Having celebrated six years at The Superyacht Group in January, I’m beginning to feel like part of the furniture. But that might suggest a notion of being static, whereas, like most people in this industry, I feel in a state of constant evolution, just like design itself.
Take the development of the Polar Code for example, it is a small aspect of the industry but it hints at a future where the term expedition yacht could actually hold some measure of meaning. Today the term is used loosely, with a number of so-called ‘explorer’ vessels looking the part but falling short on ability. It is all a bit like adding go-faster stripes to your car — it might give the appearance of enhanced performance but it won’t get you off the line any quicker.
Superyacht toys are certainly evolving. Where once all the fun took place on the water’s surface, we’re now seeing owners descending beneath the waves in their own private submarines. These machines have evolved from a lump of metal with a small window into panoramic viewing platforms for breath-taking ocean exploration.
Stools by Victoria Bain
We see so many concepts from studios around the world, but only a few successfully challenge the norm and suggest something truly different. I’m not just referring to the big ideas but also the details that enhance a design and elevate it to the next level. The most recent piece of marketing from Volvo summarises it well.
“It’s very often not about the big gestures, it is much more when you do smaller, more precise things. In the detail is very often the beauty,” narrates Swedish conductor Marie Rosenmir about the new Volvo V40. Detail is pivotal to any great design, especially when looking at furniture or product pieces, but what is the practical criteria for products on board and what are the lessons that could be learnt?
“Everything always looks great when you first set up a boat, but after just the first season things can look horrendous,” says Zyanya Sebastian, purser of Cloudbreak. To ensure an interior meets the standard expected by the owner and their guests, requires a good understand of room dressing by crew but also an understanding by the designer and decorator of how it will be used. Materials, fabrics and creative space-saving solutions have come a long way over the years, although these new subtle incorporations to the interior are often harder to detect than one might think as many are purposely concealed.
Over the course of my six years, it has often been said that our industry is slow moving, but the reality is we are developing in an organic manner — we just need to take a moment to appreciate the progress made. Good yacht design is often a case of evolution rather than revolution, as it allows the practicalities of a design to catch up with the aesthetics that are eye-catching.