Project Mayfair by Andrew Winch Designs is a pioneering plane proposition that combines an ‘off-the-peg’ configuration with personalised designs and furnishings. It’s a faster and cheaper way to get the custom jet you’ve always dreamt of.
Having built up an enviable portfolio of superyachts including Cakewalk, Al Mirqab and Madame Gu, Andrew Winch is undoubtedly one of the industry’s best-known designers. Furthermore, over the thirty years since he founded his practice, he has also expanded beyond the seven seas and his firm now employs teams specialised in aviation, architecture and interior design. His latest project, conceived in collaboration with China Business Aviation Group (CBA), is something he calls a “penthouse in the sky.” Their aim is to bridge the divide between a standard manufacturer’s jet and a fully customised one. To that end, Winch has conceptualised designs for Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets, which clients can subsequently customise in terms of exterior and interior details, but all within predetermined parameters. This may sound fairly obvious but it has actually never been done before and the advantages of such a semi-custom solution include a substantial reduction in cost (predominantly associated with engineering, design and purchasing) in addition to a significant drop in the turnaround time from purchase to delivery. “This is about delivering a premium lifestyle to the most discerning client – a home-from-home in the sky,” says Winch, speaking from his former fire station headquarters in London on the banks of the River Thames, “and even with a preconfigured interior architecture, we can still provide clients the customisation they desire.” Named Project Mayfair, since Winch says the configuration took inspiration from the renowned luxury hotels found in this area of London, it’s clear to see that his large bar and adjoining lounge are reminiscent of the fluid spaces of a hotel suite. You enter the jet via a dramatic entrance vestibule (formed by angled bulkheads), beyond which there’s a main saloon with a dining table and the aforementioned circular skylight-lit bar, and at the rear is an owner’s cabin with a connecting bathroom. There’s an expansive feeling of space and that’s largely thanks to Winch’s dynamic open-plan design that he emphasises can be easily adjusted in case you’re flying for business or leisure. For example, the cinema converts into a second bedroom, the dining room can also be used as a meeting room and there’s a usable fixed side-table that converts into a games board. The preliminary mock-up of Mayfair’s design that we’ve shown here utilises dark high-gloss veneers, golden onyx, satin, leather and Loro Piana cashmere, and even though it is lavish it’s also far from pretentious. Oscar Wilde once said, “I’m a man of simple tastes. I’m always satisfied with the best.” He’d be a happy chappy in this plane.