Creating harmony between aesthetic and functional

The interior of a superyacht is where the owner and their guests will spend most of their time. Its design influences the whole atmosphere of a vessel, and therefore the happiness of those on board. Because of this, opulence is commonplace, with rare artwork and bespoke furnishings forming a large portion of the decoration costs. But though extreme luxury is the goal, the sea-based nature of a yacht means that there are certain practical measures that must be met.

So, what are the most important considerations observed by clients, designers, shipyards and manufacturers when designing a yacht’s interior?

From the perspective of the owner, it is a given that today’s superyachts will include a number of extravagant features, such as open fireplaces and fountains and other eye-catching features. This is not forgetting the popular addition of an entire spa and wellness area, which is seen as a “must have” despite the valuable amount of space it takes up on board.

Designers are getting more and more exotic with regards to the materials that they use to create these features, including glass, rare stones, precious metals and even animal skins such as crocodile and alligator. What’s more, sculpture-like detail is given to every item. Stairs (for example) are never just stairs; they are yet another way for the owner to display his/her personality and good taste. As such, luxurious designs such as steps made from glass or handrails with large ornate chandeliers are common. This bespoke attitude trickles down to every possible feature of the yacht.

On the other hand, there are SOLAS regulations to consider, and the need to keep everything running safely and performing at optimum levels. The vast amount of different designs and technologies on board can create an extraordinarily complex, hard-to-manage facility. But the juxtaposition between the aesthetic and the practical often makes achieving harmony particularly difficult. After all, it’s not only crucial that behind-the-scenes systems such as ventilation are in place, it’s also essential that all design possibilities are considered through the skillful use of light technology and entertainment devices (including speakers, screens, control panels and more). Bringing everything together smoothly is no easy task.

The designers, shipyards and all other companies involved in the construction of ship interiors must constantly develop their expertise and processes to overcome these new challenges and provide sophisticated, out-of-the-box solutions. The order of creation should also be taken into account; what needs to be designed/installed first, and what does it make sense to wait till later for? Space on board a yacht is at such a premium that designers cannot afford to miss a trick when it comes to managing ‘must-haves’ for the owner with must-haves as regulated by the IMO.

It is hardly surprising that there are fewer and fewer shipyards that can cope with these challenges, and that specialists with unique solutions to create harmonious interiors are in such high demand. Luckily contradiction will not always occur, as solutions such as the flammability composite technology later in this magazine prove. But in the main, there will tend to be some kind of compromise.

I hope (and believe) that in 2018, there will be more focus on specialist design and technology solutions which eradicate these compromises, finally allowing yacht owners to achieve the look of their desires, wherever they are inside the yacht. So much of this year’s new technology aims to solve some kind of design issue for owners, captains and crew, and that is why it is so important that it is explained in this advisory edition of Superyacht Technology News – so that those who find themselves making compromises onboard can find preferable new ways to keep the balance between aesthetic and functional.

Article by Alexander Höfling


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