ShowBoats Design Awards Lifetime Achievement Award recipient John Munford
by Adam Lay
Superyacht design icon John Munford won the 2013 ShowBoats Design Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. Here fellow designer Adam Lay shares his thoughts on Munford’s legacy to the yacht design world.
John Munford began his study of furniture and interior design at The London College of Furniture in the early 1960s. Since opening his own yacht design studio at Shamrock Quay in Southampton in 1979, he has created some of the world’s most iconic yacht interiors.
In an era when yacht interior design wasn’t yet a recognized profession and few shipyards knew quite how to handle an ‘interior designer,’ John Munford brought his skills as a furniture designer and maker to the table, playing a large part in establishing a profession that is an essential part of custom yacht building today.
Jessica, Endeavour, Shamrock, Velsheda, Margaux Rose, Creole, Borkumriff, Rora V, Aurora, Anekena, Mari Cha III, Fair Lady, Northern Light, Detroit Eagle, Reverie, Tiara, Meteor and Archimedes, these are just a few of the famous yachts John has designed, reconstructed or refitted over a career spanning more than 34 years. From classic gentlemen’s yachts to lightweight record-breakers, sailing yachts to motor yachts, John would frequently look for something different or challenging about the projects he would take on.
Working with the world’s best shipyards and joiners, John’s designs are the ultimate in timelessness, elegance and longevity, leading to the oft-used description, ‘Munfordesque’. John’s interiors frequently remain completely unchanged many years after they were first crafted, a true testament to ‘getting it right’ and his legendary attention to detail. The mantra in his office was, ‘never draw more in the morning than you can rub out in the afternoon!’
John is a true gentleman with a kind heart and an unwavering dedication to his art. And it is an art, as anyone who has seen his wonderful drawings will testify. From his hand-drawn pencil visuals with their loose style and accurate portrayal of construction information, to his full-size details and 1:20 elevation drawings, they are all worthy of being framed and hung on the wall, and are not just a means to an end. John has been a true inspiration to others and has trained many designers who are working at the peak of the yacht design industry today. Like me, they are extremely proud to say they ‘cut their teeth’ working for John Munford. – Adam Lay