The steps taken by Winch Design to play a major role in the refit sector…
Jim Dixon, director, yachts and aviation at Winch Design, describes the steps the studio has taken to play a major role in the refit industry.
Is there a viable market for the design community in the refit industry? My first response to this is to point out what the design community has to offer. There are many different attributes that go into making a good designer, including curiosity, adaptability, and integrity. Renovations force designers to think differently because the design brief always requires a different approach to needs, budgets, and aesthetic desires. Refits are more like puzzles than a completely custom new build where there are existing parameters and logistical restrictions that require solutions.
More lateral creative thinking is required, something the design community excels at with its tenacious, curious, and adaptable approach to spatial problems. In short, it would be unwise to embark on a superyacht refit project without a designer.
The Winch Design studio is known worldwide for designing and delivering some of the most iconic and complex fully custom and semi-custom superyachts afloat. From bow to stern, the team applies an immaculate understanding of luxury design to create vessels that raise the bar for the superyacht lifestyle.
Jim Dixon, Director, Yachts and Aviation at Winch Design
A measure of our own success is whether a client comes back for a repeat project, and they do so when they feel understood by the studio and there is a shared vision and design language. The refit business model is not something that Winch Design has pioneered, but we certainly find that the majority of our customers return to discuss some level of refit because their onboard lifestyle is changing. or that they want to revitalize certain areas of the interior. or exterior decks. Consequently, the refit market is now a well-established string to our bow. A combination of client relationships, an understanding of the existing original design and an excellent network of suppliers ensures that the studio is always ready for redevelopment projects.
Refits and renovations can vary greatly in scope and scale – from a contemporary refresh of loose furniture and artwork to lengthening the hull to create additional spaces. The former involves an interior designer and a purchasing manager, while the latter involves a complete structural overhaul and the incorporation of new metalwork sections, requiring numerous skilled workers and months at the shipyard.
Whatever the nature of the request, each refit offers a new opportunity for creativity. The Winch approach goes beyond pure analysis of the design brief to merge problem solving with sustainable ethics. If an older yacht is refitted, its sustainability credentials may not live up to the future vision of yachting, so this is an opportunity for the design team to come up with a new vision for materiality and sustainable innovation.
Winch Design now has a dedicated ‘Sustainability Specialist’ in the Interiors team, whose full-time role is to seek out innovative materials, sustainable suppliers and environmentally measurable design solutions, encouraging sustainability. design team to implement them in studio projects.
Earlier this year, we demonstrated how this additional aspect can form the fundamentals of a new design concept. “Barefoot” and “Moonlight” marked a milestone for the superyacht industry, with their sustainable interiors developed in conjunction with the Water Revolution Foundation for the interior of the new Amels 60 series. Meticulous attention to detail has been paid to materials and production processes, and to source and supply chain, to ensure that we make an authentic and quantifiable contribution to sustainable design, not just tokenism.
“Barefoot” is a light and natural interior, where guests can enjoy the texture of organic cotton and deep-curved sofas covered in fabric made from waste from industrial processes. Pineapple leaves undergo a non-chemical process resulting in a lightweight, versatile and durable alternative to leather, adding subtle texture to wall panels. The ceiling domes are clad in recycled and recyclable “parquet” rope paneling that reflects the natural, seaside theme found below.
Sand is sculpted and pressurized using air and water to create a centerpiece wall finish that mimics the shape of rough stone, and thin, almost translucent layers of aloe vera create a textured finish similar to coral in the surrounding niches. In contrast, the more avant-garde “Moonlight” atmospheric concept focuses on minimal light emissions and showcases the use of aluminum, an inherently sustainable material capable of nearly endless recycling.
This is an incredibly exciting time for the superyacht design and refit industry, a time when this constant questioning and analysis of our design approach will pay dividends for the future of the industry and add of longevity to some of the most beloved superyacht designs.
This article first appeared in The superyacht refit report. To access The Superyacht Group’s full suite of content, publications, events and services, Click here join The Superyacht Group Community and become one of our members.
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