Experience Aston Martin ‘Art of Living’ ~ Part 1 ~ The Factory Tour & Design Masterclass
Imagine joining Aston Martin on tailor-made global adventures with groups of like minded people. Experiences reserved only for a very limited audience. A fast track adventure at 24 hours at Le Mans, or a road trip through California, perhaps an automotive design masterclass of the new DB11 at Villa d’Este in Italy, or how about an all access experience at the Goodwood Revival. Do you fancy polishing your driving skills at the Nurburgring Driving Academy? Well the Aston Martin Art of Living series sounds right up your street.
The Aston Martin Art of Living series offers a platform of luxury bespoke experiences in the specialised worlds of travel, haute cuisine, sport, fashion and culture.
The brand has championed independent thinkers and creative talent for over 100 years. Their designers are plucked from all corners of the globe, and their search for authenticity and innovation takes them all over the world. So in a sense, they decided to bottle their passions and discoveries and have introduced a series of curated events, The Art of Living. Join in on their unprecedented access to some of the most exciting experiences you could imagine.
This month, I was invited to the Aston Martin HQ in Gaydon, England to experience the beating heart of the brand. I was promised “unrivalled access to the new DB11”.
To celebrate the launch of the new DB11 I was invited to be one of the first to test drive the new model.
This was to be a priceless insight into this iconic British brand, and an ‘Art of Living’ experience to make any car enthusiast weak at the knees.
We were to be taken on a factory tour of the assembly line, and meet the designers for a one to one design masterclass in their design studios. Best of all we were to venture out on an exhilarating road trip in a new model DB11. Also included in the 2 day adventure, Aston Martin would showcase the finest in luxury hotels and gastronomic greatness, we were to be immersed in the most picturesque surroundings, the Cotswold countryside. What better way to explore the winding roads and quaint villages of the quaint English countryside. Bring on the James Bond dah dah dum, dah dah dum.
Gaydon is very easy to access via London, we hopped on the train at Marylebone, London and were collected at their local train station. The morning began with an insight into the immaculate craftsmanship of the brand, the precision and quality that each car comprises.
The timeline of the brand leading to the factory floor by way of a mini museum will remind you of the brands heritage, before you step into the beating heart of Aston Martin, the assembly line.
I was attracted to the leather working stations, the enormous quilting machines, and the hand stitching stations. Row after row of master seamstresses whizzing through leather hide after hide. All panels to make the new DB11 seats.
Each item on the production line is for a specific customer, there are vast production boards like you see at airport check-ins listing the status of each car running through the production. It’s quite incredible.
The design masterclass was a highlight for me. My university days are long gone but the whiff of those marker pens brings it all back to me. We were offered one on one time with the master craftsman and designers, I had a bash at sculpting a clay car, and learning how each design starts off with pen on paper.
Only then are ideas inputted into a computer for further development. We could try our hand at cutting hides and seeing how every seat model starts off with calico sampling.
It was time to hit the road, and I was definitely going to be behind the wheel for the day. I was thrilled to bring my boyfriend (major girlfriend points), but what he didn’t know was that he wasn’t going to get much time in the driving seat.
This was definitely a drive I would be undertaking. Think payback for all those freezing cold days and nights in his (roofless) Jaguar XK120. We followed the pre-set GPS route to our lunch destination, the beautiful Cowley Manor. What better way to check our these pioneering aerodynamics that we heard so much about than a few hours on the open road.
Following a beautiful lunch, it was time for our afternoon drive, the GPS was set to take us to our slumber, at the newly renovated The Painswick Hotel in the heart of the rolling Cotswold hills. Read about our stay by clicking here, it’ll make you want to book a room immediately.
Read about the driving experience in Part 2 coming soon.
Feature posted August 2016