Madame Gu, Ace and Dilbar are among the vast superyachts currently gracing the world’s waves whose stop-in-your-tracks interior opulence were executed by Winch Design: a British company, founded by Andrew Winch, that that celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016.
As the photos here testify, impeccable taste reigns supreme at Winch, which also designs the interiors of planes and properties, and custom-makes all the furniture and accessories on board their superyachts. But, according to Winch himself, technology is having a huge influence on how they execute their creative visions. “Improving software has had a massive impact on all aspects of the industry, all the way from concept to engineering throughout the build process,” he says.
“It enables us to convey the design to the contractors more easily – suddenly you find yourself working with tolerances of millimetres as opposed to centimetres. It takes the unknown out of the design process. The ability to accurately visualise spaces means that interior volume can be maximised, so it allows us to become more playful as designers – moving walls in a matter of moments and, as a result, hugely changing the feeling of a space.” Anyone who’s noticed recent improvements in noise reduction on a yacht will be nodding vigorously here.
When it comes to shifts in the priorities of those who purchase luxury water craft, Winch points towards demographic shifts. “There’s been a significant increase in the number of younger clients with young families – therefore the yachts now need to be child-friendly, accommodate teaching staff and have additional relaxation areas. It’s also led to lighter, brighter, more contemporary décor. Our clients are also demanding more versatility and creating spaces which are multifunctional – for example, decks which can transform into dance floors or open-air cinemas when required.”
Durable, robust fabrics in yacht interiors is another increasingly common demand, says Winch, along with seamless transition from the home to the yacht (“Some clients spend the entire season on their yachts – some clients even make theirs their primary residency”). If there’s one major turbine driving luxury yachting and super-yachting forward, though, it’s that ubiquitous concept now sweeping through the entire luxury realm: the hunger for idiosyncrasy. “Our creations are unique, and bespoke to our clients’ dreams – this is the ultimate luxury these days: to express one’s individuality and not have the same as anyone else.”
See the current issue of Robb Report, out now, for our full set of British designer profiles