Designer Violeta Lekutanoy has brought her design prowess 20,000 feet into the sky. Her refined taste and knowledge of some of the most sumptuous materials has converted the interior of this Gulfstream IV into a luxurious home amidst the clouds for her discerning and very worldly client. Plush cashmere, supple leather and luscious hand-died carpet are some of the materials that make flying in this G-IV simply best in class and heavenly. And, just in case you are wondering, Violeta has an incredible knack for design at ground level as well.
IC: Not many designers have the experience of designing a Gulfstream IV. Tell us the most exciting part of it for you.
Violeta: I’ve always loved the structural beauty of airplanes. I find them exhilarating; they provide a sense of freedom and glamour. So designing my favorite airplane, a Gulfstream IV, was a dream project and I really didn’t want it to end.
IC: How is designing a jet different than designing a home?
Violeta: It is surprisingly similar, in essence, just like when designing a home my aim is to create a space that is a reflection of my clients and their lifestyle. The only real difference is that when designing a jet all materials used must meet strict industry standards for inflammability.
IC: Share with us some of the things that you incorporated in the jet?
Violeta: I've selected some of the world’s finest fabrics and materials: Loro Piana cashmeres, Edelman leather and suede, Manrico cashmere and silk pillows, Leron linens etc. I’ve also created custom cushions using the Luis Vuitton World Map silk scarf – it seemed fitting for a private jet, and the outcome is exquisite. The rug is a custom collaboration with Kalogridis International.
IC: You have told us that you have worked for your client on several of his residences as well. Does he stick to a similar aesthetic from place to place or give you pure creative license?
Violeta: He does not stick to a similar aesthetic; however, the one central theme in all his homes is his exquisite art collection of Botero, Picasso, Jesus Soto, Diego Rivera, Carlos Cruz-Diez etc. And yes he gives me pure creative license, which means, I must harness my creative impulses and steer them towards the design objective.
IC: Let’s imagine (if we could) that you negotiated as part of your fees a trip anywhere of your choice, courtesy of your client. Where would it be?
Violeta: Angel Falls in Venezuela. It is the world’s highest waterfall, actually the height is so great that the water vaporizes with the winds and it turns into mist before it reaches the ground. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to hover over the falls for a bit and absorb what nature has created.
IC: You mentioned that you would like to design the flight attendants’ uniforms. Can you share with us your preliminary thoughts?
Violeta: Being a minimalist 'Less is more' has always been my approach, but with an added edge. It's about fit, fabric and detail. Think Helmut Lang clothing with Giuseppe Zanotti shoes.
IC: What type of music would you play on the plane that would work with the décor?
Violeta: Pink Floyd comes to mind.
IC: Is there a yacht in your future? If not, what is next?
Violeta: Yes, there is a yacht in my future….but first a Learjet 60.