An interview with the talented and hugely successful Edward Sotto
Q: What was your motivation behind Regatta?
Sotto: “We designed our previous project, a private aircraft Skyacht One in response to an observation. “Why is your private plane experience not as rich or romantic as your Rolls-Royce or Bentley?” When we were done infusing the plane with the details of a handmade classic yacht, we realized we had surpassed the car that spawned it, so we went back to raise the bar and revisit the Rolls- Royce. In doing so, we set out to revive it’s handmade legacy as well. It was so transformed, we named it Regatta. The perfect compliment to any yacht or plane. We can customize the woods to a virtually endless palette so each one is special and unique.
Q: I see. What is this “legacy” you speak of? Rolls Royce offers a nautical version right now.
Sotto: True, and it’s very nice, but it does not go to the extent of their own Phantom Torpedo “Boattail” or “Skiff” cars of the past. Those vehicles had hardwood planking over most of the vehicle and at the highest level of craft, much like the Chris Craft or Riva powerboats of that time. We sought to really make the wood, and it’s exposed joinery the “wow” feature, just as Rolls Royce had, and frankly, as the Skyacht One does today. The interior follows suit as the Rolls interior had much inlay and marquetry.
Q: How durable it that? Can it really be done?
Sotto: Yes, and to the extent you maintain the wood on a boat which is in the elements, you care for the Regatta. Today we can use many new methods and materials to apply and protect the veneers. To your point, I was concerned about the execution of this car, given the interior marquetry and engraving that is the handmade essence of what we are doing, so I was thrilled to join forces with Aria Group here in California. They build and engineer aircraft interiors and limited production cars, including the incredible reimagined “Singer 911”, the ultimate custom Porsche. It’s a stunning achievement and so popular there’s a 2 year waiting list. After touring their plant and sensing the absolute manic taste for precision they have, felt Regatta, the “ultimate customized Rolls-Royce” should be built there. Execution is everything.
Q: What is your background?
Sotto: At one time I was SVP of concept design at Walt Disney Imagineering (design arm that does resorts and theme parks), so you learn to work with top level engineers and that solving seemingly impossible tasks is why you are there. We called it ”hard fun”.The discipline of that job teaches you that things have to deliver visually, but also function at a demand level that is pretty high. I left there to pursue among other things, “persona design”, meaning we develop an individual’s own personal brand through design, be it their car, plane, home or just their lifestyle. We channel the client’s personality, then create a distinctive design signature that emotionally represents them, all very confidential.
Q: Ok, so what about cost and delivery?
Sotto: We are taking a new base model Wraith based on the customer’s preferences and building the Regatta atop of that, so it depends on the feature set of the base car. Clients are looking at least a million for something handmade like this, very special. Hope to number one on the road in 6 to 9 months. We plan to scan the entire base car so the fit of our parts is dead on.
Q: What is your next project?
Sotto: Of what we can talk about, we have a casual luxury project aircraft concept with Embraer using more natural materials called SkyRanch, it’s on our site. sottoluxury.com
sottoluxury.com ©Sottostudios/LA Sotto and Aria Group team up to build custom Rolls-Royce Regatta