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TILSE YACHT GLAZING – pioneers of new trends in superyacht glass

The team at TILSE have played a key role in the new wave of glass in the design and build process…

Full glazing over several decks.

As part of the ISO safety group that defines the safety standards for superyacht glass, Henning von der Thüsen has seen many trends in glass come and go. Starting with the move away from framed windows towards bonded glass, von der Thüsen and the team at TILSE have developed many of the techniques that have allowed for a switch towards the larger, structurally bonded glass we see today; design conventions that were once radical are now a common feature at every boat show.

With this trend comes a specific set of technical challenges, as well as some key considerations for the shipyards, as von der Thüsen explains, “When you want to make a room high window, then you have, of course, a lot of engineering and structural problems to solve.” It’s been possible to solve these problems because of the work of manufacturers such as TILSE and their vital contribution to the ISO working group.

“It is hard to develop a rule when you do not know what the market wants,” adds von der Thüsen. “On the other hand, when the market shows you what they want, you often do not have the standard in place. It is the aim of our group to find a solution that would also enable an architectural designer, and of course the classification society, to calculate these special cases.” This is the hard work behind the scenes that has allowed the expansion of the glass from a form that follows a function to a designer’s bold focal point and the defining characteristic of many superyachts.

Less than a generation ago, the glass came late in the build process but as the technical complexity grew, supported by classification and safety standards, the imperative for a company like TILSE to become involved grew also. Von der Thüsen explains, “It is a serious situation to be asked to provide a crazy glass solution once the superstructure is complete. We must be involved earlier in the process, and that is what we are seeing, which is great.”

He adds, “Obviously with the larger glass, comes the thermal characteristics.” With the increased surface area, more sunlight and heat can enter the yacht, which can drastically affect the energy demands and overall efficiency of the vessel. “The other trend we are seeing, largely thanks to S/Y Venus, is for ultra-clear glass. This is becoming a common request from designers also.”

However, this trend has converse considerations because, as von der Thüsen highlights, the clarity of the glass further affects the light intake and the thermal insulative properties of the yacht. “If you have the clear glass, but then spend the entire time with the shutters closed, it makes no sense. We still believe that a tinted glass is the best solution. After all, do you have clear sunglasses?”

Chemically toughened glass also allows for a stronger and clearer finish, says von der Thüsen. This is the tech-nique TILSE uses to ensure that its glass reaches the ‘superyacht standard’ of ultra-high finish. Likewise, despite the feasibility of building much larger, like in terrestrial building projects, TILSE has imposed a size limit of around six metres, significantly less than the 12m maximum currently in the fleet. Glass on this grand scale inevitably has imperfections, says von der Thüsen. Therefore, to ensure the highest possible quality structural integrity and finish, the six-metre limit is imposed.

Von der Thüsen concludes, “We pro-vide the highest quality glass possible, and if it is ever damaged we need to be able to replace it, and not disrupt the operations of the vessel. We have seen some yachts with glass installations that require the entire interior to be stripped. That is not what we want to produce. There is a limit, but we will continue to push it, where we can. We aim to pioneer the techniques that will support the next wave of trends while maintaining the superyacht standard.”

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