Designer in Profile: Adam Lay, Director of Adam Lay Studio

Name: Adam Lay

Pictures of Yacht designers Adam and Kelda Lay. Shown here at their design studio. Stockbridge. UK Credit: Lloyd Images

Pictures of Yacht designers Adam and Kelda Lay. Shown here at their design studio. Stockbridge. UK
Credit: Mark Lloyd Images

Company: Adam Lay Studio

Position within company: Director


Tell us a little about your background (education, experience, etc)

Adam Lay gained a BA (Hons) in Industrial Design (Transport) from Coventry University.

Adam designed his first yacht in 1993 and after a short spell with a UK based Naval Architect and a production yacht builder, he spent 7 years working for one of the top custom superyacht design companies in the world, John Munford Design.

Working with John Munford encouraged the perfectionist in him and taught him the skills he needed to be a successful yacht designer. Many yachts he was involved with during his time with John won awards, which proved a fastidious approach to design endured.

Adam Lay Studio was established in 2003 together with Adam’s wife Kelda.

Since 2003, Adam Lay Studio has been building a reputation for award-winning creative design coupled with a discreet, honest and conscientious approach.

. Where and how does the process for decorating the interior of a yacht begin?

I start by listening carefully to the design brief and also reading between the lines to fully understand what a client is looking to achieve.

I will then typically have a mood or atmosphere in mind and I facilitate this by doing hand-drawn artist’s impressions to help me to visualise the finished interior.

Things change along the way as I tweak and make improvements but it is unusual for the finished interior not to look almost identical to my initial hand drawings.

. How does working on the interiors of yachts differ from other projects?

The marine environment can be a harsh place. Yachts move so everything on-board has the potential to move. Everything on-board has to be fixed when the yacht is at sea and everything must withstand the salty marine atmosphere.

Separation of owner, guests and crew has to be considered with crew being able to move around the vessel unseen as much as possible. Fitting in audio visual, air conditioning and instrumentation requirements in small spaces is also a challenge and safety has to be a priority meaning stringent regulations must be adhered to.

. What are your five must-have elements/features you would advise for someone to opt for when decorating a yacht?

1. Create comfortable relaxed interior spaces where you feel completely at home.
2. Make sure there’s a ‘wow factor’ and flexibility to change the mood in saloon and deck areas.
3. Create wonderful inside/outside spaces that flow well together.
4. Keep things simple. Technology is great but make sure it’s intuitive and reliable.
5. Create great crew accommodation and galley. A happy crew is really important.

. What design elements would you suggest for creating a stylish interior of a yacht?

For me a beautiful design is very liveable, it will make you feel comfortable, instantly at ease and at home. That’s not to say there isn’t a sense of opulence – a feeling of being spoilt – but in essence a sense of fulfilment for both owner and designer is what a beautiful design will achieve. Everything will blend together harmoniously and I like to think anyone could put their personal items into our interiors and instantly make the space their own. There will be a good sense of proportion, balance and symmetry where desirable and there will be an understated wow factor. I think our interiors carry a quiet confidence and feel very natural.

. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to development projects, what would it be?

Trust in the design process and to trust in the skill of your designer to interpret your ideas and put them onto paper and ultimately transfer the information to the yacht builder to be made into reality by skilled craftsmen and women.

To ensure an outcome that the owner will be happy with, clients shouldn’t be afraid to say how they want their boat to feel, even if the design brief is a place in the world that makes them feel relaxed, or simply a feeling that they wish to experience whenever they set foot onboard their yacht. No matter how crazy it might seem, put it out there for your designer to ruminate on and run with.

. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

They are important to the shipyard as a form of recognition in the quality they have achieved.

. What projects are you currently working on?

Strictly confidential.

. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To produce great design that endures.