French designer Rémi Tessier fell into yacht interior design by chance. “A client of mine wanted to purchase a sail boat and he asked me to do the interiors,” says Tessier, who began his career as a cabinetmaker before working with spaces. That first project, a 52-metre yacht called Squall, was launched in 2002. It went on to grace plenty of magazine covers and won an International Superyacht Society design award.
“It was minimal but not cold,” says Tessier of Squall’s interiors. “It was comfortable and warm, contemporary with a touch of vintage. This combination was quite unusual at the time and it has stayed timeless.”
After Squall it was smooth sailing for Tessier into more yacht projects. “The clients who come to me want something close to nature. They are sophisticated; they don’t want anything too basic, too raw.”
Tessier still works on land-based interiors, such as residences, but he finds yacht interiors far more challenging. “The complexity is 10 times greater than with a house or apartment. With a yacht, your house is moving. You need watertight compartments. It’s encountering different weather conditions, so it should work for cool and warm climates. It should be a chameleon—able to adapt to anything.”
Keeping adaptability in mind doesn’t mean Tessier has compromised on style, though— or wow factor. “I’ve done an atrium with a glass ceiling and a glass floor with built-in LED features, and I’ve done a fireplace on an outdoor deck,” he says.
Next on the horizon is outdoor furniture for yachts. “I haven’t found what I need so I’m developing it myself for my clients,” he says. “For example, I’ve done a lounge sunbed that rotates 360 degrees, with an invisible canopy and electric backrest.” The furniture is something he creates exclusively for his clients—for now, that is. remi-tessier.com
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From left: A bedroom aboard the Squall, designed by Rémi Tessier; the atrium of the Vava II, also by Tessier