What’s pushing your boundaries on exterior design?
The new 200” LED screens are of particular interest, though we haven’t installed one yet. Concealing them means you need about 6m of the housing below deck; which is about two decks’ worth of space, so that’s a challenge. But the advantage is that they look really, really great: they’re incredibly bright so can be watched in full sunlight, and they’re rigid so can handle the wind unlike projection screens. I expect we’ll be designing a retractable outdoor screen system like this very soon.
Requests for retractable TVs and hidden sound systems have been around for a while now, so is integrating technology into design getting easier?
Not really. We tend to assume that technology is getting smaller all the time, but from our perspective working with clients who have some of the biggest design budgets in the world for personal entertainment, the opposite is true. TVs are getting much larger and therefore harder to hide when they’re not needed. So too are the speakers and the technology boxes and even the server racks, which have grown from 600mm to 800mm to house larger, more powerful equipment. There are more server rooms on board: some yachts have one on each deck. And these, of course, need cooling and ventilation.
Are these increased technological requirements impacting the design process?
Absolutely. A lot more work is getting done at the general arrangement stage. We recently developed a GA that planned out each audiovisual room with an adjoining air-conditioning room. The AV racks were planned and the air conditioners specified to get the heat out of those rooms, and that was all done before the contract was signed with the shipyard. The owner was very well-advised to spend time and money getting all of that right before it was too late. We worked with BondTM on that project and they were fantastic.
How important are consultants like BondTM in your design process?
At Winch Design, we’re very lucky to work with excellent consultants and subcontractors. It’s simply not in our vocabulary to use technical equipment that hasn’t been designed for purpose to work on yachts at sea. We are all really practical in the way we design. We look for functionality and practicality in the amazing experiences we design, because these things simply must work, and they must be able to be maintained and repaired by the crew. BondTM offers critical guidance and oversight on how to keep costs down while ensuring reliability and robustness of the technology design.