► When car designers go off piste
► The best non-automotive merchandise
► Gadgets and more from car designers
Car designers are an innovative bunch - you'll struggle to visit a studio at any car maker around the world and not find it stuffed with non-automotive objects. Both items of desire, inspiration and, often, objects they've designed themselves. Here we pore over some of the best gadgets and merchandise that bears little relation to their four-wheeled products.
Rolls-Royce Champagne chest
Rolls-Royce’s engineers are at it again; this time they’ve created a bespoke chest exclusively for champagne and caviar. It’s another solution that solves a problem about 0.005% of people have, but it does look rather good. And to be fair, on a Venn diagram of Rolls-Royce owners and people who need Champagne chests, there’s probably quite a lot of overlap.
As you’d expect there’s Tudor Oak wood, stainless steel, natural-grain leather and carbonfibre featured. A caviar configuration adds two cassions and two Mother-of-Pearl spoons.
One more thing, we did ask, and it turns out you’ll be able to buy one of these even if you’ve not got a Rolls-Royce on your drive. The catch? It’s cost you £37,000 – the same price as a Mercedes-AMG A35, a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR – or a Honda Civic Type R with change for a decent bar tab...
Rolls-Royce Fabergé eggs...
As luxury items go, the Rolls-Royce Fabergé egg sounds expensive - and is. The two famous luxury brands have teamed up to build the Spirit of Ecstasy Fabergé Egg - a one-off item that nestles the mascot inside a contemporary eggshell. Seven craftsmen and women made the egg from rose gold vanes and 10 carats of white diamonds; the egg will be shown at Goodwood and then the Fabergé store in London this Christmas.
Did you know there was a world flip-flop day? Nor did we. But supercar giant McLaren does and they celebrated in style by getting all the staff at the Woking HQ to don the new limited-edition McLaren flip-flop, designed in partnership with Gandys. There's substance to this partnership: the two brands are donating all profits to a new children's home in Brazil run by Orphans for Orphans. It'll be painted in McLaren's colours of orange and blue - just like the flip-flops. What's the link? F1 cars' new Halo head protection device is said to mimic the shape of a flip-flop...
The Lamborghini sideboard
You know if it's furniture and design fashion week that you're bound to see some car-related madness pop up. And at this week's Salone del Mobile 2018, Lamborghini came up trumps with this new sideboard. They've teamed up with designer Karim Rashid to make a range of furniture. 'Each piece is characterised with shapes reflecting Lamborghini super sports cars design, as well as fine workmanship and the quality of natural and genuine materials, such as walnut, solid wood and black leather.' Be sure to put your cards on the table by sounding off in the comments below...
The AMG GT R-inspired bike
What is it with car makers and teaming up with bicycle brands?! Mercedes has partnered up with Rotwild to create this: the Rotwild R.S2 'Beast of the Green Hell' bike. It's a handbuilt racing bicycle, which ustilises a carbonfibre frame, 29-inch Crankbrothers Cobalt 11 wheels and a load of Shimano running gear. Yours for 7109 euros, or roughly £6332. Ouch.
The £16k Aston Martin bicycle
Aston Martin has teamed up with upmarket bicycle manufacturer Storck to create this: the Storck Fascenario.3 Aston Martin Edition. Built from carbonfibre, it weighs just 5.9kg but costs a staggering £15,777 - a lot of money for not a lot of metal. However, with wireless gear-shifting technology, a full nanocarbon frame and only 107 being made, it does have some two-wheeled appeal…
Mazda's Soul of Motion perfume
From the brand that brought us the slinky Kodo design language, annoying Zoom-Zoom ads and the latest Soul of Motion naff marketing tags comes this: Mazda's own unisex fragrance (above). Created with perfume specialist Shiseido, the eau de toilette combines woody notes, leather, rose, lime and blackcurrant and is packaged in a bottle designed to reflect the Japaneseness of an MX-5 or CX-3’s design. Can you smell anything else from this publicity stunt? Yep, us too…
Renault's F1-inspired teapot
When Renault entered Formula One in 1977, its cars wore a distinctive yellow livery and often returned to the pits steaming and whistling thanks to over-worked turbos. Team boss Ken Tyrrell dubbed it 'the yellow teapot' and the nickname stuck for La Regie's F1 cars. So what better way of celebrating four decades in top level motorsport than launching an actual yellow teapot? Designed by the company's design team and sporting the same yellow paint as the RS17 racer, it's sure to deliver a speedy cuppa.
The Lamborghini boombox
Can you put any more angles on a Bluetooth speaker? This is the Lamborghini Esavox from iXoost - a massive boombox with enough speakers to blow out your windows and plenty of Lambo design touches. The on/off button is operated by a starter button switch a la the Huracan and the quad exhaust pipes look like they've been lopped clean off an Aventador SV. Available in four different colours and steal at £21,900 a pop.
