The Spirit of Ecstasy is an indivisible part of the Rolls Royce experience. The 111-year-old figurine has a history of her own and has become more than just the brand’s mascot. A product of 830 combined hours of design modeling and wind tunnel testing, the new Spirit of Ecstacy will grace the bonnet of Rolls Royce’s latest all-electric vehicle Spectre – the marque’s most aerodynamic product yet.
“111 years ago today, the Spirit of Ecstasy became an official part of Rolls-Royce. Yet, she has come to represent a spiritual direction for our brand. Her form perfectly captures the marque – she leans forward, expressing our relentless pursuit of progress, and her dress gracefully flows in the wind, echoing the serenity of our products in motion. For Spectre and beyond, she becomes lower and more focussed; braced for unprecedented speed and the exciting future her presence will define.”, Anders Warming, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The figurine is much closer to its original drawing by illustrator and sculptor Charles Sykes with a lower, more dynamic stance. The new Spirit of Ecstasy would stand 82.73mm tall, with her robes flowing behind her – often but erroneously characterized as ‘wings’ – have been subtly reshaped to make them more aerodynamic and realistic. Initially, the figurine stood with her feet together, legs straight and tilting at the waist; now, her pose changes to embrace speed and wind. With one leg forward, body tucked low; her eyes focused eagerly ahead, this form heavily contributes to Spectre’s remarkable aerodynamic properties. Her physical form also represents The Expression, a visual device that forms part of the marque’s new visual language.
In early prototypes, the redesign contributes to a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.26. All the Spirit of Ecstasy figurines are made using one of the oldest known casting techniques – lost wax casting or cire-perdue, where each is individually finished by hand; thus, every figurine is slightly different from each other. Till 1939, every figurine was polished by Charles Sykes himself. The new iteration of the Spirit of Ecstasy would grace the Spectre while the current icon would be used on Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, and Cullinan and their Black Badge alter-egos where applicable.
Additionally, Muse – the Rolls-Royce Art Program, has announced the jury for the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge. This inaugural initiative will invite young creative reimaginations of the icon of the Spirit of Ecstasy beyond her current place. In doing so, these young artists will create high-concept pieces that surprise, delight, and inspire. In this year’s edition, the medium is textiles, wherein creators would reimagine the icon in textiles. A global panel of expert judges would select three finalists for each edition of this prestigious biennial event to participate in this wonderful artistic initiative. This year’s global panel includes Anders Warming, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Yoon Ahn, Creative Director of Ambush and Jewellery Director at Dior Men; Tim Marlow, Director and Chief Executive of the Design Museum in London; and Sumayya Vally, Principal of South African architectural practice, Counterspace.