Her distinctively elegant and effortlessly feminine take on life onboard these yachts is also being applied to her latest projects of the most recent BeachClub and Flybridge models of the Van der Valk shipyard.
Carla explains how years of experience in creating exceptional residences onshore is being translated into homes-from-home at seam and vice versa.
"There are many people, especially in the US market, who are unaware of the extent to which they can customise their yacht. They presume that customisation of a boat is similar to cars and that you only get to choose the colours, fabric types and audio system," she says.
"It comes as a surprise when I tell potential owners that creating a yacht with a high-end yard like Van der Valk is closer to designing a house. That they have the chance to create something very special, based on their own identity, lifestyle and personality. And that this option covers every likely use, from couples with children to spending time on the water with friends, including major choices such as the number of cabins."
During the past fifteen years, the scope of Carla’s work has expanded to encompass a wide variety of design and build projects including luxury residential, high-end condominiums, commercial, hospitality and yacht interior design. Her design team currently operate throughout the U.S., Europe and Brazil.
She has curated numerous original design exhibitions throughout Europe at global industry-specific events such as ‘Salone del Mobile’ in Milan and the ‘Biennale di Architettura di Venezia’ in Venice, Italy.
Throughout her career, Carla has had the distinct honour to collaborate with some of the most renowned names in design, including umberto and Fernando Campana at Campana Brothers, Andrea Ciszak at Ciszak Dalmas, Alexander Von Vegesack at Vitra Design Museum Basel, and many others.
"To me design is design, and coming from a residential background brings more options, especially at Van der Valk where there is such flexibility of choice," she says.
"We can utilise lots of new materials and ideas from onshore and these have given me an open mind and encouraged us to create something truly different as we optimise spaces."
Of course, there are distinctive limitations when building a yacht, such as weight and the marine environment, but the overall concept of fashioning something that no one else has is clearly very special to Guilhem.
As a result, she has begun to implement elements of yacht design process into the residential sector. Some of the more resilient fabrics and materials that are ideal for a maritime environment are also good in homes where children are at play. The rounder shapes developed on boats to reflect the movement of the vessel can also be cosier than sharp edges in homes too, offering a more natural ambience.
Moving into the yachting world required a lot of study for Guilhem, as there were many different factors to consider, with a level of design that is exceptionally detailed.
"My first clients asked me to leverage on my experiences with their residences it and it was a steep learning curve as we had to work with ceilings, panelling and the structures behind them," she explains. "Yachts are more complex and my work is a mix of architecture, interior and product design."
"We also have to take into account factors like the ever-changing views through the windows, the use and who will be staying onboard. Yachts don’t have a singular identity as such – it’s more about the sensation the owners want to have when they are at sea."
"However, just as is the case on land, the journey to finding a bespoke interior style still starts with reference images, concept mood boards and material choices. It’s a privilege to be part of such an adventure."
Carla Guilhem Design leads with the sentiment that beauty has the power to change lives, which is why Carla and her team of professionals strive for absolute perfection; creating a signature beauty that is unique to each client and project.