For the love of travel and texture!
by Christine Anne Berger
As a young child Vincent walked up and down the aisles of textile in his father’s factory, touching, sniffing and exploring the whirlwind of patterns and colors surrounding his life. Vincent loved growing up in the French-speaking part of
the Swiss mountains, surrounded by the finest quality of luxury materials. “I even spent many of my childhood days reinventing the space of my room just using lighting, colors and textures.” Today Vincent Rey is Design Director and co-owner of M&R associates design and travels the world, meeting aircraft owners and bringing to life their idea of traveling in perfect luxury.
Vincent was born and raised in the Swiss mountains among his parent’s tapestries and upholsteries. Understanding and having a feel for the finest details of luxury materials is second nature to him – and something he is deeply interested in. His private life is
full of design, love and passion. Vincent describes himself as follows: “I love a clean line, a perfect tactile presence. Some of my favorite architectural buildings are from Herzog and de Meuron, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry because of their devotion to line, light and texture.” Before Vincent went to university, his father asked him to take over
Vincent earned a name for himself working on award-winning architectural projects.
the family business and Vincent proudly announced he was off to Lausanne to become an interior architect and designer. After his university studies, he felt the need to reach for the stars and flew to Los Angeles, where he worked with the acclaimed DeMaria Design firm. Vincent recalls: “They were open to exploring new ideas in North America and I enjoyed that.” While there, Vincent earned a name for himself working on ultra-modern, award-winning residential and commercial architectural projects.
The tubular change
fter some years Vincent wanted to return to Switzerland and took a position in a completely new field of interior architecture – designing tubular spaces. “I didn’t know about this world before because it’s so secret – many things in aviation are quite confidential.” Vincent found the journey of turning a “tube” into an exquisite living and working space absolutely fascinating. “There are a lot of limitations, a lot of restrictions because of regulations. You need to know the rules and then you need to be able to extrapolate from them.” He poured his energy into understanding the rules of aviation interior certification and began developing new ideas to visually change the quality of life for people who travel among the clouds – “in tubes.” “In this niche, you need to combine technical considerations with creativity and this is very demanding,” explains Vincent. “These constraints keep one from being lazy – it’s exciting to solve challenges in this kind of situation.”
In his early role at Jet Aviation in Basel, Vincent rapidly became responsible for the Boeing Business Jet series interior design completions, even taking on a Boeing 767 project. In Basel he gained the technical and production-related knowledge he needed on narrow and wide body aircraft as well as the experience of working with people in the aviation field. In addition to his understanding of materials, Vincent developed an in-depth appreciation of architectural history and stylistic movements through the ages and across diverse cultures. He began talking with people, asking the right questions and listening to the answers, all the while creating a vision as to how customers would like to live. His designs appealed to more and more people and his reputation grew.
While designing “tubular spaces” Vincent has to combine technical considerations with creativity.
It takes time
Subsequently, Bombardier Aerospace Business Airplane in Montreal, Canada asked Vincent to help build up the Challenger 604 interior design team. Together with Vincent, they went on to launch the Challenger 605. After these successes and his new-found passion for aircraft interior architecture, Vincent co-founded M&R associates design in 2006 with Florent Magnin. Some time later, André Nillès joined the creative and innovative team. “What I love the most about being an aviation interior architect is the actual process of creating designs and seeing them come to life.” The amount of time that goes by before Vincent sees his art come to life varies with the size of the aircraft. The larger the aircraft, the longer it takes to create the design. Most aircraft require about one-and-a-half years to create from concept to completion. “My last project was large, it was a threeyear project and we were all excited to see it come to life.” It takes more time than designing a house because everything is customized, nothing is “off the shelf,” notes Vincent. One buys the basic structure and then “everything else is customized. Even all the loose equipment has to match the design of the interior.”
The right design?
When getting to know customers, Vincent and his team ask a lot of questions about what they like and what spaces they like being in. Vincent recalls a customer in Paris once saying: “Look at this space. I like being here in this restaurant. I like the colors, textures, lines, lighting and the patterns. It makes me feel good.” Vincent was then able to use this as a mood board. A mood board is something designers put together with small samples related to the design aspects that people like. Home interior designers often create these for projects, and they are also done up for jet interior spaces. Vincent has an enormous mood board book, which clients can browse through and pick out pages that excite, warm or calm them. Depending on the atmosphere a client wants to create in the jet, this is the direction Vincent will travel with them.
Vincent loves clean lines and he is devoted to the perfect combination of light and texture.
“I like to surprise the customer. I listen to them, and that makes me different. If someone tells me they’re the best, then I wonder if they’re closed to the possibility of learning something new. I try to open my eyes and see everything, like a kid who stares at the clouds. Everyone sees something different in the cloud shapes and there are always different interpretations, different perspectives of everything.” Vincent loves texture. He sees texture in everything around us. He sees how the texture can change the color of an object and how it can change the way we perceive space; “and when it comes to being in a tube, every centimeter counts. The actual volume – the size of the jet – is already defined, so the only thing we can change is how you feel in the space by changing how you perceive the volume of that space.”
“Comfort is and always has been the very core of my clients’ designs.” Understanding what comfort means for the customer can differ greatly. For some it is comforting to have an aircraft to show off; for some it is knowing that their family is happy and comfortable; for some it is having a great space for productive business meetings; and for some it is the ease of renting out the aircraft. Finding out what makes people comfortable is a rewarding challenge, and taking a tube through a metamorphosis until it becomes a space of luxurious comfort – “now that is exciting for me, and raising a customer’s project to excellence is what we strive for at M&R associates design.”
Finding out the process of turning a tube into a space of luxurious comfort.