recalls the development of the new quilting design: “It was seamless from start
to finish, a really pleasurable process. The idea really drove itself along.”
she says. “The Diamond-in-Diamond concept is intrinsically Bentley, and it is
simple. It offers the potential for a multitude of colour options and the size
of the diamonds can be altered, we can therefore see a future for this design
as we can continue to freshen it up and innovate.”
Bentley made its first prototype, the team attempted to individually tie off
every single diamond by hand, using a simple sewing machine. This proved to be
so labour-intensive and time-consuming that to continue to create this on a regular
basis proved unfeasible. A new machine was essential…
set about commissioning the bespoke design of a vast new embroidery machine
with a digitally-led internal system - an exciting new investment for the
factory site in Crewe.
McCallum explains: “Process engineers in Bentley’s manufacturing department
were all very on board with the challenge and enjoyed the chance to define a
new machine, especially for the Diamond-in-Diamond concept.”
the ability to tie off each diamond shape individually, the stitches created by
the high-tech machine run fluidly with each shape. The machine is huge and can
complete all areas of quilting in one go, incorporating a combination of
technologies to form a complex web of running stitches. The machine can hold an
entire ‘car set’ at one time (including every single quilted panel of the car
interior), allowing it all to be sewn in unison. This ensures continuity and
eliminates the chance of any minute colour discrepancies between different
rolls of thread.
computer input allows for complete flexibility on the shape and size of the
diamonds. By hand, many different processes would be required to achieve the
same effect and the diamonds would never be perfectly aligned to each square of
the balanced grid they are set within. Like all aspects of Bentley’s
exceptional craftsmanship, the result appears effortless, despite the complex
level of detail behind the design.
machine embroiders on a large scale, allowing for expansion and contraction of
the leather. It is designed to fit every single colour of thread to allow for
any colour combination under the rainbow. The endless possibilities mean that
the technology is future-proof and able to cater to any new ideas conceived in
the coming years. Customers find this level of personalisation allows them to
make individualised choices when curating their new, dream car.
An Extraordinary Design Journey
bringing the Diamond-in-Diamond concept to life on the drawing board and on
leather samples was straightforward, executing the quilting within the car
interior posed more of a challenge.
a design is stitched into a piece of leather the surface shrinks as the
quilting pulls the material away to form a mound, or ‘island’ as it is known by
Bentley. This affects how each diamond must be spaced and the pattern needs to
be bigger and smaller in certain places to strike balance. This diamond-shaped
‘island’ literally floats in a sea of leather creating a comfortable, soft
the placing of the Diamond-in-Diamond pattern across the seats and door panels
also provided its own design hurdles. The goal was to create a pattern that
appears subtly elegant and perfectly balanced from any angle and to ensure a
uniformity across all four seats. Despite many differences in the proportions,
the types of head rest, among other things, the front and rear seats of a car
all have to be designed in one go to make sure the design works throughout the
car. Many different options were tested, adjusting the proportion, size and
placing of each diamond fractionally each time until the perfect balance was
achieved. The door panels and around the door handles proved particularly
Head of Interior Design Darren Day comments: “It was a matter of trial and
error. The art is actually ensuring that people don’t notice things at a first
impact of the Diamond-in-Diamond Quilting on Bentley’s overall design ethos has
been huge. It has opened up the possibility of more flexible design when it
comes to quilting, moving away from a more traditional style (straight fluted
lines on panels, created using simple sewing machines) towards a more
free-thinking approach that is digitally processed and digitally led. The
Diamond-in-Diamond Quilting will form a stitch in time in Bentley’s rich design
and manufacturing history.
July 2019, Bentley launched the EXP 100 GT: a vision for the future of the
brand. This concept car contains elaborate quilting beginning with a grid of
uniform stitching, flowing into a random pattern of embroidery, inspired by the
Mulliner Driving Specification for the new Flying Spur also features a new
diamond quilting design that uses a similar technique and the same machinery as
the Diamond-in-Diamond, and has been inspired by this pattern.
For the discerning customer
of customers are now opting for the Mulliner Driving Specification in their
Continental GT and GTC’s, which includes the Diamond-in-Diamond Quilting.
colourways available are limitless, allowing Bentley to cater to all tastes -
from a subtle shade of Portland or Beluga, to varying tones of one colour in
gradient across the car, or even a rainbow of different colours for the bolder
customers will always seek something unique and the Mulliner Driving
Specification, including the Diamond-in-Diamond Quilting, caters to this in an