Riza Tansu has been enjoying Art Basel in Miami. It’s full of friends and the kind of people who would be inclined to buy one of his iconic, minimal, military designs. The mood, he tells me, is upbeat.

“People who will spend around 10 million to buy my yachts haven’t really been affected too badly by the recession; they just have been careful about the perception,” he said by phone from Miami.

But he’s not had much trouble encouraging clients to place their yacht dreams with him. “We have a new 34m project, called Tigershark, under way for one of the most famous jewellery designers in the world. We’ve known each other for a few years, and we managed to develop the idea and feeling for his yacht together. She’ll be an evolution of the ‘mothership’ series.”

Riza Tansu reveals little of the forthcoming projects Cutlass, Thunderbolt and So'Mar

After his undeniably sexy second ‘mothership’ Nomade (now Bartender) sold within weeks of its unveiling a couple years ago, Tansu’s studio has been busy doing what it does best: generating yacht design concepts with exterior styling and interior design. Tansu Yachts exhibited at the Monaco Yacht Show for the first time this past autumn, and he’s increased his design staff to a permanent six people. His business has furthered the relationship with the naval architecture firm Diana who completes the architecture phase of the project, and for the steel and aluminium projects, Tansu is again working with their preferred marine engineers, Endaze, who deliver the production drawings. In his two yards in Istanbul, he has a further nearly sixty people hard at work building.

While the design for Tigershark remains under wraps (Tansu says they’re nearly ready to send the designs to Diana), the next mothership in the series, the 39.3m Cutlass is well under way and due for delivery in October 2014. Making use of the size upgrade from Bartender, (she’s just under 300gt), Cutlass will have a full internal staircase and will accommodate ten guests and seven crew.

Tansu has put Vixen, his own personal yacht project on hold while he gives priority to Tigershark. But you know it won’t be long before he returns to it: Vixen is being designed by Tansu, for himself, so it will be a statement of sparing design, with only three bedrooms and a relatively small salon. “The most important thing about Vixen is that she will be able to carry a Zodiac Hurricane on her aft boat deck,” Tansu says. Like all of his yachts, Vixen will be a masculine, easy to use adventurer that carries its tender proudly on an open boat deck for quick launch and stowage.

Tansu also has two new wood composite projects underway, after last year’s Only Now, a remarkable, open concept beachhouse style vessel met with multiple enquiries. The 38.75m Thunderbolt and the 37.6m So'Mar are both scheduled for delivery next summer.

Only Now, last year's distinctive wood composite delivery from Tansu Design

One thing Tansu has learned is that his highly distinctive design style has its fans in the wider yacht design fraternity. “Everybody says that it’s flattery to be imitated, but I don’t think that way. I get mad at designers who seem to be copying my designs. I tell them to come up with new things. So I’m careful now and you’ll see that even when we announce a new design, it’s shrouded a bit in shadow.”

And yet, somehow, these concepts, half in shadow, still manage to look fresh, new, intriguing. It’s a testament to brilliant design.

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