High rollers and flyers

Interior designer Edése Doret likes to keep his clients in the lap of luxury, even if they are 40,000ft in the air

Interior designer Edése Doret likes to keep his clients in the lap of luxury, even if they are 40,000ft in the air

Not a lot of people can afford Edése Doret, but there are enough billionaires in the world to keep him busy. Right now the world’s preferred designer of the super-rich is working on the interior of a Boeing Dreamliner for the Seattle-based aerospace giant in a project that will eventually cost the owner of the plane about $260m.

Breaking it down, that’s $180m for the aircraft (the Dreamliner will be launched in 2015) and at least $80m for the interior provided by Doret’s design company. Remarkably, the interior design will take longer to build than the actual plane.

Doret, founder and head of his eponymous, New York-based firm, is the go-to man for designing privately owned jets. His studio has created some 30 sub-sonic interiors including a flying casino in a Lockheed 1011-500 for an unnamed Las Vegas-based gaming company and, his current masterpiece to date, a double-decker A380 Airbus for Saudi’s Prince Al Waleed Bin Talai.

The A380 transports the Sheik and members of his household around the world in considerable comfort. The plane boasts a 12-seater dining room, two spacious lounges, a private apartment reached by an elegant staircase and a special space that aims to reconnect the Sheikh with the desert while he’s up in the air. Fitted with curtains that resemble tents, the room has everything except camels and date palms.

For the upcoming Dreamliner – Doret, a New Yorker by birth – will bring a bit of earth into the sky. In a feature that apparently complies with the strict airworthiness regulations of the Federal Aviation Authority; he’s covering four bulkheads with leaf-bearing foliage in what he calls “living walls”.

A graduate of Pratt Institute’s school of art and design, Doret is largely self-taught with his own winning philosophy. Essentially, he likes to make clients feel they’re still on terra firma even they’re on the planes, boats and trains in which he specialises. “When you enter my airplane it feels more like you are in a yacht or a boutique hotel or a high-end New York apartment whether it has a classic style or a very modern style,” he told America’s New Vision in Business magazine.

At least as much an entrepreneur as a designer, Doret spends half his time on the road. He has offices in the Gulf and Europe as well as New York. When The New Economy spoke with him about the flying casino, a particularly tricky project because it had to comply with Nevada’s strict gaming laws as well as with the FAA’s safety regulations, Doret was working on a new project in Dominica for an unnamed entrepreneur.

The designer starts by spending time with clients to understand their lifestyle choices.

Then he goes to work on concept designs, first on paper, next in mock-ups and finally the real thing. The final execution is then completed by aviation specialists in everything from seat design to sound proofing.

Doret’s design expertise isn’t just confined just to airplanes. The company has extensive experience in designing the interiors of boats and trains. One 86m yacht commissioned to the company is particularly luxurious. With an 18-seater dining table, wet room, and even a mini-spa decked out with marble floors, beautician tables and a small hot-tub.

Even at EDID’s fees, there’s no shortage of clients. The next Doret-designed A380 will be delivered to Ugandan Michael Ezra, Africa’s richest man who has a fortune estimated at just over $19bn.

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