Philippe was born into a family where racing is a long-established tradition. Inspired by his father, an Olympian sailor, Philippe began his career in La Rochelle, France as a dinghy sailor at the tender age of 9. He designed his first sailing yacht when he was just 16 years old. By the age of 22 he had developed his first series yacht and he was soon sailing his own designs. Over the following decades Philippe grew into a skilled and talented helmsman winning several World Championships, including the Half Ton Cup and the One Ton Cup during the 1980’s.
His success as a sailor led him to both design and race for the world famous America’s Cup. This esteemed race is often described as the yacht designers Everest and Philippe went on to design a total of 8 America’s Cup yachts from 1986 to 2000, including winners such as French Kiss” and “Ville de Paris”. In 2003 Briand’s design of the “Mari-Cha IV” proved to be the fastest monohull in the world after the boat broke the trans-Atlantic world record, crossing the ocean in 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes. Her success has lead to an iconic status and she has become an industry acknowledged benchmark for other super yachts.
Mari-Cha III was Philippe’s first foray into the world of super yachts. She was the first of his designs to combine speed, comfort and size. The evolution of boat design has continued towards larger yachts with more volume. The demand for boats that not only are raced in regattas but are also used by owners as private holiday retreats has somewhat increased.
Throughout his career Philippe has become known for his expertise in designing streamlined, fast hulls. For Philippe, sea worthiness is the essence of naval architecture and thus the essential requirement in yacht design is the hull. Philippe firmly believes expertise is not only an accentuation of experience; to build on experience only would lead to a tunnel vision. Therefore all custom yachts are tank tested and if required submitted to wind tunnel testing.
Philippe’s designs have won ‘Design of the Year’ award three times and to date more than 10,000 Philippe Briand designed yachts have been produced. The only naval architect to combine both designing and racing yachts, Philippe’s long and successful career is renowned and he is widely respected within the design industry.
As a designer, Philippe is an admirer of Tadao Ando and Piero Lissoni, believing in their approach to creating the perfect balance of space and volume. From an architectural standpoint, Calatrava’s use of structure as a feature is in line with Philippe’s approach to the concept. Wherever possible Philippe collaborates with his good friend Christian Liaigre and is also currently working on several projects with Andrew Winch and Wetzels Brown partners.