Few would argue that glass has become increasingly important when it comes to the design of superyacht superstructures in recent years. Early pioneering designs such as motor yacht Eco pushed the boundaries of what glass technology could do shape-wise at the time, but there remained a more fundamental problem – glass technology struggled to produce large single panes that could open the door to mullion-free profiles and, perhaps more importantly, a far greater connection for those inside to their surroundings.
New methods and processes – some developed for architectural use and others in other industries such as consumer electronics – have opened up new possibilities for large glass sheets and more complicated shaping. In addition, proving the concept of glass as a structurally capable material means that use on glass on superyachts – from floor to ceiling windows and even underwater viewing lounges – is entering a new era.
Among the many glass specialists developing these new products is Italian company Isoclima, who have built something of a reputation in the fields of toughened glass, transparent armour and high-performance products across a range of industries since their inception in 1977. At METSTRADE in November, they announced a new addition to their marine range in the form of an extra-large marine window. In fact, Isoclima claim it is the largest single-piece pane currently available to the marine market, measuring up to 4.1m by 2.3m.
“This new ISOCLIMA marine product is significantly larger and more complex than any other in the marine window space,” Isoclima says, “while still guaranteeing the necessary optical clarity and high-quality construction typically required for wheelhouse windows in the world’s top super yacht applications.”
The glass is formed using a combination of two key technologies – structural interlayering and top-level glass chemical toughening – to produce giant panes that can be manufactured into complex shapes and structures. This means that the glass can be used not only for large windows from guest areas, but also potentially for obstruction-free viewing on the bridge, where ease of visibility for the bridge crew is key to the safe operation of the yacht.
“Our pursuit of perfect glass design and unique manufacturing capabilities are what have helped the company to create this first-of-its-kind window. This new product opens up design capabilities for shipbuilders," say Isoclima. "For the first time, one single glass panel can now cover enough surface area to be used as both the frontal and side windows of a particular ship, thanks to our leading manufacturing and glass bending capabilities with complex and large-sized panels. Naval architects will also appreciate the added benefit of these panels acting as structural glass, allowing a reduction in the number of vertical mullions usually required to grant structural support in marine applications.”
For more on glass technology, it’s evolution and what is possible for today’s superyachts, make sure you read out feature in issue 180 of The Superyacht Report. Have you subscribed to The ‘new’ Superyacht Report? If you are a captain, owner, yacht manager, chief engineer, first officer, broker, designer, senior shipyard management, an owner’s representative, investor, or a family office, you are eligible for a complimentary annual subscription to the only superyacht industry publication worth reading. To apply for your VIP subscription, click here.