In 2012, Moore Yacht Design presented a wasp-like yellow and black 40m sloop with a hull influenced by the form of a cheetah; something that is most evident towards the aft of the vessel. “This section has elegant haunches that create the impression of movement, even when the yacht is stationary,” explained Andy Moore in SuperyachtDesign Q13.
The sails take their cue from the look of insect’s wings and take on a similar pattern, while the stepped style of the superstructure was inspired by the bony plates of an armadillo. Even the windows on this sailing yacht were designed to look like the eyes of a predator.
The shape of glass was an important factor in the exterior design of 46m Exo, a sailing yacht designed by Claydon Reeves in the same year. For this concept the designers looked to plant life for direction and chose to explore the complex structure of interconnected roots that hold large rain forest trees in place. “Not only does the long vertical trunk represent the mast, but the root ball forms the hull, providing strength and the support for the vertical structure,” explained Mike Reeves at the unveiling of the design.
Nature not only provides a limitless world of formal inspiration but through biomimicry, designers can also find sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s well-tested patterns and strategies. In 2010, Feadship’s Future Concept project saw its design team turn to biomimicry to create the 62m motoryacht Breathe. Using the science behind the natural ventilation system used by zebras, where the black and white stripes of the animal create variations in air temperature just above the surface of the skin, in turn creating an air current and natural cooling system that surrounds the zebra, the yacht uses a light hull and dark shells and funnels to create a natural flow of air on the outside decks. This generates a comfortable al fresco climate and reduces the use of air conditioning.
Nature has also inspired the interior of yachts, with the most recent example being 32.6m Inukshuk launched in 2013. Designed by Adam Lay Studios, the choice of furniture, colours and textures applied were all inspired by the wilderness of North America. We have also come across a number of furniture inspired by nature such as Joseph Walsh’s Erosion III dining table, which is part of the studio's Formations & Layering concept collection, and the more literal pieces such as the Octopus Chair from the Animal Chair collection by Spanish artist Maximo Riera. In the case of Euphoria, Gusev was inspired by a handful of aquatic life but primarily by the streamlined shape of a dolphin.
These are just a handful of designs that have been inspired by nature though. Talk to any designer and they will have countless examples of how they have turned to the natural world for aesthetic and practical solutions over the years. And as man made technology progresses, the way natural influences can be incorporated and adapted is no doubt only going to progress as well.