A big boat mentality
How did the design team of M/Y 'Virgen del Mar VI' create the illusion of a much larger superyacht?
Spacing – the ultimate challenge to overcome when designing the interior of a superyacht. Rising to the challenge of fitting everything on board – whilst creating the illusion of additional space – is something which goes hand-in-hand with every superyacht project, especially those further down the size scale. For Alia Yacht Builders, Omega Architects and RWD, the challenge of spacing became the ultimate feat as they completed M/Y Virgen del Mar VI, a 235gt marvel and ‘pocket superyacht’.
Delivered in late July, this 31m superyacht was specifically designed to defy common practices with an interestingly devised layout and approach to spacing on board. The custom superyacht has been described by the shipyard as having “A big boat mentality and volume in a compact, custom design package.” But, all in all, this is somewhat of an unusual case study, firstly due to the approach to spacing, but secondly being custom, which is a rare occurrence in the sub 40m market.
“There are plenty of 30m yachts out there, but most are production boats and none of them offers quite the same volume and degree of customisation or bespoke design features,”
- Gökhan Çelik, president, Alia Yacht Builders
“There are plenty of 30m yachts out there, but most are production boats and none of them offers quite the same volume and degree of customisation or bespoke design features,” says Alia President Gökhan Çelik. “There is nothing quite like her in her size on the market.” It’s true, the number of fully custom builds in the sub 40m market is scarce, which makes Virgen del Mar VI somewhat of an enigma in the field.
Starting with the exteriors of the yacht created by Omega Architects, Frank Laupman explains how efforts were made to elongate the yacht’s profile and keep a low centre of gravity through design. “In addition to her distinctive raised pilothouse, we dressed her in strong horizontal and vertical lines to emphasise her length and reflect her sturdy, resolute character,” explains Laupman. “We also optimised the waterline length with a plumb bow and a narrow entry for more efficiency at higher displacements speeds for an impressive cruising range of 4500nm.”
Laupman also explains that creating an inside/outside connection is entrenched in Omega Architect’s design philosophy and as a result, wanted to draw in as much natural light as possible through the floor to ceiling windows where possible. To accentuate this need for natural light, Virgen del Mar VI features glass cutaways in the bulwarks to provide unimpeded views.
Very few 30m yachts have the same feeling of space and amenities usually associated with a much larger superyacht. The client’s brief was to create a yacht with larger than anticipated proportions in every space, using all available means to achieve that goal.
- Adrian Chisnell, project manager, RWD
“At 30m, creating a proper ‘superyacht’ was a challenge and one that RWD was tasked to achieve and surpass,” says Adrian Chisnell, project manager at RWD. “Very few 30m yachts have the same feeling of space and amenities usually associated with a much larger superyacht.
“The client’s brief was to create a yacht with larger than anticipated proportions in every space, using all available means to achieve that goal,” he continues. “This meant optimising technical spaces, using efficient joinery detailing and storage, maximising the layout, and making the best use of light and space to simply give the impression of a bigger yacht.”
The finish is wildly impressive, using a palate of muted and natural tones the yacht is based around a more relaxed setting with the occasional formal space. There aren’t many lacquered surfaces and RWD has lifted the neutral interior colour scheme with the use of dark bronze and textures. There is undoubtedly a hugely impressive use of light throughout the yacht, which has helped facilitate the feeling of a larger interior, alongside the textures and colour scheme.
While of course, Virgen del Mar VI is a fully custom project, the success of this build has meant that Alia Yachts has decided to change its strategy somewhat and transform the yacht into a semi-custom series.
“The oak floor gives a more weathered appearance and ties the exterior to the interior, as does the ceiling,” Chisnell explains. “This is important to allow the eye to be drawn beyond the interior, not constrained by it. Feature wall panels in vertical oak staves with discreet lighting provide extra depth to the bulkheads in areas that require the room to be visually lengthened.”
While of course,Virgen del Mar VI is a fully custom project, the success of this build has meant that Alia Yachts has decided to change its strategy somewhat and transform the yacht into a semi-custom series. “Virgen del Mar VI started as a one-off project, but we have great interest to build further units with fully customisable interiors,” says Celik. “We’re also developing a 37m and 50m version based on the same platform.” Alia Yachts has now confirmed that the second hull is already under construction and expects to see more yacht in the series imminently.
Images: Jeff Brown | Breed Media
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