The Ferrari office chairs
'Neither a car seat nor a pure piece of furniture or design' claims the press bumf, but these are definitely office chairs that have been designed to within an inch of their life. These come to you from Ferrari Design and have been sculpted from carbon fibre or 'alutex', which is a blend of aluminium and glass fibre. Two shapes are available; the Executive seat has the shorter backrest, while the taller President version is for the high flyers of office life.
The Bentley double bed
For years Bentley has made pampering cars that are the ultimate soothers. But for 2017 it's taken things to the next level - by making an actual bed you can sleep in. It's part of the Bentley Home collection, which includes this Eastgate double bed (above) designed by the architect Carlo Colombo. Crewe hails its 'posed volumes and elegant design,' although we're disappointed the maple-rimmed headboard doesn't have organ stops to control in-bed ventilation.
The Bugatti bicycle
Meet the Bugatti of bikes: to coincide with the launch of the Chiron hypercar, Molsheim has teamed up with upmarket German cycle specialist PG to make this: the PG Bugatti Bike. Weighing less than 5kg, the makers claim it's the world's lightest special urban bike (whatever that means), thanks to the use of carbonfibre, titanium and aluminium shared with the four-wheeled car. Just 667 will be made. Click here for our Bugatti Chiron review.
The Aston Martin sofa
Aston has a long history of dabbling in merchandise. A decade ago, they even made black leather underpants. But this month they've shown off the new Aston Martin furniture collection with partner Formitalia at the Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week. Handcrafted using Nubuck leather and muted colours, they're 'developed with the same quality and attention to detail as Aston Martin sports cars.' Sofa, so good...
The Bugatti biker jacket
You too could look like some kind of Riviera-based Fonz with this blue-tinged, hand-polished creation from the ‘Ettore Bugatti capsule collection,’ with quilted stitching on the back designed to match the seats in the new Chiron hypercar. Matching driving gloves optional.
The Ginetta rucksack
Apart from building racing cars to fill grids the world over, Yorkshire-based sports car specialist Ginetta has branched out into clothing, with its Ginetta Lifestyle range of motorsport-inspired coats, cords, boots, brogues and even a race-harnessed rucksack.
Read CAR's adventures in a long-term Ginetta G40 here
The Pininfarina bicycle
Pininfarina loves dabbling in non-car stuff - it even had a hand in designing the new Eurostar coaches soon to be whizzing underneath the English Channel. In August 2015 it showed off its new SK Pininfarina bicycle, developed with Milan-based artisan bike maker De Rosa: weighing just 6.7kg, it's a low-drag machine honed in the wind tunnel, made from carbonfibre and cog-swapped by a Campagnolo eletronic gearset. How to compete in the Tour in Italian style?
The Pininfarina-designed mega-yacht
Fabled Italian design house Pininfarina doesn't just design cars and bikes, you know. On 21 September 2015 it unveiled a luxury mega-yacht at the 2015 Monaco Yacht Show: developed with shipbuilder Fincantieri, the Ottantacinque is 85 metres long, has five decks, twin swimming pools and accommodation for 14 passengers and 19 staff. One for oligarchs only, perchance?
The Ferrari pencil case
Maranello knows a thing or two about rinsing its brand for all its worth - you may have noticed the explosion of Ferrari Stores at the world's more urbane airports. But even we were surprised when we spotted the latest Ferrari Back to School Collection by Cartorama. Yes, your kids can now go to class armed with a go-faster pencil case.
The Mazda sofa
Inspired by the stance of the CX-3 crossover. Here’s hoping it’s more comfortable than it looks. The sofa, too.
Jaguar's handlebars for Sir Bradley Wiggins's Pinarello Bolide HR bike
British manufacturer Jaguar stepped in to help the Tour De France-winning Wiggins in his summer 2015 quest to beat the UCI Hour Record - by designing him some unusually streamlined handlebars. Sitting on his Pinarello Bolide HR bike, the bars were put through the car maker's Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) design process to help them cleave the air more effectively. Result? The one-piece titanium handlebar, narrow forks and chainstay contributed to an 8% cut in aerodynamic drag. No wonder Wiggins set a new world record...
The Lamborghini blazer
Lamborghini collaborated with the Italian d'Avenza Fashion tailoring brand to create this hand-cut jacket first shown at a fashion show in Florence in June 2015, complete with silk-yarn finished buttons. We’re not sure if the flaps lift up at speed to aid cooling.
Ford sailing boat
All Ford’s Milan designs are influenced by the new GT supercar – starting with this carbonfibre racing sailboat. Where’s the twin-turbo Ecoboost V6? Oh...
Ford electric guitar
Made from aluminium and wood, and painted Liquid Blue like the GT show car. Neither paint nor guitar are for sale.
Intended as an exercise in minimalism, the frame is hand-hammered from a single sheet of steel! Seat and stitching are inspired by new MX-5 interior.