Stepping on board a superyacht it is easy to be wowed by the glossy surfaces, plush carpets and extravagant décor. But some materials used to fit out a vessels’ interior, that to an observer are just another element to the yacht’s elaborate decoration, can be a major headache for crew. The ease with which a crewmember can clean a yacht varies hugely between materials and begs the question of whether this factor is a big enough consideration in the design and build process.

“The validity of the yacht’s interior design decisions is best judged after the vessel has served her guests and owner at sea,” explains Adriel Rollins, managing director of Adriel Design. “The real art is conveying the mindset of the owner, crew and builders at that point to a group of people who do not yet know how they will feel about the burden of cleaning, repairing and sometimes replacing elements of the interior.”

Some owners, however, will not be thinking about the appearance of a particular type of wood in the cabins or choice of tiles in the bathrooms after two years of charter. Designers, too, can face this problem and this is where crew and their respective and collective experiences of cleaning and maintaining an interior can help. “When we as designers have the full gamut of presentation media, which allows for touch, smell and feel of a full size space, we are still standing on one side of the chasm. Imaging the condition of a material, finish or space after years of use, many cycles of cleaning and occasional abuse requires another leap in thought,” reflects Rollins.

It all comes down to consideration of the end user and, when it comes to the superyacht industry, the crew must be included in this category. To ignore their role is to utterly misjudge the industry. “For some time now I have been discussing the virtues of designs which consider the behavior of their end users. But now we are asking ourselves what the end really means. Is a yacht commissioned by an owner used by only one person? Do the needs of the crew ultimately affect the enjoyment of the owner? Can the design fulfill the needs of the owner and crew in tandem? And what about the yard?” questions Rollins. “They certainly have a stake in the outcome of the yacht’s ability to ‘stay new’. Along with a yacht’s seaworthiness, yards often find themselves in the middle of discussions regarding material choice, upkeep and deterioration, especially during the warranty period.”

There are, of course, a plethora of areas that must be included for consideration when it comes to a yacht’s design and upkeep, but the element of ease of upkeep is something that is, according to crew, not necessarily considered enough. “Yacht designers should design holistically in a manner that addresses these concerns as part of the flow of design process throughout the project. Instead of singling out the elements of maintenance as a layer of auditing materials and joinery, consider the interior space as a series of events, which definitely includes cleaning, repairing and replacing,” concludes Rollins. “The right salon or owner’s suite is not just a space that fits the design brief of how the owner wishes to use the space, but further considers the needs of everyone else that interacts with the space.”

This is just one of a plethora of discussions that will arise at SuperyachtDESIGN Week. To take part in the keynotes and workshop discussion, register your VIP place today by clicking here, or contacting Suzie Hine on +44 207 801 1014.

Images: Usher (ex Mr. Terrible), courtesy of Adriel Design

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