Rémi Tessier: “My clients need their boat to appear to be no different”

Since he began his personal firm in 1988, this cupboard maker, educated on the Compagnons du Devoir, has grow to be the world specialist in luxurious non-public boats. A novel expertise that leads him to work with essentially the most demanding purchasers.

Did you drop out of faculty at a really younger age to grow to be a furnishings maker?

I’ve all the time dreamed of freedom. I’ve an issue with authority. For me it is vital to do what I need after I need. After which I obtained a ardour for wooden. I like working with my palms and this materials actually appealed to me. I began woodworking in my bed room after I was 13.

Who taught you woodworking?

My dad and mom could not afford me an schooling just like the Ecole Boulle, in Paris, the place you may be taught the craft of cupboard making. The opposite possibility was the Compagnons du Devoir, a multi-trade fraternity that has been round for the reason that days of cathedral constructing. We alter cities each six months, we work all week, and within the evenings and weekends we prepare with the Compagnons. We work twelve hours a day, it’s intense, very laborious. I did this for eight years.

The place did they enable you in your approach?

Clear the workshop, sand the castings for hours. They offer new individuals the soiled work that nobody needs to do, they take a look at you. Most candidates drop out, however I stored going. For eight years I discovered the commerce of furnishings maker, I discovered to make positive furnishings, marquetry, sculpting. I took half within the Commerce Olympiad, a world competitors.

What introduced you to design?

I beloved the job of cabinetmaker, however in the future I noticed it was over. I closed my toolbox and went to my boss to inform him, “I am sorry, however I’ve to cease.” He requested me what had occurred, I mentioned, “Nothing, however I’ve to do one thing else with my life.” All of the Companions have been very shocked, they didn’t perceive, however I had a revelation: this was what I needed to do, and I needed to do it instantly.

The yacht II, the format of which was designed in 2012 by the designer for the Swiss businessman Ernesto Bertarelli – © Jeff Brown

What have you ever achieved ?

I went to an aunt close to Lyon who may present me with a mattress and a roof. I did not know anybody and no one needed me. I had no coaching in design and my palms have been soiled as a result of if you work with wooden the stains seep below the pores and skin. I knocked on the retailers’ door to recommend they redecorate their decor. A florist mentioned sure and that is the way it began.

How did you go from retailers to boats?

I’ve redesigned many shops and realized that the rule all the time got here from the calls for of the corporate, greater than from need or intuition. That is why I needed to work on interiors, with people. A consumer’s husband bought his enterprise and purchased a ship. He commissioned a number of well-known decorators to furnish the inside. None of them may work out what they needed, so that they supplied to present it a strive. It was a superb compromise between my information of design and my coaching as a furnishings maker. There’s not a lot area in a sailboat, however it’s important to introduce a way of luxurious. It is all about proportions and particulars, and I discovered myself loving it. The primary boat I adorned turned a reference within the commerce as a result of at the moment there was no sailboat with a timeless, stylish and stylish ornament. I did one other, then one other, after which I settled in Paris.

Do you might have a sure model?

No, I don’t suppose so. In fact you may see that every one my designs are made by the identical particular person. However I do not wish to have model, I wish to have model. I draw every thing and create the decor in a staff with engineers or web site workers. What I like is designing my purchasers’ desires. Not mine.

What’s the elementary idea that defines your design?

I like purity and coherence, which might equally effectively translate into basic, up to date or minimalism. While you create a design, it is very important put your soul into it.

What makes a venture particular?

It is about creating from scratch, with out being impressed by this or that, with out copying, choosing and mixing current parts. My purchasers need their boat to appear to be no different, to replicate their persona, their dream. And so they don’t need it copied afterwards. They’re all like that.

Is it difficult to work with such demanding individuals?

This poses two challenges. The primary is discovering a singular design that interprets into the boat in a constant approach. You must give you a mixture of favor and supplies that produces a singular design that matches the consumer’s dream. They do not come to me with an image and say I need this or that. They need the distinctive, however they do not inform me what they need, it’s important to guess. However I can perceive fairly effectively what they dream of.

One of Grace E's decks, decorated by Rémi Tessier in 2014. The megayacht received the Motor Yacht of the Year award from the World Superyacht Awards the following year.
Certainly one of Grace E’s decks, adorned by Rémi Tessier in 2014. The megayacht obtained the Motor Yacht of the Yr award from the World Superyacht Awards the next 12 months. † © Mark Seelen

And the opposite problem?

It is going to the smallest element, as a result of these clients are extraordinarily vigilant. There have to be some actual completion, so they are saying, “I’ve nothing so as to add. Right here we’re.”

Is it perfection you’re in search of?

Perfection doesn’t exist, sadly and thankfully. Even when we attempt to seize it, it stays a dream. Striving for perfection is an attention-grabbing aim, all the time making an attempt to do higher as a substitute of sacrificing business imperatives. Cash would not attraction to me, I do not wish to be wealthy and my purchasers’ life-style would not make me dream.

Is it true that you simply now additionally enhance non-public planes?

Sure, large planes. I delivered a 787 a month in the past.

What distinction is there in your apply between a ship and an airplane?

A ship is sort of a five-star resort that strikes, with a pilot. An airplane is similar, besides it flies! Rules are subsequently stricter and weight concerns extra vital. It is extremely difficult, which is why individuals within the aviation business have a tendency to breed a mannequin as a result of it has confirmed itself. As quickly as you supply one thing that’s not licensed, you’re getting into the unknown, which no engineer needs to enterprise into as a result of the chance is just too nice. So it is as much as you to persuade a staff of engineers who would moderately keep of their consolation zone and take the chance of making an attempt one thing completely different.

What’s high quality to you?

It is exponential, as a result of we have now to push the boundaries of each element to take it to the subsequent degree. My purchasers need what nobody else has. While you see and stay in an inside of such high quality, you perceive the variations. It is like sporting cashmere as a substitute of wool. I discover it troublesome to let amount and high quality coexist. In case you’re aiming for amount, it is an industrial course of, you are drawing one thing that will probably be reproduced many instances over. I’m essentially a craftsman and I prefer to design distinctive interiors. A home made object has nothing to do with a machine-made object.

Is not it a bit unusual to solely work for very, very wealthy individuals?

That is not the purpose. Traditionally, furnishings makers have all the time labored for kings and nobles. Excessive-quality craftsmanship, that’s my area, has all the time been related to the elite. What I like is making unbelievable issues, of superior high quality, with the most effective craftsmen. It isn’t a query of cash.

What number of workers do you might have in your workplace in Paris?

A small group of fifteen workers, I personally work with every of them, distinctive craftsmen. We’re getting ready about twenty initiatives on the identical time.

Are your clients choosy?

That is not how I see them, they’re very attention-grabbing individuals. While you work for somebody simply, there isn’t any problem. The problem in life is every thing.

Would you prefer to have your personal boat?

No. A jet very quickly, as a result of it is a fantastic instrument of freedom, however I can already fly each time I need. Freedom is within the head, and the best wealth in life is youngsters.

How do you elevate your youngsters?

Reasonably they’re those elevating me, they’re unbelievable. I’ve 9 youngsters, I wish to have a full life…

Translation from English Héloïse Esquié

Alain Elkann

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