If there was ever a year when a private jet was looking particularly attractive, it was surely 2020. Let’s be honest: who wants to risk sitting in close proximity to dozens of people for hours at a time, with all those pesky droplets floating around in that artificial air?
It’s certainly a tempting prospect — but as we’ve learned, there are private jets and private jets. And nobody knows that better than Andrew Winch.
His name may be familiar to you — but it’s likely that you know him for designing yachts. And the founder of Winch Design, who studied under acclaimed yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, indeed has a talent for creating floating palaces. With Excellence, Madame Gu and Avanti to his name — as well as the stunning interiors of Cloud 9 and Here Comes The Sun to boot — Winch is no stranger to decadence, but for us, his talent really takes off with his jet design.
It’s safe to say that jets offer space to indulge the most decadent, out-of-this-world designs…so we asked Winch to talk us through some of the craziest commissions he’s ever received (and by ‘crazy’, we should clarify that we mean ‘utterly spectacular’).
Peacock is sheer opulence at 30,000 feet
Where Peacock was concerned, the brief was clear: the client wanted to create a ‘flying home’ for him and his family. Winch was all too happy to take on the challenge. With 800 square feet of cabin, spacious private areas and plenty of options to entertain business guests around the world, this design accommodates up to 19 passengers in considerable comfort.
A long, elegantly detailed table unfolds and extends to settle up to five guests into an evening (or journey) of fine dining, while a second table caters for another four in front of a stunning under-lit bar.
Jim Dixon is Director of Yachts and Aviation at Winch Design. “Guests can enjoy a drink at the under-lit bar with its ingenious high-low bar stools and hidden champagne cooler,” he explains. “The whole area is equipped with full spectrum, audio-synced lighting.”
All crew facilities are neatly integrated into the forward area, concealed behind sliding doors that have been precision-engineered and decorated with beautiful peacock-themed metallic artwork panelling. In the aft, the luxury of a full master suite bedroom reveals itself: boasting a carefully selected collection of artwork on the walls.
“The client wanted a bedroom with an entertainment system as close to an entertainment system as possible, so we installed a 64 inch TV into the wall opposite the bed — the largest ever fitted on a private jet,” Dixon tells Gentleman’s Journal.
But the most impressive touch is surely the owner’s bathroom. Pure drama from the threshold onwards, a custom-made blue glass washbasin takes pride of place in the centrepiece of the sanctuary, with a rich dark veneer and a large shower complementing the design. And, of course, a mirror-faced television is magically integrated into the marble vanity area.
Atlas is a gentleman’s club in the sky
Borrowing the bookshelves, plush leather chairs and secret passageways from the vintage gentleman’s clubs of old, Atlas is an ideal jet-setting getaway for a globe-trotting modern man.
“The client requested a comfortable ‘home away from home’, so we filled the cabin with plush leather chairs, dark stitched floors and extendable dining tables to make you forget you’re even in an aircraft,” Andrew Winch tells Gentleman’s Journal.
Just think, if you were to relax back into the large leather sofa and pour yourself a whisky with the shades down, you’d never know you were onboard an aircraft at 30,000ft.
Also featuring a cinema screen and room for eight people to dine in luxury, Atlas’ pièce de résistance has to be the hidden door. “There’s a hidden lounge behind doors made to look like bookshelves, to complete the sophisticated, ‘gentleman’s club’ aesthetic,” Winch adds.
Almost impossibly large, the door leads onto a sumptuous master bedroom. It has all the dark wood and privacy you’d expect from a club of days gone by — and just as much charm.
Sky Residence is an airborne haven of relaxation
We feel soothed just looking at those soft, blue and white interiors that make up the inner sanctums of the aptly named Sky Residence. And good thing too, because that was exactly the idea. “As the name suggests, the brief for Sky Residence was to create a calming and neutral interior, with a highly luxurious and residential feel, to allow one to forget they are travelling by plane,” Dixon explains.
Good news for anyone with a chronic fear of flying. Any jitters brought on by heavy turbulence are likely to be alleviated by the calming exterior and wide open spaces — which were another deliberate design move in themselves.
“Designed for a wide-body Airbus A350, this concept benefits from greater versatility than smaller aircrafts — encompassing a master suite, two large lobby areas and a children’s room; with the flexibility to adapt the design to the client’s needs,” says Dixon.
It’s a family aircraft, in every sense of the word; and from the looks of it, it’ll allow for any number of calming activities whilst airborne. Yoga? Seatbelt sign permitting, there’s no excuse not to, with those large open spaces. Mindfulness? It would be almost criminal to leave it out, with those delicate interior design colour palettes encouraging relaxation and tranquillity at every turn. Make no mistake: this is an aircraft guaranteed to instil calm in even the most terrified flyer.
The word ‘airborne’ has come to take on horrifying connotations of germs, bacteria and swirling droplets of disease. But there are other, brighter connotations to the word: and they’re centred on unmitigated luxury, exquisite design and breathtaking interiors. Winch Design has reminded us what it is to truly travel in style; and after the year we’ve had, we’ll forever be grateful.
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