Against the backdrop of the sea, a couple and their children spent a year on board the Vertigo. The Liaigre studio designed this two-masted vessel to offer each of them living conditions that combine elegance and comfort, a means of exploring the ocean waves in a spirit of ultimate style.
While the aesthetic proposal put forward by this studio – which, in the space of some thirty-five years, has succeeded in making its mark in no uncertain terms – retains the quality and savoir-faire of its valued French heritage, its remarkable creations stand out thanks to their clean, contemporary lines. The invariable watchwords here are balance, exact proportions and perfection down to the finest details. The Liaigre spirit? To go to the limits of the possible and the feasible. Its DNA? Effortless chic luxury, with clear lines favouring a constant quest for well-being at the heart of refined, restrained aesthetics. And its style? Adapted to its clients’ way of life, it nevertheless cultivates sobriety, characterised by plain forms and a lack of superfluity.
When our client says: ‘This is beyond our expectations’, that’s the best possible compliment.
This is particularly fitting, among other things, for the interior design of boats. For while Liaigre creates prestigious projects for houses, apartments, offices and cabins in private jets throughout the world, the studio is equally successful when it comes to yachts and sailboats. The ocean offers scope to excel. In this context, H recently went to the firm’s Parisian HQ – a superb Hausmann building in the 7th arrondissement where its teams of utterly passionate professionals work their magic – to meet studio manager Guillaume Rolland. He told us the story behind the Vertigo. Welcome on board!
Precision and optimisation
Black and coloured pencils arranged in shades, large white sheets of paper ready to receive sketches and plans, computer screens open to display projects that evoke dreams at a glance – this is the light-filled office of Guillaume Rolland. It is precise and very tidy, like the worlds he creates. “On a boat, everything has to be efficient,” he explains straight away. “So as far as the research is concerned, if it doesn’t work or isn’t successful, we start again.” In a bedroom, for example, what matters is the position and arrangement of the bed, the bedside table and the wardrobe, and the direction in which the doors open. “This applies at every level of the design and development of a project and in the details,” he goes on. That means details like adjustments in the woodwork, the layout of the stonework or the intervals between the joints that have to be in phase with one another. “At the end of the day, the clients are closely involved. We explore together and here, too, there is scope to go a long way. Finding solutions is extremely satisfying and it becomes a game to find out how far we can push the quest. It’s like a Chinese puzzle, a challenge.”
Draw me a boat
And in fact, extremely precise standards are achieved here. From his screen, Guillaume Rolland takes us on board the Vertigo to show us some of the subtleties. Just imagine: 70 metres long, top speeds of 20 knots… It is well named, the Vertigo, with its noble appearance that can make you dizzy, it is so majestic. A sport yacht, but also a rare object of sleek, sober elegance. The interior matches its extraordinary look. Shaped, designed, refined down to the smallest details by the Liaigre studio, it provides living conditions that match the views to be admired from its portholes: quite simply outstanding. Starting with its harmoniously profiled interior curves. As you look at them, your eyes cannot help but follow the contours. But they have not been shaped for their aesthetics alone: they have also been designed to ensure maximum safety without compromising on comfort. Because a yacht like this can list significantly! So everything is fixed to the floor. And to make sure that those on board can maintain their sea legs – and especially remain in the right position – the ends of the solid aluminium staircases are angled. “This way, when the boat lists, there is always a point of support, a fulcrum,” Guillaume Rolland explains. Someone had to come up with the idea… More than just a detail, this creation symbolises the ‘yachting’ spirit by Liaigre: a very subtle combination of austerity, elegance and perfect functionality, reflected in clean lines using noble materials to create the setting for daily life at sea which must, at the very least, be experienced as an enchantment.
Guillaume Rolland is himself an experienced sailor. And this is no doubt the reason why he masters his subject so well. “I’ve been sailing since I was 10,” he says. And still today, he sails throughout the year. For a yacht designer, that’s obviously a major advantage. For me, it’s a question of logic, of reflexes,” he continues. This angled staircase we talked about, for instance, is the result of thought based on experience: so admittedly it is a lovely object in itself, but it also prevents you from twisting your ankle going up to the top deck at high speeds or in strong winds. The starting point for his thought processes? “It’s not about creating an apartment in a yacht,” Guillaume Rolland stresses. The Liaigre approach is rather the opposite: the inspiration comes in particular from examples drawn from smaller boats - 10 or 11 metres – where the constraints in terms of space management are even more pronounced. “We ‘boost’ the solutions that are best for this type of boat, as it were.” And this results in an incomparable ‘finish’, from the small rims on the edges of the furniture – so that objects do not slide about and risk breaking on the floor – to the hidden storage spaces designed for different types of objects. What is more, it is not just the everyday objects that are hidden from view: in all the bathrooms, you have to ‘open the mirror’ – a sliding door – to access the facilities.
Declaration of style
“We play with the visible structures a lot,” the designer goes on, “particularly as regards the deck beams.” So you feel instantly that you are on a boat and not in a house. “It’s a matter of accepting the object, not covering it up.” Which makes it possible to exploit the perception of the place you are in.
Young people learn from travelling
As is inevitable with a life of travel, during this voyage the Vertigo did not only follow the waves. The rhythm of daily life on board was also governed by the children’s lessons. So a small classroom was designed. “The standard of work here is very high,” Guillaume Rolland says. “The classroom can be closed off by curved sliding doors, while the views when they are open are superb.” In the office used by the head of the household, discussion triangles were also created, with a sofa opposite the armchair, so that the children could come here to exchange ideas, study or read in good company in this space. A delightfully welcoming spot with a clear view over the waves.
Tucked up in bed
Since on a boat everything is a matter of space and atmosphere, there may be a tendency to think that the layout has to be ‘in a straight line’. “Look at this bed. It’s not rectangular,” Guillaume Rolland says, contradicting this. So that you don’t bump into it? “First of all, it’s rounded because that frees up space at the corner, but as well as that, it is at an angle, which makes it easier to move around the cabin and gives the room a more dynamic look.” A small cupboard nestles above the bedside table and there is a metal mast with hooks, to stretch a sail on the side so that you don’t fall if the boat lists when sailing by night. Because when all’s said and done, the Vertigo is still a two-masted sport yacht. A sailing boat in which luxury seems obvious – a way of living on the high seas.
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