ARTS & COLLECTIBLES
THE ART OF THE AUTOMOBILE
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa recently commissioned Rolls-Royce and Hermès to create a bespoke Phantom Oribe that takes inspiration from private jets, ancient ceramics, and the rich craft heritage of the two luxury brands.
Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur Yusaku Maesawa is no stranger to indulging his passions. In recent years, he has purchased a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat for $110.5 million, the most expensive painting ever sold by an American artist; spent $162,500 on outfits worn by K-Pop stars BTS; and is in the process of financing a week-long lunar expedition for eight civilians on SpaceX’s Starship in 2023. Most recently, he commissioned Rolls-Royce and Hermès to create a bespoke Phantom Oribe.
“Maezawa envisioned the car as a ‘land jet’, bringing the exclusivity of private air travel to the road,” reveals Alex Innes, Head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design. “Designed and handcrafted by a team of bespoke specialists at Rolls-Royce and Hermès, the car reflects the personality and passions of its owner.”
The striking two-tone exterior of the car is inspired by the green and cream glazes found on antique Oribe ware, a type of Japanese pottery collected by Maesawa. The upper part of the car is finished in Oribe Green, a bespoke colour created exclusively for the use of Maesawa that will also be used on a recently commissioned private jet, which the Phantom will be paired with to create one of the world’s most exclusive travel experiences.
“Our designers, material specialists and skilled craftspeople worked side-by-side with Hermes to utilise our traditions and techniques from our 117- year history,” says Innes. “ It was crucial that we perfectly captured the lustrous, deep-green glaze that characterises these 16th century ceramics as Maezawasan is a prominent collector.”
Alongside it’s one-of-a-kind finish, the Phantom Oribe features a host of other specially crafted features. Drawing on its equestrian heritage, Hermès finished the leather upholstery using stitching and edgepainting techniques originally employed by master saddlers. The wooden speaker frets are crafted from the same Open Pore Royal Walnut, which has been meticulously perforated to create a seamless finish; and the interior features Hermès ‘Toile H’ canvas on the door armrests, centre and rear consoles and, most notably, the signature headliner.
Perhaps one of the most impressive features, however, is the Phantom Gallery—a feature that was first launched in 2017 as a unique space that runs uninterrupted across the fascia and allows owners to exhibit art within the car itself. For the Phantom Oribe’s Gallery, Hermès commissioned a hand-painted artwork inspired by the luxury house’s famous horse motif and French illustrator Pierre Péron, who created many of the House’s most iconic scarf designs.
Given the level of bespoke craftsmanship found in the Phantom Orive, it’s no surprise that it took a team of more than 60 artisans more than three years to create. The cost, however, remains undisclosed—but given that a standard Phantom starts at $450,000 it can only be assumed that the price tag reflects its status as a truly one-of-a-kind automobile.
“This majestic Rolls-Royce Phantom demonstrates what is possible when talented people from two of the world’s great houses work closely together alongside a far-sighted, inspirational client like Maezawa-san,” says Innes. “It’s a meeting of minds, expertise, vision and skill that represents the very best of our respective craftspeople and capabilities.”