Name: Tray Crow
Company: Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
Position within company: Director of Interior Design
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc.).
I am proud to lead 47 of the most talented designers and visual developers in the aviation industry. As a group, we have 574 years of design experience and 335 years of aviation design experience – I am honoured to work with a team that has this much depth and knowledge.
I was appointed director of interior design at Gulfstream in 2007, and before that, I served as a professor and department chair for my graduate school alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I have a master of fine arts degree from SCAD and a bachelor’s degree in studio art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Before I discovered a passion for aviation interior design, I also worked in residential, corporate and health care interiors.
What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?
We are seeing a desire for higher levels of personalization – clients want hallmarks of their personal and professional brands woven through their interiors, whether through accent colours in piping and stitching or through subtle pattern designs.
An increased prevalence of mixed materials – silk and wool woven through carpets, and composites paired with veneers, for instance – and a higher level of complexity even in minimalist interiors are in demand.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.
Is the design functional?
Is the design flexible?
Does the design evoke emotion?
Is the design rooted in a strong conceptual context?
Does the whole process surprise and delight the client?
Where do you feel yacht and aviation design is going in terms of schemes?
Interiors are about the experience – both aviation and yachting are about the journey. Does the experience match the journey? Does the interior reflect the intended outcome? At Gulfstream, we get to know our clients and their aesthetic philosophies so we can work with them to create an interior design that both supports their mission requirements and exceeds their expectations for excellence in customized design.
What projects are you currently working on?
Our team of more than 45 interior and visualization designers are working on exacting tailored interior designs for all in-production aircraft, including the all-new Gulfstream G500 and G600, which are currently progressing through the certification process.
We are also flight-testing the interior designs for the G500 and G600. The G600 interior featured in the International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2018 in the aviation category is one of those fully outfitted test aircraft. It incorporates the customer feedback we actively seek out as we develop new products. How the interior performs is just as important as how the aircraft itself performs, so testing is key – we can see how our custom-made furniture, upholstery, leathers and finishes expand and contract in-flight, for example, and that helps us make adjustments that enhance both the functionality and beauty of the interior design.
The interior design process can also be daunting for those unfamiliar with it, so our design team have created five design aesthetics around which a customized interior plan can be envisioned. We present these aesthetics — minimalist, classic, sport, next generation and layered — through a variety of finishes and seating styles that can serve as a foundation for designing the cabin.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
At its core, design is about problem solving. At Gulfstream, every step of our design process is guided by our goal to exceed customer expectations through innovative design solutions.
What products/services could you not live without when designing?
Gulfstream’s interior design team creates the finest aviation interiors in the industry with the help of our in-house partners and suppliers – the Gulfstream craftsmen and women who build our cabinetry and craft the veneers that envelop them; the in-house artisans who hand-stitch our leather and fine-fabric upholstery; and our industry partners who create one-of-a-kind carpeting and so much more for our clients.
Gulfstream’s interior design team also works hand-in-hand with our research and development engineers. They bring their industrial design expertise to improve the functionality and ergonomics of our seating, for instance, and partner with us on marrying excellent interior design with their innovative cabin architecture.
How important are The International Yacht and Aviation Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
We appreciate the attention International Yacht and Aviation Awards gives to yacht and aviation interior design – the spaces that we design are just as special as homes and offices, with the added complexity of certification restrictions. The challenge of designing interiors that must be certified for flight adds an interesting element to the design process.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Our goal each and every day is to exceed our customers’ expectations. We strive to do this for our in-production aircraft and for the all-new G500 and G600 as we head into certification and customer deliveries.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:
Your favourite place to travel to in the world?
Remote, uninhabited islands.
Your most treasured possession?
A Pre-Columbian vessel that was once in shards and now has been painstakingly reassembled. It reminds me of Kintsukuroi, the Japanese philosophy that something broken and repaired is part of the object’s history and beauty.
Your favourite restaurant?
Dining on a Gulfstream while crossing the Atlantic is second to none.
Your favourite drink?
The Aviation Cocktail, of course.
The place that enables you to totally relax?
My latest hobby is working at the potter’s wheel. The process is centering, requiring focus and intent.
The place that gives you most inspiration?
Densely populated cities are a wealth of opportunity for inspiration. I recently made a quick trip to the city of Merida in the Yucatan. It is bustling and thriving with design, culture, arts and magnificent food. The history, architecture, and bright colour palettes make this city truly unique.