Range Rover Velar: Modern Opulence
With the new Velar, Range Rover takes a reductionist design approach that puts small details like leather-free luxury upholstery front and centre.
“Today’s designers, especially commercial designers, need to be knowledgeable across a range of design specialties in order to integrate a mix of best practices and products.” This was a key takeaway from the recently released American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 2023 Trends Outlook report. Throughout a variety of sectors, designers are blending techniques: offices, hospitality and healthcare have all borrowed residential cues to make their spaces more comfortable and “homey” (it even has a term in office design: “resimercial”); healthcare facilities are introducing retail-like spaces as a means of generating additional revenues; and hotels are converting amenity lounges into co-working spaces.
Product design is seeing similar overlaps, with resimercial inflecting commercial furniture and vice versa, as work-from-home becomes a norm. But one sector that always innovates especially when it comes to materials and yet seems under-used as sources of inspiration for interior designers is automotive. Yet Range Rover, a name associated with modern luxury design, should regularly be seen on moodboards, not be new to them. Take, for example, the interiors of the brand-new Velar, officially launched in February, with new seat designs using Kvadrat materials. An option Range Rover has been building on for several years, the leather-free cabin combines wool from the Danish textile experts with Ultrafabrics polyurethane textile inserts, featuring a new Diamond Herringbone perforation pattern.
Range Rover’s relationship with Kvadrat started well before the debut of the original Velar in 2017. Under the directorship of Amy Frascella, the Colour and Materials team worked with Kvadrat over the course of several years to deliver a woven textile option that was luxurious, tactile, and robust for use inside a vehicle. The resulting Kvadrat wool and polyester blend textile, applied to seat bolsters, headrests, and armrests is now available as a leather-free interior within the Range Rover Velar.
The innovative textile has been subjected to rigorous in-house durability testing in the Range Rover materials lab to ensure it delivers customary robustness throughout the lifetime of the vehicle, going through 60,000 cycles of abrasion testing — the equivalent of 10 years of usage — and UV tests capable of simulating three years of unrelenting exposure to the sun in just a month. Inspired by bespoke tailoring, Kvadrat wool blends are 58 per cent lighter than leather and provide a modern appearance and enhanced tactility for a contemporary take on traditional luxury.
The wool itself originates from sustainable farms in New Zealand and is spun at a specialist mill in the U.K., which uses production techniques which minimize water use, reusing up to 85 per cent of wastewater, as well as reusing waste yarn threads.