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What To Look For In An Interior Designer
Why Interior Designers Should Have Big Ears

Kirschstien Designs
Click for Larger Click for Larger As you can see from the title this is meant to be slightly frivolous but there is a point to the title. Most people would consider the designer's greatest talent should lie in his hands and the ability to draw. I would have to say that this should be taken as a given and the designer's talent should be placed in his ability to listen. You can not design anything if you do not first listen to the Client's wishes and try and understand their lifestyle. After all, these yachts are not for designer to live on, but for the Client and their family and friends to enjoy.

The critical word in this last sentence is 'enjoy'. The process of designing and building a yacht is far more involving than that of a house as a yacht carries all her environmental services and has to float. However, the process should be seen as highly enjoyable and interesting from the client's point of view. This should be enhanced by the design team working on the vessel. As the designer normally works directly for the Owner, one of our major functions to is try and ensure the Client enjoys and understands the process of designing and building his/her yacht.

Click for Larger The build contract usually specifies a finish date with penalties to the Yard, if this date is not met, which is usually seen as a good way of putting pressure on the yard to perform. However it also bring responsibilities and pressure to bear on the Owner and his design team as drawings and decisions need to be made at the appropriate time to allow construction to take place.

In general, the Yard would like the shortest design period possible and the Owner the longest, which leaves the designer in the interesting position of balancing both party's needs to arrive at a happy medium, so that the yard gets the information it needs without annoying the client with too many requests for decisions. This balance can be achieved only with first class communications and a willingness to listen from all sides. I have found that the clients, who put the most time into the build and design process, generally get the most out in terms of enjoyment and use.

Click for Larger This not to say, that an Owner needs an in-depth knowledge of the AC and sewage systems on a yacht, but should understand, for instance, that to change the layout of a bathroom during construction is possible, but will prove far more costly than doing the same during the design process. These elements have to be explained and discussed to allow all the items to be understood.

To ensure that good information is provided it is essential that the designer and the yard develop a good relationship. This should always be done with a respect for each other's positions, which can be greatly enhanced, if the designer produces good workable drawings on time with few critical major amendments and the yard adds construction details with an obvious understanding of the design intent.

Click for Larger The key to this last paragraph is the words 'workable drawings'. In this regard we have a major advantage in that Michael Kirschstein was Chief Carpenter on “Sea Cloud”, the 350' Bark, built as a luxury wedding present in the 1930's. This has given us a unique understanding of the interior construction of luxury yachts, which we put to good use on all our projects.

For example it might seem a little odd but particularly in the lower deck cabins the design of the porthole joinery and window treatments is critical to ascertain how much room is available for the bed. In order to do this we try and work backwards from the size of a generic blind or curtain mechanism adding structure using generic plywood thickness' to arrive at a solution, that would seem to make sense. In general, this allows us to say within about an 1” tolerance, what distance will be achieved between the bed and the hullside joinery. Although this might not seem a very critical item in itself, we apply the same discipline to the whole interior to ensure that as close-to-final construction drawings are produced as possible.

   Sky Lounge
Click for Larger This level of detailing greatly helps the yard, who are not left guessing what the designer / Owner require and also allows the Client to know, within a small tolerance, about critical measurements throughout the interior. In the interior design process of yachts it is not unknown for a Yard to be given sketches of rooms, from which they are left to build the final interior. This results in far more guesswork for the yard and invariable the space produced is not what the Client required and therefore, in the worst case, has to be removed and started again. This is obviously a far more costly route than working through the design / construction details to ensure it is correct in the first place.

On top of this the yard should be encouraged to create mock-ups of critical areas. These can usually be created out of cardboard at minimal cost and are extremely useful to show the Client the space under consideration. In the same way small areas of joinery can be made using the actual materials to ensure the correct feel is going to be created. It is also possible for the designer to produce views of the interior from simple pencil sketches through artist's renderings to full CAD models. All of these tools can be used to ensure the correct look is achieved at a fraction of the cost of producing the actual interior only to find it is not what the Client intended. In addition to this, these tools allow the Owner to consider colours, space and texture in a way, which is fun and understandable to all concerned. In this way a considerable amount of enjoyment and impetus is brought in to the project, when all that may exist of the actual vessel is a large amount of structure.

Click for Larger Obviously, the whole process of designing and building a yacht should be a team effort with a major emphasis on good communications, Owner satisfaction and enjoyment as well as value in terms of money and finish.

You will see within this website a number of yachts we have designed in their constructed form and in proposals as well as examples of interior detailing, planning, elevations and final interior pictures. I trust you will enjoy looking at these and discussing them with both John DeCaro and Kirschstein Designs Ltd.

Michael Kirschstein
Kirschstein Designs Ltd
Church Lane
Henley On Thames
Oxon RG9 5JN

Tel: + 44 (0) 1491 628 073
Fax: + 44 (0) 1491 628 087

Go to Michael Kirschstien Design yachts on this site:
Inace 83
Inace 95 Extended Deck

Email John

Broker John DeCaro
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
Telephone: 954-646-1411

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