In this instalment of our designer Q&A series, we profile Franck Darnet of Darnet Design on finding inspiration in humankind and his ultimate design fantasy of a 340m² underwater house.
Your big break?
My first big break was when Groupe Finot hired me to design the interior of a nice and innovative 20-metre sailing yacht. It was in 1990 and it had always been my dream to design yachts.
Source of inspiration?
Nature, art, architecture, fashion, cars... but the most important one is humankind. I don’t think we pay enough attention to the human beings around us. They should be the centre of our attention.
First boat you designed?
A 20-metre sailing yacht named Capo di Fora built in 1990 at Leguen Hemidy Shipyard in Normandy. She was based on the innovative racing yacht Generali Concorde, which we designed for the first edition of the Vendée Globe. One of our clients said they'd like to have the same crazy boat but with more space and comfort on board.
Favourite yacht you designed?
Most of the time, I say “the next one!” We are so passionate about new concepts, new shapes and research and development.
Favourite yacht design?
As I come from the sailing world, it will be for sure a sailing yacht. But I love nice and elegant motor yachts too.
Most admired yacht designer?
Regarding motor yachts, Espen Oeino is probably one of the most talented designers today.
As for sailing yachts, Philippe Briand is just brilliant.
Thing you wished you’d designed? (doesn’t have to be a boat!)
Last year, as you know, Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames and the spire of the cathedral burned down. In an immediate reflex, I started thinking about how to design the new spire, a design that would last centuries, based on a mix of carbon and black glass.
Your ultimate design fantasy?
It’s a 340m² underwater house. We were meant to build it in Belize in the Caribbean Sea but issues with local authorities forced us to put the project on hold.
Favourite furniture designer?
Yesterday: Charles and Ray Eames for their timeless lounge chair.
Today: Patrick Jouin for his achievements and talent.
Probably the Viaduc de Millau designed by Norman Foster.
If you weren’t a yacht designer?
How sad life would be…!