Owner and designer worlds are firmly linked, and sometimes even merge completely, as in the case of Veronika Blomgren, a Russian interior designer who bought and restored an Indonesian Phinisi boat, transforming it into Alexa, a single cabin 31m yacht which she uses both for herself and for charter. She will be speaking at SuperyachtDESIGN Week 2016, taking place from 28-30 June, and The Superyacht Owner was lucky enough to catch her before the big event to hear about her journey from designer to owner.
Blomgren found her design feet 16 years ago in her home town of Moscow where she opened a design school with her mother. “Interior design didn’t exist at that time in Russia so it was a big adventure. But now, it’s doing really well, in fact, it’s the biggest school of its kind in the country.” This entrepreneurial streak has clearly stayed with her ever since. “I have a weird character trait, where if I can’t find something in life, I make it myself.”
A prime example of this happening in real terms is with S/Y Alexa. Having visited Komodo National Park and the surrounding area, she fell in love with the region, but found there were no decent boats to hire “apart from old fisherman boats with cockroaches and no bathrooms.” After asking around to find out the costs involved in building her own, she took the leap and bought an old cargo boat. “It was really just a hull,” she says. “So I designed everything else. I tried to work with a naval architect but I didn’t enjoy it – he was very stuck to his limits and traditions."
The sole cabin on board S/Y Alexa
Blomgren also found herself meeting with lots of disapproval for even contemplating a single cabin yacht. “I have proved them wrong,” says Blomgren simply. “I wanted to do something different and I knew it would be a unique offering for charter.”
Indeed, the boat has already proved a hit with English royalty, honeymooners and Asian expats and the future looks bright, with Blomgren already sketching out designs for more. “It will take years before there are enough boats in Indonesia. The market is open.”
To view the full programme for SuperyachtDESIGN Week, click here.