Name: Grischa Alexis Schmidt
Company: Jet Aviation AG
Position within company: Senior Director Interior Design
Tell us a little about your background in design
I graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a Bachelor of Science in Transportation Design, and I hold a diploma in Fine Art, a vocational diploma in Art History and History of Architecture and also a Federal Diploma as Restorer and Carpenter.
Since 1995 I have worked at a number of international companies specializing in interior and exterior yacht design, interior aircraft design, cars and residential interiors. I began at Designworks USA in California, before moving to Munich to open the first European branch of Designworks USA and working for companies including all the BMW Group Members, Cayros in London and Switzerland.
I came to Jet Aviation in 2009 as Senior Designer Project Manager, left in 2012 to pursue opportunities abroad, and then came back as Senior Project Manager in 2017, before taking over as Senior Director of the Jet Aviation Design Studio earlier this year.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I bank on style that defies going out of fashion – aesthetic, bespoke values that are built on sustainable traditions and historically proved perceptions. Modern trends, shape and colour can change and define only short lived avant-garde – that is the spice.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere: interesting objects, beautiful places, a painting or piece of art — even the people you meet. Design is really a part of every aspect of our lives and there are always opportunities to discover new things that can surprise and inspire you.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Anthropomorphic simplicity – 3D modelling, new prototyping and prototyping methods allow for endless horizons when it comes to design but having lived in a visually cluttered era of shapes and pollution of forms, we will revert back to cleaner more readable and understandable yet beautifully, complexly subtle lines in the future
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.Sustainability: To foster the respect of nature and resources of our planet
Simplicity: For the last years we thought adding more shapes makes things more interesting. Quite on the contrary; it confuses and lacks to tell a coherent understandable story and results in a blabbering assemblage.
Outstanding craftsmanship: We are dedicated to finding the best tool for the job. Sometimes this is sophisticated machinery, but often it is exceptional handcraftsmanship. These traditional skills cannot be replicated, and provide the attention to detail and personalised solutions that our customers expect.
Integrated technologies: We are always looking at ways in which we can integrate the latest innovative technological solutions into these beautiful pieces to give our customers the most comfortable cabin. This could be developing new ambient lighting solutions, interactive table tops that transform into board games, induction chargers, or electro-chromatic glass dividers that darken at the touch of a button to separate an open plan design.
Innovative materials: Using materials in new and unexpected ways is also something we look at in our concepts. For example, recent concept designs have included intricate decorative paint effects rather than more traditional plating, or special art paint finishes created from raw ingredients such as mineral powder, limestone and lava.
Bringing true residential style and comfort into the air: This is something we are seeing a lot — the desire to truly bring a sense of home into the cabin. For example a modern Italian style or traditional design features such as ornate mouldings, double doors and herringbone parquet drawn from the French Haussmanian era, combined with state-of-the-art technology to bring the interior to life as a home in the sky
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
There’s always room for improvement, but it’s important to know when to step back and recognise when a design is complete.
How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards?
They offer a platform to increase the visibility of outstanding design within the industry and the teams behind it.
What projects are Jet Aviation currently working on?
We are currently working on a number of narrow- and wide-body concepts and completion projects. What’s really exciting about my work is that every project is completely individual. We might work directly with a customer, or we might manage a project for an external designer. A day might involve initial concept meetings, selecting finishes, or working directly with colleagues in production and engineering to refine a final product.
What are the aims and goals for Jet Aviation over the next twelve months?
To continue to provide customised interior design solutions for our customers.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?
My beautiful wife and two daughters
Your favourite holiday destination?
La Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Mowani Mountain Camp, Namibia, and Basil’s bar, Mustique
Your favourite book, film & song?
Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, Bullitt and “Shhh…” of Miles Davis
Your favourite food and drink?
Fondue (of course — I’m Swiss!), game meat and a good G&T
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
A classy outdoor picnic with friends and all the jazz
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A surgeon or a game keeper
Anything else interesting?
Passionate traveller, drummer, yachtsman and part time game keeper between a round of golf