The founder of PH Design talks with Robb Report contributor Michael Verdon about the interior of ‘Sybaris,’ his first yacht project.
How did Bill Duker, the owner of ‘Sybaris,’ find you?
Bill has been a client for 25 years. He first hired me to design his home on Miami Beach when I was working on Gianni Versace’s home. We have developed a great relationship since then.
This was your first yacht project?
Yes, and I did not want to blow it, partly because of my friendship with Bill. Also, there are only so many yacht commissions in the world, so it is a scarce pearl to squander. Bill told me that if I can think it, they will build it. In other words, he was granting me the artistic freedom to exceed my expectations and to meet his.
What was the initial concept?
He wanted a state-of-the-art yacht with an interior to show his modern-art collection to its greatest advantage. I wanted the interior to be modern, warm, and personal, depleted of clutter and embellishments, yet rich in detail. Bill inspires people naturally. I wanted his boat to do the same.
How did you choose titanium as a base material?
We used it throughout the boat, in the ceilings, furniture, hardware, and railings. I like the titanium ceilings. They provide a muted reflective surface for the interior volumes that I find compelling. Almost all of the furniture on board was designed by me for ‘Sybaris.’ Many pieces have components cast in bronze or titanium. There are challenges with titanium. The material is strong and resilient but can be difficult to work with.
Were you happy with the results?
Whether the titanium was welded, cut, cast, or folded, Genesis Yachtline and Perini Navi supervised the work excellently. They were successful at every turn.
Your favorite feature?
The large cockpit table on the aft deck. It is made of concentric titanium rings and is mimicked in a tempered reflection in the titanium ceiling above. The design is based on an unfurling rose, a meaningful emblem for the Duker family.