AW: I thought it was great, although a risky thing to do, but the organisers have been brave and got everything together well. It was held at the right time of the year and it is an enthusiastic pre-season opportunity for clients. The show gives clients the opportunity to meet designers, builders and manufacturers and to discuss different options and ideas. And it is an event that should continue because London should have the best pre-season yacht and aviation show. We work in both sectors along with residential, and we've explored automotive projects in the past but we need to have the best of the best in London. The clients are here and we should make it easy for them to connect with the industry.
TSO: What does your ideal client look like and how do you like to work with them?
AW: We are doing a 74m project with a client who said, "Andrew I love what you are showing me, just go and enjoy yourself", and that is a real trophy of a situation. But I love getting under the skin - to become a tailor and understand the fit and finish of a client's lifestyle. I've done a number of projects with the owner who has given me carte blanche and I know his lifestyle well, but it is scary to do a new project with a new client - when they've never seen what you might do and when they are after something completely different to anything you've done before. Mind you, we never repeat the same design. Our clients come to us to have an original look, tone and feel for their interior or exterior, whether that is for a residential, private jet or yacht project. Often we will do three or four projects with the same client, and each one offers a different spirit based on a new brief that meets a different lifestyle. Whether on land, sea or air, the approach to the design does not have to be the same because they are all very different environments.
at the SuperyachtDesign Summit in 2012. (Credit: Justin Ratcliffe)
TSO: This year's SuperyachtDESIGN Week will explore the theme of Living Architecture and how spaces meet the needs of the individual. How do you like to work and how do you meet your client's needs?
AW: I love personal projects more than those which are vast and less personal. Building vast projects is difficult and is less fun orientated but regardless of the project, if a person walks into a space and says, "I don't want to live in this room and I'd rather not be here", then you've missed what was needed. For instance, ballrooms should still impress you and be a place where you can have a good party but it isn't a room you use every day. So it becomes a case of how can you make it into an intimate place or a pleasure to walk through when it isn't in use. You have to think about the interior and exterior, and the relationship they play and so on. I like to design from a 'flow of life' perspective, which is the culture of our studio. I started my career as a sail boat designer and we are yacht designers that can create any size vessel. We've just finished a production 64ft sail boat and we have just launched a mutli-figure sized yacht as well. However, the scale is not the issue but rather the quality, originality and lifestyle of the job because we create lifestyles for clients.
TSO: Which yacht project in recent years best reflects this lifestyle approach in its connection with the interior and exterior?
AW: When thinking about the level of detail, Madame Gu was outstanding and the client felt that it met his wishes on a very personal level - it has an opulent interior and exterior. Any client who gives us the opportunity to do a visually powerful project is brave. For the owners of Sea Owl we created private areas on board for each family member - bedrooms for each daughter, the grandchildren, and it was a project where the client wanted to have some fun. It is a treasure when the value of what is spent isn't treated too preciously, but at the same time ensuring that the value for money is met.