Design Centre Stories

Design Date – Andrew Winch

Winch Design is synonymous with superyacht design, and as this specialist and elite design sector has evolved over the decades, the company has evolved with it. Projects on dry land now make up an equal percentage of the firm’s work, and collaborations with the likes of Turnstyle Designs and Summit Furniture are also raising the company’s profile beyond the yachting fraternity. Founder and creative director Andrew Winch is speaking about the power of collaboration as part of a panel of other esteemed experts as part of Conversations in Design at Focus/19.

Conversations in Design:
A Shared Ethos: Collaborative Design, Sunday 15 September, 3pm-4pm
Click to book tickets

How did you get started?
My love of yachts stemmed from an early age, growing up by the coast, and it inspired my studies at St Martin’s School of Art, London and Kingston College of Art, laying the foundations of my career. My studies were followed by a year sailing as a crew member across the Atlantic and in the Caribbean on a private 52-foot sailing yacht. On my return I joined Jon Bannenberg Ltd, as an apprentice designer, having previously been mentored by him as a student. After six years, I started Winch Design in 1986 with my wife, Jane.

You’re speaking about collaborations as part of Focus/19’s Conversations in Design series. How have they enriched your own design process?
Collaborations are an exciting new era for Winch Design. We are always seeking to develop new business ventures to explore new innovations and challenge ideas. When working with other designers it is crucial we both share a vision to produce high quality and unique designs, defined by creativity and style. Of course, it is always inspiring to work with a diversified team, who all possess different skills and experiences.

What are some of the landmark changes you’ve witnessed in the superyacht design industry?
There has been a significant increase in the number of younger clients with families wishing to purchase bespoke superyachts, therefore the design needs to be adaptable, child friendly, able to accommodate teaching staff and have additional relaxation areas. It means that we are now creating full time-residences: our yachts are multifunctional and can cater to any request or whim. They are not just a holiday boat, as they have been in the decades before.

Of course, with the climate crisis ever-present in our minds, we are constantly thinking of ways we can make super yachting sustainable, eco-friendly superyachts will have to be designed and this is something we are already working on with the emerging technology of hydrogen fuel cells.

What are you working on at the moment?
We are working on several aviation, architecture and yacht projects, each are unique and boundary pushing, along with some exciting concepts. Due to our clients’ requests for privacy we won’t reveal too much, but watch this space! There are three of our latest deliveries at Monaco this year, Excellence, Aurora Borealis and Tis, as well as Here Comes The Sun which was delivered in 2016. We are also delivering three spectacular architecture projects – in Cape Town, The Seychelles and Switzerland.

Your clients have sky-high expectations – how do you connect with their needs and make sure they are met?
We put ourselves into the equation in every design process, approaching design from an ergonomic perspective, but always thinking about our clients’ lifestyle. So we ask numerous questions: which side of the bed do they sleep on? Because then that would dictate which side of the room the bathroom would be on. What is their favourite hotel? They might like some of the same design details. All of the questions we ask, ensure the highest level of detail is met.

Do you have a typical day?
In a word, no! Each day is completely different, which keeps it exciting. With a multi-disciplinary studio there is lots going on and each project is completely unique. I am lucky enough to be involved in the creative side of all of the projects, working with a large team who inspire me every day.

Where do you feel at your most creative?
I love to be by the water, and this is where I get most of my inspiration. This is why our offices are based by the River Thames in London – the calm peaceful surroundings are ideal for us as designers to think creatively on a daily basis.