An ode to interior crew perspective
The collaboration between senior crew and designers has all the elements to be a very fruitful one …
Agis Variani, experienced Chief Stewardess and consultant to interior designers, begs the question, could the eye of an experienced crew member help enhance a yacht interior design project?
Although many designers might feel that the crew perspective might be less important or even unnecessary, the reality is that no one knows the interior of a yacht better than the interior crew. When the going gets tough, the interior crew needs to unfold itself to maintain the level and speed of service expected by demanding and critical guests in order to keep them happy and satisfied.
No one quite understands others’ professions and skills as they do their own, and learning is a process that lasts a lifetime. Luxury and functionality may appear to walk hand-in-hand, but yet so often one tends to lack the other. Without a doubt, there do exist owners who don’t prioritise or even care about functionality, but at some point in the use of a yacht, it is bound to become a trigger, either through a delay in service or by a lack of what would be deemed ‘expected quality’.
Ego apart, the “joint venture” of senior crew + designer has all the elements to be a very fruitful one, when each side respects the knowledge of the other. And the designer is undoubtedly the interpreter and enforcer of the owner’s wishes, but owners don’t have to think about where things will be stored safely, or which kind of product will be used to clean something, or what expensive material will be chosen for the master bedroom headboard. Just as the designer knows which material would match this or that room, the interior crew knows if here or there is the best place to use it, based on how much it will be used, as well as its ease of cleaning and maintenance.
Sometimes going back to an older project is better than trying to re-invent the wheel. Many years ago, I worked on a “small" boat (considering the boats that are being built today) and it was exceptionally spacious. When a new version of it was released, I went for a visit and it was completely different and far less functional. Even the VIP bathroom was smaller—I actually sat on the toilet seat and my legs touched the cabinet in front of me. That was not the case on our boat. We had lots of useful features on board that the new one didn't - this means it had to be something to do with the design. It’s almost as if the design went backwards in terms of intelligent use of space.
This issue does not only exist in the yachting world. I was once hired by a family to train their house staff in an extremely modern house with lots of beautiful furniture. The owners hired me because they wanted to emulate the high level of service and beauty that they had experienced while chartering several super yachts. But while the house excelled in beauty, it seriously lacked storage space. They wanted several sets of flatware, napkins, accessories, table decoration etc… but there was not a single cupboard to store this. The interior designer did well to create a dream house... and that was it was. If the interior designer had been offered an opinion from someone that had experience in housekeeping, this would not have happened.
It is almost common knowledge that there is poor communication between the people who work on superyachts and the people who design and build them. One antidote to this is to amplify the voices of these individuals who are frequently being ignored. If you would like to offer your opinion on this debate feel free to comment below or take part in our poll. If you would be interested in being a guest author for SuperyachtNews please contact email@example.com.
Click here to become part of The Superyacht Group community, and join us in our mission to make this industry accessible to all, and prosperous for the long-term. We are offering access to the superyacht industry’s most comprehensive and longstanding archive of business-critical information, as well as a comprehensive, real-time superyacht fleet database, for just £10 per month, because we are One Industry with One Mission. Sign up here.