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In Profile:
Callies Gräfe Design

In Profile:

Callies Gräfe Design

Shortlisted: Private Jet Design - Concept Award

The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2024

The International Yacht & Aviation Awards
Callies Gräfe Design

Name: Tim Callies


Position within company: OWNER


Tell us a little about your background in design:
I graduated with a degree in architecture from the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Düsseldorf in 2004. After 2.5 years working as an architect and interior designer in a renowned architectural office in Düsseldorf, I was offered a position as a designer for VIP aircraft cabins at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg in 2006. There I learnt my basics in the Business Aviation World and was, amongst other projects,  responsible for the design of the German Airforce Airbus A340.

In 2009, I was headhunted by Comlux AG in Switzerland and worked there as lead designer for VIP business jet interiors. During this time, I worked on numerous VIP cabin designs, including ACJ 320 and 321 models as well as Boeing 737s and Bombardier, Gulfstream and Embraer aircraft types.

In 2013 I founded my own design office CALLIES DESIGN. In 2016, my former fellow student Marc Gräfe joined me and we founded CALLIES GRÄFE DESIGN. In addition to designs for business jet cabins, we also develop interior design and architectural concepts for exclusive private villas and offices.

How would you describe your personal design style?
I find it difficult to describe a personal design style. Since my beginnings as a designer for Business Aviation World, I have been able to get to know countless different clients from different cultural backgrounds. Early on in my design career, I set myself the goal of providing the best possible service to each client by not focussing on my personal taste during the design process, but by developing a concept that meets the client’s wishes and expectations. In the course of my career, I have created a wide variety of designs – from very modern, to classically modern, but also pompous and playful. Basically, however, my personal taste tends to range from modern to purist.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
I get my design inspiration from traveling to different countries with different cultures, each of which has developed its own unique design language. I also enjoy researching new inspirations on the internet, visiting new bars, restaurants or hotels and going to design fairs.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think that we architects, interior architects and designers have become more and more aware in recent years that we have a great responsibility in how we build houses and furnish rooms, be it for offices, hotels or apartments or airplanes and yachts. It is no longer about developing a great, exclusive design, but also about how we implement it in the most environmentally conscious and resource-saving way possible. Basically, if you regularly visit design fairs, you notice that, as in fashion, design trends repeat themselves. And yet there is a move towards a more conscious approach to the materials used. New, more environmentally friendly materials are being developed. Products are being recycled and reused in new forms. It is up to us to pass on this awareness to our customers and to develop a convincing but resource-saving design.

Callies Gräfe Design
Callies Gräfe Design
Callies Gräfe Design
Callies Gräfe Design

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Not overwhelm the customer with finished, photorealistic renderings at the first or second meeting. In the many different customer meetings I have had, I have learnt that most customers still appreciate the classic craft of a hand-drawn sketch. In most cases, a well-crafted sketch is more useful for entering into a creative dialogue with the customer. A sketch gives the other person scope to discover something in the drawing and to develop it further in their imagination. In most cases, this leads more quickly to a result that convinces the customer. A finished simulation in photo quality, on the other hand, hinders this creative exchange of ideas and thoughts. You either like the rendering straight away or you don’t.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?
I think my first widebody project, the Airbus A340 for the German government, is the one I remember most impressively. Firstly because it was my first big project and secondly because I had the honour of working for the German Airforce at the beginning of my design career, knowing that in the future high-ranking politicians would be sitting in an aircraft cabin that I had designed.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
My very first project for Lufthansa Technik was also the most challenging. My architecture studies were focussed on a very modern, future-oriented, innovative design language and my first years in the interior design department of the renowned architecture firm also shaped me with a very modern to almost purist design orientation.  When I was given my first project at Lufthansa Technik, the client wanted a pompous design with columns, gold applications, wood panelling, etc. I was very impressed. As we like to say, I kept “breaking the pen” in the first few weeks and was already on the verge of resigning. On top of that, I had only learnt broken school English, and at the first customer meeting my language failed me and I couldn’t think of a complete sentence in English. Fortunately, my colleagues were able to support me…

Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
Chocolate, Coffee, Music and Audiobooks

How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards?
The awards are a great opportunity to make yourself and your design known to others. It’s a very effective way to expand your network and get in touch with like-minded people. The entries in the various categories are inspiring and I look forward to sharing them with colleagues from the industry.

What projects are you currently working on?
Among other things, I am currently working on a material concept for a Falcon 6X. A design concept for a European airline and a design for several FBO private customer lounges in Germany.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Moving with my family into a farmhouse close to Hamburg and enjoying the new live in the nature with my two sons and my wife.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession?

Your favourite holiday destination?

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
7132 Hotel Vals, Switzerland; Mama Lisi Restaurant, Düsseldorf; River Side Hotel Bar in Hamburg with the view on the harbour night life.

Your favourite book, film & song?
J.R.R. Tolkien – the Hobbit; Zack Snyder –  Watchmen; The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build A Home

Your favourite food and drink?
Fresh Mango with sticky rice, topped with palm sugar sauce – so yummy…

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Playing with my kids outside.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A Doctor in Medicine.

Callies Gräfe Design

Callies Gräfe Design & Camber Aviation Management have been shortlisted for Private Jet Design – Concept in The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2024.

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