1957 Onwards

“A STRAIGHT LINE IS THE CHEAPEST DISTANCE BETWEEN TWO POINTS”

So said Jon Bannenberg some forty years ago, almost certainly to a roomful of Dutch shipbuilders. They may, or may not, have held it against him ( they were allegedly the source of the story that a Bannenberg yacht cost 50% more than any other designer’s ) but it wouldn’t have made much difference to him. Jon’s entire design life was about overturning conventions and the “normal way”.

The list of famous yachts which came from his board is long, and includes Carinthia VI, numerous MY Gails, Nabila, Azteca & Paraiso, The Highlander, Coral Island, Limitless, Siran, Talitha, Thunder and Rising Sun. To name just a few. Not forgetting aircraft, houses, hotels, galleries, cruise liners. And a dentist’s surgery.

He was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in 1978, along with photographers The Earl of Snowdon and Bill Brandt. He was the first yacht designer to be so honoured since Charles Nicholson in 1944.

Shortly before he died in 2002, Jon said : “ I have been extremely privileged. I’ve had access to the world’s best engineering in shipyards around the world. I have lived a totally fulfilling life, in a form of designer’s paradise.”

We, at Bannenberg & Rowell, strive to honour his memory.

COULD YOU DO ME A GREAT PERSONAL FAVOUR …AND REFER TO ME AS WHAT I AM ? : A DESIGNER, PERHAPS A NIT-PICKING, IRRITATING ONE, BUT NONETHELESS NOT A STYLIST. THAT IS A TITLE I GRACEFULLY CONCEDE TO VIDAL SASSOON

JON BANNENBERG

  • 1950
  • 1960
  • 1970
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • Beyond
IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

After arriving in London from Australia in the mid-fifties, Jon patched a living together with theatre set design and dabbling in the decorative world, supported by playing the piano in bars and clubs. In the late-fifties, he set up Marble & Lemon, (a company named after two substances he thought sounded nice together) selling decorative antiques, in Cheval Place, Knightsbridge.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

The early 1960s saw Jon in partnership with the celebrated Bond Street antiques dealer Frank Partridge, when he would design interiors for Partridge’s clients. From working initially with London residences, Jon set up on his own, moving quickly onto homes in Greece and beyond, and thence to yachts, including his first project, the sailing yacht Tiawana.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

A decade of huge variety; from yachts to chalets, casinos to airline liveries, and the beginning of a long and enduring partnership with Heron which would see over ten yachts designed over the following years. Carinthia VI, perhaps the most iconic of all modern yachts, came off his drawing board and was built at Lürssen based on a frigate hull.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

By the 1980s, Jon’s reputation was firmly established, and operating out of his studio in Burnsall Street, Chelsea, he was designing yachts for the most high-profile individuals across the globe including Nabila for Adnan Khashoggi, The Highlander for Malcolm Forbes and Lady Ghislaine for Robert Maxwell. Aircraft, houses and hotels continued to form part of an exclusive portfolio.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

The high-water mark of a decade-long collaboration with the Oceanfast yard in Western Australia with a succession of ground-breaking yachts including Moecca and Thunder. During the same decade, from the other side of the world, Talitha G and Siran appeared at the other end of the design spectrum. For good measure, Jon created designs for a replacement Royal Yacht.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

What were to prove the final two years of Jon’s long and hugely distinguished career saw the completion of his exterior design and interior layout for Rising Sun although he would not live to see her launched at Lurssen in 2004. Multiple, his radical 50m design at Benetti, was launched on 13 April 2002, a little over a month before he died.

IT STARTS WITH ONE PERSON'S IMAGINATION

Over a life in design of over forty years, some two hundred yachts came off Jon’s drawing board ( which still sits in the B&R studio today). He wasn’t one for awards, and they were in their infancy in those decades. Instead, his legacy is, and always will be, unmatched. Bannenberg & Rowell supports a scholarship at the Royal College of Art in his name.

JON BANNENBERG: A LIFE IN DESIGN

A BOOK BY DICKIE BANNENBERG

Fifty years after Jon was appointed a designer on the QE2, his son Dickie chronicles that remarkable design journey encompassing the piano bars of Sydney, London of the 60s and shipyards and billionaires across the world.

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Total: £130 (Inc P&P) Total: £110 (Inc P&P) Total: £140 (Inc P&P)

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Package: Slipcase and shrink-wrapped | Binding: Hardback Format: 300 x 300 mm | Number of pages: 544 Number of images: 866 | ISBN: 978-0-9553253-6-6