A design and build collaboration between Royal Huisman, ThirtyC and Dykstra Naval Architects, the 88m sailing yacht concept Lotus is twin-masted with a Dyna Rig, providing the perfect platform for an open-air cinema setup on the sun deck. Utilising the Dyna Rig as the screen, the Yacht Intelligence team were asked to develop an integrated system that would eliminate the need for bulky equipment and a complicated set-up procedure.

“While there have been other superyacht projects that have utilised projectors on the exterior before, on Lotus we wanted to hide all the equipment and avoid it being crew centric,” explains Alan Bernardi, director of Yacht Intelligence. “Open-air cinema setups on yachts normally involve a lot of time and effort on behalf of the crew to bring invasive equipment out on deck. The issue with this is that the crew will be busy setting up in a space that is normally used all day by the guests. So, we really thought through every dimension on the sun deck, including the bar, furniture and any fixed objects, with the aim of making a completely automated system.” 

In order to limit crew interference and keep any equipment discreet, Yacht Intelligence worked with a lift manufacturer to design automated lifts for the speakers, which are hiding in the furniture and yacht’s structure during the day and lift up into operation at the touch of a button. “We had one of the speakers custom designed so that it sits on the back of the curved seating area in the middle of the sun deck, acting as the central speaker, but blends in with the seat structure and doesn’t impact the yacht visually,” continues Bernardi. “The projector itself is mounted on a lift installed within the bar.”

On Lotus, the cinema system utilises the lower part of the sail on the forward mast, creating a 15m wide and 9.3m high screen. Designed to work in the early evening light as well as at night, the system features two 8K projectors to enable an 8K image. Building on the integrated design, 9.2 Surround Sound audio has been specified to come from the James Loudspeaker range, which negates the need for big on-deck speakers. Everything can be controlled via an iPad using a Crestron control system with an app, and the system is compatible with an array of movie library sources.

While the project is still at concept stage, the process of developing such a system has been valuable. “I don’t mind investing in these projects from a technical and engineering perspective because it only costs time and, if we can prove concepts like the speaker lifts, then we can apply that technology to other projects that may have a requirement for an outdoor cinema or hidden speakers,” Bernardi says. “We’ve done our homework and we now know what’s possible.”

Slider images: Multiple close-up renderings of the outdoor cinema concept on Lotus; rendering of SY Lotus; Superyacht cinema concept by Yacht Intelligence;  IMAX cinema screen by Yacht Intelligence; MY Exodus widescreen TV by Yacht Intelligence and credit Jim Raycroft.

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