Jaguar Concept Eight | Part Three

Jaguar Concept Eight

Jaguar XJ

The Concept Eight’s Interior

"The Concept Eight reflects a modern attitude towards glamour. No dress code is required to enjoy the back of this car, just an appreciation of contemporary design, a need for atmosphere and a love of the unexpected."

Mark Phillips, Principal Designer, Jaguar Concept Eight

Seen from any angle, the Concept Eight’s interior is as tasteful and welcoming as it is possible to be. Under the creative vision of Principal Designer Mark Phillips and Colour and Materials Designer Siobhán Hughes, the cabin of this long wheelbase concept limousine has become a place of contemporary luxury and warmth.

"The biggest change is the rear seats," explains Chief of Advanced Design, Julian Thomson. "They are very simple forms, very confident, like pieces of furniture. By splitting them we have tried to generate an ever greater appreciation of the space and comfort you get in the back of a Long Wheelbase XJ."

Between the rear seats runs a centre console that extends all the way to the front of the cabin – an evolution of a similar design first seen in the Jaguar R Coupe concept car. This clean, sweeping section is covered with a well-recognised wood veneer – American walnut. But unlike existing Jaguar interiors, the concept car’s walnut trim has a matt finish. Warm and smooth to the touch, it is a 21st century spin that Ian Callum says indicates how future Jaguars could both look and feel.

"People expect wood and leather to be part of the Jaguar culture," says Callum, "and that is what we are using – but not in the way that people might expect. The wood capping that runs right throughout the Concept Eight has a very contemporary matt finish. It’s very pure and almost blatant in its use, but not overly stylised."

The power-adjustable, reclining rear lounge seats are wrapped in aniline leather – as is the upper instrument panel – demonstrating all the natural markings inherent in a raw material. The lower instrument panel, console, and lower door casings are all trimmed in nubuck, a soft leather that has been gently buffed on the grain side to give a velvety surface. Conker, the dominant rich, brown colour, takes its name from the seed of the Horse Chestnut tree that is indigenous to the British Isles. Jonathan Connolly is the sole provider of the Conker leather, providing a rich textural mix with accents provided by chrome gloss and aluminium. The combined effect is one of warmth, comfort and sophistication. To further create a feeling of space and light, an ivory-coloured leather covers the roof pillars and head-lining.

The final new material used in the Concept Eight is the remarkably luxurious carpet. Handmade by craftsmen in Chelsea Harbour, London, its inch-deep Ivory Grey wool is designed to be as soft and inviting under foot as a favourite rug or throw.

continues... | Part Four
Published 9 April 2004 Melanie Carter

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