Adam Lay Studio Diaries: Inukshuk 2/3

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Insight into the creative processes and collaborations behind the interior design of the multiple award-winning 32.6m/107’ light-weight carbon composite sailing yacht Inukshuk; Part 2 of 3.


Following on from Part 1 where we discussed the fixed joinery aspects of the multiple award winning Inukshuk’s interior, we move on to the special items of furniture and wall lights.

As a designer it’s important to have time to think and to ruminate over a design idea; Inukshuk’s dining table is a brilliant example of this. In the mid-nineties I was visited by a guy who was selling lumber that had sunk to the bottom of a lake during transportation (log driving) many years ago. Having been preserved in the cold and darkness for decades, this timber had been brought to the surface and was being sold at a premium. This caught my imagination and served as inspiration for the finish on Inukshuk’s oak dining table top. Parkway Interiors, through their expertise in special finishes, translated my vision of a table top that looks as though it is made from this uniquely preserved reclaimed ‘lake’ timber.


Dining table at Parkway Interiors. Photo: Adam Lay

Aware that guests would be able to see the underside of the table when walking up the three steps from the study to the saloon, the base of the table was inspired by a small clump of trees which is subtly lit from the underside of the table top to create a feature. Creating this table at Parkway Interiors – who are local to my studio in the South of England – was a fabulously rewarding experience. Their knowledge and expertise in design and engineering made a complicated table design for a light-weight sailing yacht that heels up to 30 degrees possible. My concept for the tree trunks in the table base to appear to penetrate the top surface to make a connection between the base and the table top was executed wonderfully well bearing in mind the table was constructed where possible with light-weight foam.

The granite boulder ottomans which were to act as both footstools and coffee tables for the saloon seating were fabulous fun to make! Happy for me to shape them myself out of styrofoam, Parkway Interiors finished and painted my sculpted styrofoam boulders, adding fixings within the base to ensure they would remain firmly in position on-board.

Adam sculpting boulders at Parkway Interiors with an electric grinder.

Adam sculpting boulders at Parkway Interiors with an electric grinder.


Adam sanding by hand to obtain the perfect shape with blocks for two smaller boulders waiting to be sculpted.

Adam sanding by hand to obtain the perfect shape with blocks for two smaller boulders waiting to be sculpted.


Saloon ottomans. Photo: Jeff Brown

Saloon boulder ottomans. Photo: Jeff Brown

For the accent lighting I approached Hannah Woodhouse – also a specialist in surface finishes and patinas – because it was clear that off-the-shelf lights were not going to fit into this hand-crafted interior.

We set about sending Hannah collections of reference material – the result of our prior research into trees, granite boulders and natural materials – and we embarked on a series of meetings at her workshops in London and in France. After many months of discussions we arrived at a suite of wall and table lamps that fitted the brief perfectly. The ‘bronzed’ cast aluminium saloon niche ‘branch’ lamps are fabulous!

Saloon niche lamps. Photo: Jeff brown

Saloon niche lamps. Photo: Jeff brown

It’s great to collaborate with good people!

In part 3: I’ll be explaining how the soft furnishings and finishing touches brought Inukshuk’s interior to life.

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