“I want it like home.” That was the directive from the client. It sounds simple enough, especially when the person receiving the request is Pamela Babey, Founding Principal of interior design firm BAMO. She’s designed everything from pied-a-terres in San Francisco to palaces in Abu Dhabi. She even converted a villa (Musolini’s last residence) on Lake Garda into the much celebrated Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli.
But this was something new… a yacht. And not just any yacht, a superyacht… the Lady Candy.
What wasn’t new was the client. Pamela and the BAMO team, which included Dorothy Greene, Alan Deal, Rhonda Lay, and Sara Young, have worked with the clients for years, designing several homes for them in Hong Kong. When the client said, “like home” what he meant was “like MY home.” It was their private residence on The Peak in Hong Kong that first began the collaboration. From the first meeting through the last decade, synergy and trust have developed and the team was excited to begin.
“The perfect client is passionate, engaged, professional, and challenges me,” says Babey.
“These clients are all of these things. They also have great taste, have travelled the world, and are pleasant company.” Since projects can span, several years, enjoying each other and the process can be critical to the ultimate success of the venture.
Despite the fact that this was BAMO’s first yacht, the designers weren’t worried. The clients had assembled a world-class team, which included Benetti and Central Yacht. Pamela was confident that Central Yacht would relay the technical requirements, so that the interior design team could focus on aesthetics and the functional details of living well. Central Yacht created a beautiful and innovative layout, which included placing both the Owner’s Suite and the VIP Suite on the upper deck, each with private terraces.
Pamela and the BAMO team set out to address the yacht as they would any design challenge. Projects begin by understanding the client, the location, the space, and specifically how it will be used. Given the ten year history, awareness of and appreciation for the clients already existed. Pamela was also privy to how the yacht would be enjoyed.
Before Lady Candy, the client had owned several smaller yachts, and over the years Pamela has had the privilege of enjoying fresh, exotic seafood feasts onboard with the family. For the clients, the yacht is not a possession to be enjoyed periodically, but a lifestyle to be embraced at every opportunity… whether it is an impromptu dinner party with friends, a get-away weekend respite, or a luxury Mediterranean tour.
Pamela understood that, whether docked in Hong Kong Bay or touring the world, Lady Candy must feel casual and comfortable while still exuding the clients’ sophisticated style. In this way, Lady Candy is modeled after the house on The Peak, where entertaining rooms are balanced by comfortable family environments. Even the stair plays important roles in both environments. On land, connecting the entire house is an impressive stair with custom balustrade and plaster walls in a shade inspired by a string of soft grey pearls. On Lady Candy, the curved stair is also surrounded by plaster walls, this time in shades of coral inspired by a rare string of coral pearls the clients once showed Pamela in Hong Kong.
A dash of the eclectic is part of Pamela’s theory for inspiring design. Unlike many sailing vessels, which can feel commercial and severe, the interiors of Lady Candy reflect a relaxed shift in attitude from room to room, with subtle changes in ambiance through the addition of spirited colors, whimsical carpets, and bright accents. Each deck has its identity and mood, giving the romantic impression of a “great house” reinvented on the yacht. The furniture is a mix of classic-modern with a touch of the old world. Key furniture elements are custom designed to give unique character to the room design. What you won’t find is a “suite of matched furnishings,” as one might typically find on a yacht. Preferring lamp-light for warmth, Pamela and team added lamps and decorative sconces (appliqués) throughout the interiors. Placement of ceiling lights was carefully considered. Wall washers were placed to highlight art work and warm the walls; down lights, positioned to accent table tops and objects, were used to add sparkle,
Layered luxury, another aspect of BAMO’s design attitude, was not lost on the finishes and hardware. The team explored handsome veneers, including whitened elm burl throughout the main deck, owners’ suite, and VIP quarters. Whitened oak was used within the guest cabins and casual areas, and, for a nautical and practical touch, bleached teak was integrated throughout. Inspired by the elegance of the best Louis Vuitton luggage, woodwork features custom hardware, levers and roll bars by Turnstyle in nickel with dove grey textured leather. These light, bright finishes provide the perfect backdrop to the custom furnishings, featuring matched veneers of English Sycamore and Pommele Sapeli, with inlays of shagreen and mother of pearl punctuated with gem-like hardware handmade by jewelry designers and artisans.
As the yacht is born in Livorno, it is only natural that the designers honor the unique talents and textiles of Italy. Rubelli fabrics are featured throughout, while Fortuny textiles can be found in the guest cabins and VIP suite. Loro Piana cashmeres along with Foglizzo’s special hides and furs also make appearances. But it’s not all Italian, de Gourney’s hand painted wall covering, a favorite of BAMO and the clients, is an important feature in the Owner’s cabin.
The main saloon is formal yet comfortable, with subtle and relaxing tones, divided into three zones: lounge, saloon, and dining. The magical gold-leafed bar floats on a reflective base of colored glass, mirror and copper and anchors the lounge. The English Sycamore dining table is surrounded by a ring of turquoise colored chairs. Pamela at first was concerned that the color might be too strong. Her fears evaporated when the client arrived at the meeting with her turquoise Birkin and matching nail enamel. The color was perfect! A woven gold tapestry by world-renown artist, Olga de Amaral, forms the backdrop for this magnificent space.
One of Lady Candy’s many unique features is the dedicated cinema room with a state of the art sound system. The room’s décor is cozy and warm with individual cinema chairs that rest on silky Mongolian wool carpet.