Keeping up with the Bachmanns


 In Roseman’s job, he is continually challenged to make the impossible work and it never ceases to amaze him as to what kind of talent and expertise is available when money is no object.

Although many individuals that purchase private jets often order them for business purposes, when Thomas T. Bachmann, a Swiss industrialist from Zurich, first moved to the United States with his wife and family, he decided to buy a family jet. The Bachmanns own homes in Los Angeles, the Bahamas, and Zurich, and also spend a lot of time in New York. Naturally, a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) was the obvious choice for convenient international travel. Bachmann, a family man, has always been concerned with keeping close ties with his family, as well as with his wife’s large extended family, back in Los Angeles. Because Bachmann knew that he and his family would be spending a large chunk of their time in the confines of a relatively small aircraft, he decided to hire Rick Roseman of RWR Designs Ltd., a design firm working exclusively with private jets, to fully design and furnish its interior.

The entire process of designing a private jet interior is very lengthy and really is quite an ordeal. With Bachmann’s jet, “it took five-and-a-half months from contract signing to completion, which is about normal for a BBJ of that size,” Roseman explains. “In the creative stages, the company must get sign offs on all mockups and renderings. Once everything is signed off, there is a design freeze, and at this point, everything is approved and these renderings are what the company will go ahead with and build. Of course, changes can be made after everything has been signed off, but it will usually cost the owner a considerably larger sum of money.”

So how much does it cost for your very own personalized jet interior? “About $13-15 million for the interior of a BBJ measuring roughly 11 by 100 feet, and between $30 million and $60 million for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner interior,” says Roseman. The base price of a standard BBJ is $50 million and 787 jets will run you around $120 million, so if you’re already shelling out a large sum of money, you might as well do it right from top to bottom.

Although it may seem a little costly, at least you’ll know that when you decide to go with RWR Design Ltd., you are their top priority and will get the full service and attention you deserve. “We work on only two to three large projects per year,” says Roseman. “It takes five-and-a-half months to come up with the designs and one year for construction.”

Each client has unique requests and equally unique ideas for what they envision as the outcome of the finished product. For instance, in Bachmann’s case, their family dog Charlie’s safety could not be overlooked when it came to building their custom aircraft. “They carried Charlie with them everywhere,” says Roseman. “They insisted that we include a drop down oxygen mask in the aircraft that reached floor level for their dog.”

In Roseman’s job, he is continually challenged to make the impossible work and it never ceases to amaze him as to what kind of talent and expertise is available when money is no object. “Some companies want to fall back on recurring engineering-stuff that’s already out there, or that their company has already done. Our clients want something unique that isn’t already out there, indigenous to their own personal lives.”

Bachmann requested the ultimate in comfort when it came to sleeping arrangements. Roseman’s company came up with a design plan for a self-leveling bed, designed to tilt three degrees after takeoff in order to compensate for the normal three degrees nose-up altitude while in flight. “He also wanted a desk, but he didn’t want it to be there all the time,” explains Roseman. “He told me ‘I want a desk that folds out of the side ledge.’ So I told him we would try our best. We spent $250,000 in engineering alone because there were so many requirements. It had to fit seamlessly into the wall and had to be very quiet, not to mention the rigorous certification requirements. An additional $250,000 was spent in the fabrication of the actual desk.”

Roseman incorporated a number of unique elements throughout the interior, such as silk carpeting in the bedroom, Anigre woodwork with platinum inlay throughout the interior, and completely custom-made furniture. All glasswork, including light fixtures, perfume holders, and candy bowls, were hand blown by Dale Chihuly, the Washington-based artist behind the glass installation in the lobby of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Another personal touch is the artwork; all paintings are done by Bachmann’s sister-in-law, Fariba Cain, a notable Los Angeles artist.

Roseman found this project particularly interesting because Bachmann was very involved and loved the design aspect. This kind of close relationship that Roseman develops with his clients runs true on just about every account that they land, although “it was more about lifestyle with Bachmann,” explains Roseman. “We started working with Bachmann and spent a lot more time with him than with most of our clients. He wanted to get to know me. I visited his home, traveled with him, and met his family. It took a few months, but at the end of the day, we had a very good rapport.”

Although some clients are less available and therefore give less input due to work commitments and hectic daily schedules, many customers like the idea that they can offer their own creative input. Roseman works hard to establish close relationships with his clients so that at the end of the day, the client is happy with the final product.