Quick Five Questions – Andrew Winch

What are the latest yacht design trends?

On the interior side we are seeing an increased focus on the use of glass, often huge expanses, to bring the outside in and allow clients to feel immersed in their surroundings. This yearning for a connection with nature has also led to the increase in more refined, natural interiors, with open grain woods, soft, light furnishings and even living walls of greenery.

Sustainability is centre stage across the whole industry. Whilst we know there is still a long way to go with regards to environmental considerations, we are certainly seeing a more conscious effort from both designers and clients alike, be it in the material selections or choice of a hybrid engine for example. We have a dedicated sustainability interiors specialist who has assembled extensive resources detailing information about how each material is sourced, manufactured, composited and the advantages of each application.

Explorer yachts are also continuing to gain popularity, with ice-class hulls, increased crew capacity and increased tender storage, clients are able to sail around the globe for extended periods of time, no matter the conditions of the environment. The flexibility that these yachts bring is attractive to clients, allowing them to reach new destinations and not be restricted to traditional cruising grounds whilst experiencing adventure and freedom with their families.

 

What are the most ground breaking recent deliveries for design and what makes them so?

Excellence remains a front runner when it comes to futureproof and timeless design. She was a true milestone for the team – Andrew Winch describes her as

“a striking combination of boundary pushing technical design and daring innovation, she is a rocket ship ready for take-off”.

Excellence continues to stand out owing to her striking and angular American eagle bow which cuts assertively through the ocean waters, offering a silhouette comparable to a spaceship. Her exterior lines draw the eye up to the bridge and owner’s decks which are surrounded on all sides by curved floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass, the largest panel a staggering 6m in length. The statement glass reaches 180 degrees around the master suite meaning that sleeping guests can wake up in the morning fully immersed in their peaceful surroundings. With her striking bow and her visionary, industry disrupting layout, Excellence brought forward a new era for superyacht design.

On the aviation side, we are just about to deliver a Global 5000 with a large piece of artwork on the aft bulkhead of the cabin. The painting is a bespoke commission based on an original painting and has been an incredibly technical challenge for the team to install. We are very excited to see the finished result!

 

Has the Pandemic changed the way owners use their yachts? If so, what has changed?

The pandemic allowed owners to spend more time on board, as this was was arguably one of the safest ways to enjoy time away. There was also a large increase in refurbs during the pandemic, due to owners having more time to focus on maintenance and adapting the boat to make it suitable as a home. This has resulted in owners choosing to spend more time on board post pandemic and many are now using a yacht as their primary residence.

Health has ranked as a top priority for UHNWIs for some time but is now soaring to the top of the agenda. What clients expect from their home working environment is expanding as health and well-being takes centre stage and designers are increasingly considering natural light cycles, plant life, Feng-shui and ergonomic design. Some clients are requesting specially designed medicine rooms and accommodation for an onboard doctor in addition to the usual gym and spa facilities found onboard the top superyachts in the world.

The pandemic has re-aligned many of us with what’s important to us. Enforced separation has created a yearning for connection, and what better place is there to spend time together then in complete privacy on a yacht designed just with you and your family in mind.

 

What is the most unusual design request you have had?

Phoenix I was the first project we did where the client wanted a bespoke staircase into the sea for their dog so they could get in and out of the water easily. We designed a unique staircase that has now been featured on a number of yachts.

 

Are owners looking to make the design and use of their yachts more sustainable? 

It’s hard to say what percentage of clients consider it a top priority, but we make sure to introduce 100% of our clients to sustainable options right at the start of the process. It is our duty to educate and offer solutions wherever we can. We are seeing an increase of younger owners, who are typically more in-tune with the effects of climate change and ocean pollution and are more likely to request or be open to innovative and sustainable yacht design, for a number of reasons.

We are typically seeing these ‘family focussed’ younger clients seeking to protect the oceans to ensure their good health to be enjoyed by the future generations, hence their desire to learn about and use the latest in sustainable and environmentally friendly offerings.

Choice of materials and interiors play a huge role in becoming more environmentally-conscious. We have a huge library of sustainable materials for our designers to work with in the studio and online and a dedicated inhouse sustainability specialist. We are very privileged to have a great relationship with so many long-standing suppliers, and liaise with them regularly to stay current on all the new alternatives being continuously developed. From fruit leaves, to paper, eggshells to fishing nets the innovation shown within the sustainable alternatives is inspiring and encouraging for us as designers.

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