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Jim Dixon on the Evolution of Flying Homes

11th September 2018 // By Elite Traveler

This story originally appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.

Head of aviation at Winch Design, Jim Dixon, is leading the way in delivering bespoke interiors for private jets. From a concealed library to a hidden champagne cooler, Winch Design’s creations look and feel just like home, albeit 40,000ft in the air.

By embracing private aviation’s golden era of the 1930s, we are changing perceptions that traveling by plane is purely a functional experience, conducted in a homogenous environment. Three of our latest projects at Winch Design clearly show this trend, each possessing a completely different ambience and interior but still having that common thread of originality, creating a “home in the sky.”

Our first project, a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), was designed for a young businessman and his family, so the design had to be multifunctional, seamlessly transitioning from business to leisure travel. A stately desk area lets the owner conduct his formal business in one of the bespoke, finely upholstered, butter-soft leather seats. For entertaining guests, take a seat at the bar — with modern bar stools and a hidden champagne cooler, it is difficult to distinguish the aircraft from a boutique hotel.

Throughout the aircraft, there is a peacock-feather design, such as the peacock-themed metalized artwork panelling which acts as a division between the guest bathroom and the main lounge area. The lighting on board is also a key component, changing the mood and, in fact, the whole feel of the interior, from a working environment to a relaxing and entertaining space.

Employing a completely different approach is the unique Airbus ACJ319. We designed it to emulate a timeless English gentlemen’s club and create that same sense of refined luxury. To replicate this setting, we took ideas from classic hotel smoking rooms and looked to iconic British brands. The end result is an environment of calm, comfort and contemplation — where you can experience travel not as a chore, but as a fine art.

Throughout the aircraft there are masculine interior details with double sliding doors into the office, a smooth leather floor in the library and powerful architectural details. The secret bookshelf in the library cleverly doubles as concealed doors, creating the illusion that the gentleman’s club is the aftmost part of the cabin while concealing the private master suite. People also love to close the doors to the aft lounge, relax back into the large leather sofa and pour themselves a glass of whiskey. With the shades down and a movie playing on the cinema screen, you would never know you were on board an aircraft at 30,000ft.

A final example of the differing interior styles can be seen with a project we delivered last year, another BBJ. The interior is inspired by a beautiful country house with muted shades of duck-egg blues and creams in materials that are usually found in the decor of an elegant home. A carefully selected collection of artwork adds the finishing touch.

As clients spend a great deal of their time traveling, there’s a desire to bring all the luxurious home comforts on the road (or in the sky) with them. At Winch Design, we create not only beautiful aircrafts, but exquisite flying homes.

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