Travel shouldn’t simply get you from point A to point B, but it should be a beautiful experience, too. At least that is what London-based design firm Winch Design thinks. The firm creates bespoke interiors for residences, private jets and yachts that make the luxury vessel in which you travel, or your home, a personal sanctuary, whether you want to get a yoga session on during a transcontinental flight, or watch a movie on your yacht from an outdoor cinema as you cruise from the South of France to the Amalfi Coast.
Winch Design was founded in 1986 (then called Andrew Winch Design) by superyacht designer Andrew Winch. Today, the firm is known for its interior and exterior yacht designs and has expanded into private jet interiors and land-based residential projects, the latter of which encompasses more than half of Winch’s work. The firm operates globally with clients in the U.S., Middle East, Russia and Asia.
Winch Design creates unexpected, one-of-a-kind designs (which is often a collaboration with the creative clients they work with) seen aboard private planes — like a champagne cooler or a wood-paneled library — and aboard yachts that showcase. Winch has an impressive design range (no two projects look the same) and help create the jets, yachts or homes of their clients’ dreams.
Simply put: ‘No’ is not a word Winch’s clients hear often.
Due to the pandemic, people are turning to private jets to fly safely and in comfort, and many are spending time aboard their yachts and in their homes. Winch Design CEO Aino Grapin says the firm is seeing an increase in demand for highly customized projects because of the increased time spent within these spaces.
Those who have flown private, or have seen interiors of private planes, might be familiar with the business-like beige leather seats, tan carpet and dark wood paneling. Initially designed for business travel in the 1980s (hence the term ‘business jet’), jets are now a representation of owners’ personal styles, as they travel more with their family and friends. The same goes for yachts — especially as owners spend more time on board due to the pandemic.
“Our clients want to enjoy themselves on board, and they want to forget they’re on a plane,” Grapin says. “Some of them actually have fear of flying, so they don’t want to be reminded they’re on a plane. We love it when our clients, who are typically entrepreneurs, come up with out-of-the-box requests. We love to customize everything, from the design to every single piece of furniture. We love those challenges.”
Winch’s private jet designs feel incredibly residential, with table lamps, custom lighting, a fully functioning bar, the largest TV on any plane (a 64-inch TV), and more, to really make it feel like a home in the sky.
“We certainly try to surprise,” Grapin says.
While working in the constraints of a plane (like height and weight allowance) can prove difficult, yachts allow you to do virtually anything. Winch Design has created outdoor cinemas, sculptures that have spanned every deck of the yacht, custom interiors on their yacht’s helicopter and tenders and more. Winch was also tasked with creating the largest-ever indoor swimming pool (measuring 25 meters) onboard M/Y Dilbar. Some of Winch Design’s most notable superyachts include Excellence, Dubai, Madame Gu and Areti, to name a few.
Residential projects are more than half of Winch’s business and many times, clients will enlist Winch Design for multiple projects, like a home or second home, followed by their yacht or plane. Grapin finds clients are intricately involved in the design process.
“We often hear yacht owners or clients in general say that they have some of their best ideas, whether they are business ideas or creative ideas, when they’re on holiday enjoying themselves and the company of their friends and family,” she says. “I think that’s why we’re seeing that there’s still strong demand for design.”
At the end of the day, Winch Design hopes to inspire people to enjoy their lives and surround themselves with beauty.
“I’m French, and there’s a French author named Stendahl, who says ‘Beauty is the promise of happiness,” Grapin says. “Our clients enjoy the design process because they know they’re going to be happy on board or in their homes.”