Heesen YachtTalk Specials, Season 4, Episode 4
Filmed in Barnes by London’s River Thames, episode four of YachtTalk Season 4 sees host Charlotte Kan catch up with Winch Design at their studio headquarters to discuss the British brand’s holy trinity of designing jets, residences and yachts. Jim Dixon, Creative Director of Yachts and Aviation, and Simon Tomlinson, who heads up the Architecture studio, talk design, crazy briefs and dream projects.
Winch Design has carved out a name for itself as one of the few design studios to cover all three disciplines of jets, yachts and homes. It’s a distinction that attracts clients who are looking for their portfolio of assets to be complementarily designed, and one that sets Winch apart.
“We have many clients who have done projects that span the three disciplines with us, not necessarily all at the same time,” says Dixon. “Some are in fact very different, at times at opposite ends of the creative spectrum, but we employ the same principles and understanding of how the spaces will be used.”
It’s the cross-pollination of design skills and knowledge that gives Winch its edge. The architectural studio is the youngest element of the brand but is heavily influenced by what has been developed over time in Winch’s marine and aviation projects.
Within the marine and aviation space, the door is open to blue sky thinking. One client’s request to use six different materials in their jet interior, none of which had ever been used before, resulted in a huge research and development exercise that produced cutting edge solutions. And it’s not uncommon for briefs to include a few crazy requests.
“Asking to have a full-sized bath tub in a private jet bathroom is a common ask, but it’s one of the few things we simply can’t do,” says Dixon. “Many clients also want to replicate their home in the sky, yet to install everyday furniture in an aircraft is a hugely complex process, but it continually pushes us to be ever more creative.”
Tomlinson agrees, adding: “Our continual desire to learn is the ethos that underpins the studio and exposes us to new ways of thinking.”
One of Winch’s most recent architectural projects has been the design of a penthouse apartment atop the Old War Office Building in London’s Whitehall, now known as The OWO. “It’s situated in quite a unique roof, which means there’s a lot of space to play with,” says Tomlinson. “The entire project has given us a real chance to bring our tailored approach to a once-in-a-lifetime development in London, both for the interior and exterior terrace.”
The brief asked for a contemporary version of London, which inspired an interior that represents modern Britain, artisanal craftsmanship and sartorial influences from throughout the capital city.
“Whichever space you’re in, you get these little reflections and tastes of what it is that makes London such an interesting cosmopolitan city,” says Tomlinson.
Full custom yachts
Within Winch’s yachting division, the team are focused on their latest Heesen collaboration, Project Sparta. The design captures the essence of the modern superyacht life, including an aft beach club that is low to the waterline for easy access to the ocean and a main deck pool surrounded by sociable seating.
“Project Sparta is an incredible, athletic-looking yacht that centres around life on deck,” says Dixon.
Inside, the design is a flowing, subtle blend of pastel-coloured materials. A lower deck full-beam spa with a plunge pool, two owner’s suites – forward and aft – and an open air sun deck complete the picture. “She is a very different yacht to any other design that we have done,” says Dixon.
The way in which clients live and the world operates today is changing so rapidly that all three of Winch’s design divisions are addressing briefs that were previously unimaginable.
“What we look for are projects where the great chemistry of a supportive client is afforded the time to uncover a design solution that is truly innovative,” says Tomlinson. “To have that realm in today’s world is the definition of a dream project.”