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The Future of Design: What’s next?

2 November 2010By Janine Ketterer

As we plough ahead into the next month, year and even decade, there are new and exciting yacht design trends on the horizon. This topic was covered at the 2010 Superyacht Design Symposium, hosted by Boat International Media.

Greg Marshall of Greg Marshall Designs maintains that clients have changed. Owners and guests are no longer looking for a vessel that sits at a marina as a floating hotel; the yacht will be their chosen mode of transportation to take them out into a world they are excited to experience.

Design for the experience

The experience is key. Marshall believes that the next generation of yacht owners want to participate in the world around them. They want adventurous superyachts. But what exactly does that entail?

Owners don’t want to look at their “stuff,” comments Marshall. Instead, they want to observe the natural beauty surrounding the vessel. Marshall’s designs feature low or step-down furniture so to not impede the view from on board. A bed on the sun deck can be lowered or raised as guests see fit.

Use space in new and different ways

Marshall also feels it’s important to utilize space in new and different ways. A passageway on the new 45-meter Big Fish is not just a passageway, but also offers a seating area where someone might kick back and read a book while underway. This space is also perfect for viewing whales and other sea life while cruising. (See photo below) Dan Lenard of Nuvolari-Lenard agrees, saying that unexpected spaces should be used for something different than their intended purpose. A corridor will be more than just a walkway from room to room by adding small touches to create a completely new experience for owners and guests.

Another feature of Big Fish is the large video-screen wall that runs from the bottom deck to the top in the midship area. Able to showcase photos from the day’s adventures or a relaxing waterfall, the multi-function, multimedia wall brings a unique air to the vessel. The video wall also can be used to view movies; the staircase in front can be raised, offering better viewing. On the next vessel commissioned by owner Richard Beattie, the 50-meter M/Y Starfish, all the ceilings in the vessel will feature these screens. The screens will be connected to cameras that, on the whim of the guests, can show clouds passing by or feature the full moon over the dining room table.

Beaches are another trend on yachts. Fold out and even removable floating barges offer more space for docking tenders and easier access for diving and swimming. Starfish will feature a motorized, removable barge that will be housed over the aft deck pool. The barge can be attached to the vessel or completely removed allowing guests to enjoy massages far from the yacht or spend a romantic dinner out on the ocean.

No division between outside and inside

Marshall brings the outside in and connects the spaces. Many of his design ideas feature balconies and outdoor areas attached to each guest room, offering the option of indoor or outdoor accommodations. Lenard agrees as he says the exterior and interior of a vessel should flow and relate to one another. Marshall has incorporated both indoor and outdoor spaces on all decks, allowing guests who prefer cooler, more shaded areas the option while other guests can sit in the sun while still engaging with those in shade or inside.

There is little art on Big Fish. The natural beauty outside the yacht is meant to be the focal point. Large windows encapsulate the master stateroom, offering magnificent views; there is no need for photographs, paintings or pictures when you’re in a secluded Tahitian bay offering some of the most stunning views in the world. Lenard agrees with this take on décor and says that a less is more approach is necessary. Fewer materials in a room offer the ability to produce more emotion. Lenard suggests letting space be the main feature of a room.

Social responsibility

Big Fish introduces us to stone decking. Not only is the vessel more environmentally friendly, but it also requires less maintenance from the crew. Beattie says he would rather his crew engage with the family then spend their days cleaning the teak decks.

The future of yacht design is exciting. Designers are creating spaces that work with the natural world, bring the outside in and create experiences that no hotel on land could offer. After all, people go to sea to experience being at sea and new design trends certainly are highlighting that.