Images: Justin Ratcliffe

THE NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam. The opening session of day two at the Global Superyacht Forum (GSF) 2013 delved into the world of glass and its application in yacht design by drawing on the experience of three distinguished glass experts: James O ‘Callaghan (Eckersley O’Callaghan), Waguih Ishak (Corning) and Jan Wurm (Arup).

Structural engineer and designer James O’Callaghan offered special insight following his five-year collaboration on Feadship’s 78m Venus for Steve Jobs, which features massive plates of strip glazing with some panes measuring up to 4.5m x 3m. Eckersley O’Callaghan was taken on as consultants having worked closely with Apple on the innovative use of Sentry glass for their retail stores around the world.

“Steve Jobs was obviously fascinated by glass, but I knew next to nothing about superyachts,” commented O’Callaghan. “He contracted us because he thought that if he asked the boat people, they would say it couldn’t be done. Instead, we embraced the ideas we’d developed using large-format glass and applied them to Venus.”

A recent development that Eckersley O’Callaghan is working with is so-called Gorilla glass, produced by specialist manufacturer Corning. This chemically toughened glass has had its atomic structure reconfigured to make it stronger and more resistant. It is an exciting product for Waguih Ishak, who began his presentation with a breathtaking video entitled A Day Made of Glass that revealed the many future uses of this and other types of display glass as an interactive medium in IT applications, offering an unsurpassed visual and sensory experience.

“Glass is a critical component of today’s interactive, device-oriented, connected world,” said Ishak. “We design advanced glass at a molecular level so that it is adaptable, scalable and durable, while being compatible with nearly every display need.”

At the forefront of glass engineering, Arup has collaborated on many groundbreaking architectural projects around the world. Jan Wurm had joined earlier sessions on the first day of GSF and admitted that he found it very inspiring to be a partner in the yachting industry for the day. “I see a lot of potential for cross fertilization and to create something truly exciting,” he said.

Much of his work in land-based architecture has focused around the dual issues of protection and openness and the relationship between interior and exterior spaces – a central theme in yacht design.

The session concluded with questions from the floor of which the dominant theme was issues regarding Class regulations. O’Callaghan admitted that safety factors required by regulations in the yachting industry are generally higher than in civil architecture, but remarked that this is not necessarily a bad idea in the potentially hostile marine environment.

Read more about the design aspects presented during GSF in the next issue of SuperyachtDesign, Q18 out in March.