A simple, humble and beautiful piece of wood. I say simple,
but it happens to be a 150 year old piece of barn wood sourced from a region of Canada. Our client wanted to tell the story
of their family, their roots and childhood memories. The piece of wood held vast emotional significance. We spent a long
time carefully examining and selecting pieces that could be
re-used into the interior. As designers who are passionate
about material it was almost overwhelming to be allowed
such privileged access. We collaborated with Barn in the
City, who were able to take the raw timber and carefully restore it through a number of organic processes. A range of different finishing treatments and coatings are applied to the restored surface. These vary from simple colour dye to a metallization within the grain that enhances the original and transforms it into an elegant and new material that sits beautifully within its space. It complements other materials but definitely possesses its own deep intrigue. A very beautiful star of the show.
The fascination with luxury intensifies with super-yacht design. It has become a contemporary myth and a cultural enigma. Whenever we are interviewed about our work we will, inevitably, be asked who the owner
is, what does it cost, how do these people live, what materials do we use
and so on.
The social perspective, and the questions connected with that aspect, means little to us. We don’t discuss it. Why would we? It amazes us that it remains a preoccupation with people. To me it is the tradition of commissioned beauty. It has always existed. Some, indeed most of, the significant cultural landmarks in painting, sculpture, architecture and classical music were the result of commercial commission.
What is critical to us is the notion of elegance instilled within an object;
how was it constructed, was it crafted with integrity and passion, did
we work with the right artisan to interpret our vision, does it exceed
its purpose, does the client like it?
A super-yacht is a pure collaborative expression. Like a bespoke piece
of clothing, a house, a car or a piece of furniture. Of course there are different budgets involved, different design parameters, regulations to
fulfil and wildly different functions. Beyond all of these factors elegance must govern. Always.
The clients we work with are varied, independent, unique, global thinkers. Most are, in some way, maverick characters. Their material worth has
been earned in many different ways. Some through the traditional route
of a lifetime’s hard work in building a business. Some achieved it immensely quickly as the result of a groundbreaking idea that reached billions. Some, of course, inherit and manage a legacy. To all of them the super-yacht ultimately becomes an expression of a personal story to be shared with friends and family. March & White always start with the clients’ ‘story’. This we explore, extract, enhance, play with and distil into a unique and complex narrative that becomes the DNA of the design, informing almost everything we create. That story or narrative should always sit elegantly within the March & White framework, or clothes horse as we like to describe it.
Our signature is to visualize and interpret that narrative through curation. In the pursuit of the unique, some of these are created from scratch. We think of ourselves as alchemists in this field, concocting the perfect balance of materiality and story into a single beautiful expression. Discretion and privacy is something we protect without compromise. We cannot publish the majority of our projects. For that reason I have selected 3 different materials from our current work. They are vastly different in their tactility, colour
and origin. They are all, however, elements in the story.
Like a Michelin starred chef, working at the cutting edge of luxury design affords us no respite; innovation, experimentation and a commitment to taking risks is where we believe elegant design happens.
My second choice is a poured resin by our friends at Based Upon. With our client we were aiming to capture the fleeting, momentary and singular beauty of the sea. We wanted the endlessly changing and nuanced colour that occurs in the water throughout the seasons and times of day. We approached this piece as an artist would a work in oil. The resin enabled the freedom to experiment using an array of different pigments to build up our own unique impression on our canvas. We also needed a material that could be precisely cast into a three dimensional moulding that would ultimately wrap elements of the interior and form functional furniture pieces. The result
of the collaboration fulfilled both of these objectives
and went beyond what any of us could have imagined.
This story perfectly demonstrates what is great about collaboration. The result is something that could not
have happened without the full commitment of all parties. Collaboration is a place where two plus two can make
a lot more than four. Nothing opens up creative ground
It is not an obvious signifier of status.
It is, though, very beautiful. It is also incredibly durable. Its provenance and production are responsible and sustainable. It is a very intelligent
gesture of luxury.
To conclude this for now, I have chosen an unusual material which looks rather like broken coconut shells. It’s a deeply fascinating and very beautiful finish and is a great example of trying, wherever possible, to engage with the local community to manufacture authentic artisan and sustainable finishes. Our client shared this belief. For this yacht we committed to using local craftsmen wherever possible. We also collaborated on this finish with some very gifted friends in Columbia. The finish is in fact eggshells which have been naturally broken by the hens and then meticulously sorted and selected by hand to find the perfect assortment across a panel. The shells are then backed, coloured and glazed and formed into panels that are used
to clad different surfaces.
The result is not only aesthetically exquisite but offers
an interesting comment on the modern idea of luxury.
As a material it is certainly not ostentatious. It is not an obvious signifier of status. It is, though, very beautiful.
It is also incredibly durable. Its provenance and production
are responsible and sustainable. It is a very intelligent
gesture of luxury.
The artists belief is that to create true elegance one must
be willing to take risks that often result in the unexpected.