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Five Minutes with Winch Design

9th July 2020

Collier Webb have been fortunate enough to work with Winch Design on many occasions, their design credentials for homes on land, sea and air are second to none. We talk to Letitia Schuh, Senior Interior Designer for Winch Design about her journey to becoming a designer on some of the industry’s most luxurious projects…

Winch Design
Established in 1986 by Andrew Winch and his wife Jane, Winch Design has grown to be an award-winning multi-disciplinary design studio. The design teams at Winch work tirelessly creating dream, bespoke homes, on land, in the air and at sea.

Beginning their design journey with a 36ft sailing boat, Winch Design has now designed and delivered some of the world’s most revered superyachts, private jets and residences. With the focus on extremely high-end, dynamic design for a worldwide client base, Winch Design is recognised as a globally leading studio and has established itself as the go-to for individuals who expect not only the highest levels of design excellence but also a real understanding of how they want to live their lives.

Today, the team comprises of over one hundred designers, naval architects, 3D visualizers, merchandisers and support staff whose holistic approach and creative ingenuity drive the business forward

Winch has now designed and delivered the largest volume superyacht in the world, the biggest private jet to hit the skies and the largest private residence in London. Each project is entirely bespoke, unique and executed to the highest possible level. Winch currently has a number of major yacht and aviation projects in the pipeline but the architecture studio now accounts for around half of the business activity at Winch Design and the team is continuously working on many innovative and unique projects. Recently completed include a boutique experience hotel in the Seychelles and a family Lake House which perfectly blends mid-century modern Scandinavian influences with modern colours and clean edges. The yacht studio is currently working on a new eco concept for the new Amels 60 range which has an interior scheme created out of only sustainably sourced and responsibly manufactured materials.

Signature Style
There is no house style at Winch Design and there never has been. Each project, whether a yacht, jet, private residence, or commercial property begins with the same conversation between the design team and the client. The team need to understand the client’s goals, aspirations and to get underneath their skin to find out what makes them click. Only then can the team begin to build a home which will be as personal to the client as their most innermost thoughts.

Interior design journey
I became an interior designer let’s say by chance. I always loved anything, and everything related to art, fashion and visual language, so I decided to study Advertising and Design. I got my first job (in my home country of Brazil) as a graphic designer for an architectural firm. During my time working alongside the architects I soon realized my true calling resided in the development of spaces. It was time for the next challenge.

I left Brazil to do a Masters in “Colours applied to Architecture & Interiors” in France, leading me to an internship in the Yacht department of a prestigious Parisian design studio. At that point everything made sense and I realized I was finally doing what I loved. I worked in Paris for 4 years as an interior designer before joining Winch.

Favourite projects
My favorites are those in the French Classical style. The historical side is fascinating. There is so much to learn for every project both in context and narrative that it would be impossible not to be inspired every day. In addition, working so closely with artisans and craftspeople that specialise in traditional, period-specific, techniques is pure magic!

Advice for aspiring interior designers
Embrace any opportunity of learning and look for jobs / projects that challenge you, even if they do not immediately make sense. There are no more interesting paths than the one that is organic and not obvious. Keep in mind what you would like to achieve but allow yourself to enjoy the journey and remember that each step leads to the next.

Design influence
The sense of place is very important. Understanding the natural light, different seasons, colours, volumes, textures in the surrounding helps the creative process to make the most of a place. Also, a project can be only successful if matches the lifestyle of the client. There is no better place to be than an environment in which all your needs are fulfilled, and you hadn’t even noticed.

Another key influence that is becoming increasingly more prevalent is sustainability. When it comes to the design process, Winch Design are consistently making decisions throughout that will increase the sustainable credentials of the projects. Questions are constantly being asked such as, has this wood come from a sustainable forest? Are the leather suppliers using sustainable dyes and is this production process as efficient as possible?

Designing for design yachts and aviation
The yachting interior design process allows our team to confidently design within a limited space, which in turn influences our thinking around how to work with space in a larger setting. They design in an intelligent way, thinking about the versatility of the space, about storage solutions and how the space will really be used. The flow of design is hugely important on board a yacht. Whilst every detail on-board needs to be of the finest quality, the flow of staff behind the scenes is essential for the smooth catering of guests on board with seamless discretion.
When it comes to aviation design, the considerations are the same due to the scope of the space however, everything must go through at least 3 different kinds of safety testing which lengthens the process.

Our mission is to design our client’s dreams, which makes all our projects unique. We are constantly bringing different solutions to the spaces and are often commissioning bespoke pieces. Our clients have access to the most interesting and luxurious places, so it is a constant challenge for designers and manufacturers alike to propose innovative solutions that enchant and elevate the senses.

Two projects that come to mind are two 74m superyachts from the Amels 242 Limited Editions range – Plvs Ultra and New Secret. Plvs Ultra had a cool and calm interior taking inspiration from the Côte d’Azur whilst New Secret showcased a modern yet inviting interior. The fully custom interiors are complete representations of the owner’s different styles and this personification can clearly be seen when walking through and taking in all the different colour schemes, materials, and finishes. We chose Collier Webb for these two projects because of the variety of styles available which allowed us to find products which are entirely compatible with what the owners were seeking. It also helps that the process from start to finish is always seamless which encourages us to return time and time again.

Favourite Collier Webb pieces
I love the simplicity and sophistication of the leather wrapped “Salon Étagère”. Also, all Alabaster lights are a chic classic.