Step on board any superyacht today and the senses are exposed to a wide range of materials, textures and aromas. While the majority of these will have been sourced from far and wide, there are instances where the weight of the material is impractical or the desired material can’t be manipulated to meet the brief. It is in these scenarios when faux-painted effects can provide the ideal solution.

 Staircase on board Project 809

In a recent tour of the Van Lent and De Vries shipyards, following the Global Superyacht Forum, we were given the opportunity to view the progress of Project 809 — Feadship’s 66.2m motoryacht due to be launched in January 2016. During the tour we saw the installation of an elegant free-standing marble staircase with structural glass banisters that extends from the main deck to the sundeck. Due to the curvature and weight of the spiral structure, only the steps have been made from marble, while a faux marble effect painted onto a lighter and more manipulative material to form the sides of the staircase.

The same approach was applied on board 47.6m sloop Wisp, built by Royal Huisman. At the foot of the owner’s private deckhouse is a rotunda with faux-painted marble plaster walls and dome, and painted seahorses are featured on the base of the circular ceiling. “We have the most amazing faux plaster painter,” explains designer Jonathan Rhoades of Rhoades Young, which created the interior design of Wisp. “He’s done some beautiful artwork in the owner’s cabin and we’ve done a number of projects with him. On lots of our carbon boats he paints a wood-effect, such as with the transom on Hetairos. He also painted this same effect along the cap rails, and you would not know any different.”

 Detail on board Wisp

Faux painted effects are a great way of achieving a specific look on board and allows designers and owners to reach exactly the right shade and tone of a material, for instance when selecting a particular type of marble finish, without having to deal with the issues of weight. While there are some limitations, it is an approach that will allow a team to do things that would otherwise not be possible.