Sustainability and design

Jim Dixon looks at the harmonious connections between sustainable materials used in a new series of luxury design concepts and the desires from a new breed of yacht owner

The conservation and protection of our planet is something Winch Design cares strongly about and the studio has been committed to reducing its carbon footprint, both at a studio and project level. For years and now more increasingly, decisions are being made throughout the design process to improve the sustainable credentials of the project.

Has this wood come from a sustainable forest? Are the leather suppliers using sustainable dyes and is this production process as efficient as possible? These are the sort of questions that have to be asked daily and will be explored throughout this piece.

Winch Design HQ on the banks of The River Thames in London now has a dedicated ‘sustainable materials library’, featuring a substantial variety of materials from carpets and metals to special finishes and fabrics. The team has a dedicated Sustainability specialist whose responsibility is to research, source and test not only materials but suppliers too. They manage a resource matrix of sustainable suppliers that analyses and tracks their methods of sourcing, manufacturing and application of each material to check it meets the correct criteria.

The best example of how these materials are being introduced to our projects from the off-set is with our Barefoot & Moonlight concepts, that have been developed for the new Amels 60 platform. As part of Winch Design’s commitment to a meaningfully sustainable future, the interiors team has spent the past 12 months deep diving into the world of truly sustainable materials. “Meticulous attention to detail was paid to both the materials and production, plus sourcing and packaging processes to ensure that Winch is making a genuine contribution to sustainable design, not a tokenistic one. The beauty of these two interiors is enhanced by the knowledge that sustainable innovation is at their core, and the diversity of the designs demonstrates the versatility and scope of sustainability within superyacht design” says Melanie Coleman, Senior Interior Design at Winch.

Barefoot is the lighter and warmer of the two interiors and Moonlight is her moodier, more atmospheric sister, both sharing the joint goal of total sustainability. With regards to interior specifics, Barefoot is inviting and tactile, her neutral colour palette is complemented by hints of powder blue and showcases textures of sustainable woods and rattan manipulated into organic forms to create a ‘feet up’ and welcoming space. Soft angles and curved edges are found in abundance onboard Barefoot, and guests can enjoy the feeling of organic cotton against their skin and deep curved sofas upholstered in sand-coloured fabric made from post-industrial yarns. Pineapple leaves undergo a non-chemical process resulting in a lightweight, versatile and hard-wearing leather alternative, adding subtle texture to wall panelling. The ceiling dome is dressed in a recycled and recyclable ‘parquet’ rope panelling which mirrors the beachy, natural theme found below.

The concepts have been designed in conjunction with The Water Revolution, who are revolutionising the industry by working to ensure it acts sustainably with the goal of neutralising its footprint and preserving the world’s precious oceans for future generations. By working closely with TWR, Winch are leading the way with regards to sustainably led research, design and decisions to futureproof the studio’s trajectory and make sure it inspires others too. “This collaborative opportunity together with Amels and The Water Revolution has resulted in a design that is likely to demonstrate to the industry and the public that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift into sustainability” – Jim Dixon, Director of Yachts & Aviation.

Another important aspect of sustainability is preserving craftmanship & heritage and this is something Winch Design actively celebrates and supports with various initiatives such as ‘Life Worth Living’ and ‘Under Winch’s Wing’ that aims to offer guidance and support to smaller, individual craftspeople and artisans, whilst raising awareness and promoting their work. “Life Worth Living is Winch Design’s plan to care for people and the planet through four key pillars (Protecting our Air, Land and Sea, Caring for our Communities, Leading our Industries and Transforming our Business) which acts as the guiding anchor for the company now and in the future” says Aino Grapin, CEO at Winch Design. Winch also supports The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, a charity dedicated to preserving British craftmanship through access to education opportunities, sustaining craftmanship skills and promoting excellence.

Throughout all of these initiatives and promises, Winch believes it is vital to be authentic, honest, and transparent so others may learn from the studio’s experience and make progress as well. The team is committed to continuing a positive chain reaction in the industry and will collaborate with suitable suppliers, peers, and wider stakeholders to make transformational changes. The storyline behind the material/finish becomes the unique selling point. Clients want to know that they are still getting unique, exclusive and luxurious options which are also sustainable. One supplier paving the way for sustainable materials who Winch has worked very closely with for years is Nature Squared, whose mantra is ‘Nature’s waste is our precious material’, proven by the way they use material innovation and artisanal skills to upcycle grass, seeds, bark, nuts, seashells, eggshells and feathers into radical new forms.

Ultimately, knowledge is power in this industry and the company as a whole feels it has a moral obligation to research, develop, use and offer sustainable solutions throughout the whole design process, both on a project and studio level. Winch needs to continue leading by example, driving positive change internally and in the wider external industries to safeguard a sustainable future to enjoy a Life Worth Living.

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