Stephen F. Milioti -- Interior Design, 3/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Do your clients inhabit the stratospheric financial heights required for a private jet? (They're typically $35 million to $45 million.) Then you may want to emulate Keenen/Riley and take on the plane as well as the penthouse and headquarters. As for principal John Keenen, he's just completed the interior of a longtime client's Gulfstream V in a style that rises far above first class.
The jet is in the air more often than not—the owners travel frequently for business and pleasure—so Keenen chose every element with comfort in mind, from the texture of a fabric to the width of an armrest. And although most jet owners are prone to interiors that shout "money," with overstuffed chairs and Italian marble, Keenen and his client preferred serenity, not glitz. The irony is that Keenen's toned-down approach exudes wealth, too.
Partitions veneered in American walnut divide the 500 square feet of primary spaces: the cockpit, galley, main cabin, and stateroom. The sleek, light galley features white Corian counters and backsplashes, stainless-steel cabinet fronts and sink fittings, and aluminum-framed overhead storage bins that glow softly from behind acrylic rods.
For the main cabin, Keenen worked with engineers at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation to customize the six seats, four of which fold out into beds. Due to strict aircraft safety regulations, the standard chair frame can't be altered significantly, but the architect did strip it down to its bones, rebuild its contours for streamlined comfort, and upholster each in taupe calfskin. Completing the scheme are the brown leather tops and American walnut nosing of four console tables, which fold away into side pockets.
The stateroom contains two custom divans, which fold out into a large bed. Keenen upholstered them in a plush chenille whose inky blue contrasts with the light-toned main cabin. The lavender calfskin topping the stateroom's retractable console tables provides additional pop.
Particularly noteworthy are the jet's large oval windows. (At 24 inches wide by 18 high, they dwarf those of an average commercial plane, but they're standard-issue on a Gulfstream V.) Through these windows, one can see a part of the wing, the aileron, that Keenen used as the basis for his custom carpet: a pattern of overlapping ellipses in gray tones accented by purple and dark blue. "I designed the carpet first, then everything else around it," he explains. "The floor's always a good place to start." And the sky's the limit.