The subtle interplay of light, surface, and the reinvigoration of a classic motor yacht…
Originally launched in 1931 by the British shipyard Camper & Nicholsons, M/Y Marala is a classic motor yacht with a rich history. Designed by Charles E. Nicholson, a renowned yacht designer at the time, the 58m classic yacht has led a storied life.
Marala has undergone several refits, with the most recent undertaken at the Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth in 2021. Diligently preserving its classic design and style, Marala is a rare example of a pre-World War II motor yacht with remarkable adherence to its legacy.
The refit of Marala was a complex and intricate process, with lighting playing a crucial role in enhancing the overall design and ambience. Guided by the archives of the National Maritime Museum and photos from the families of Naval seamen whom she carried during their service, design studio Muza Lab sought to reinvigorate its 1930s spirit with a fresh perspective.
Working with specialised lighting experts like Dernier & Hamlyn, the design team was able to achieve a balance between aesthetics and technical requirements while adhering to IMO regulations. Nathan Hutchins, co-founder of Muza Lab, speaks with SuperyachtNews about the idiosyncrasies of working with and respecting the heritage of, such a legendary motor yacht.
“On a classic yacht like Marala,” Hutchins explains, “you often have a mixture of finishes, some reflective and some not, that the lighting interacts with. We had worked with Dernier & Hamlyn on some high-end residential projects in London and knew their capabilities. When I approached them for this, and they explained their experience in the yachting industry and understanding of onboard regulations, it was a great match. They could focus on the technical aspects, allowing me to focus on the design.”
One of the standout features of Marala is its large aft deck and outdoor dining space (pictured above). This is where Hutchins and the team at Muza Lab drew on the experience of Dernier & Hamlyn to produce a bespoke exterior lighting installation to underpin this reinvigoration respectfully.
“Incorporating elements of the 1930s deco heritage and focusing on the playfulness of light were important design aspects,” Hutchins continues. “Muza Lab and Dernier & Hamlyn collaborated closely to develop a custom fixture that provided both functional lighting and unique shadow play, elevating the overall atmosphere of the yacht.”
Classic yachts may not have been designed with the intricacies of modern interior design in mind, creating a unique space for modern interior designers. “This was a challenging design,” Hutchins explains. “On a modern yacht, you might have some straight lines, on Marala we didn’t have a single straight line in any direction. These curved surfaces reflect light in a way that tapers in different directions.”
“This pendant was particularly challenging because it sits above an exterior dining table. It needed to be a large and highly decorative deco-inspired feature that was also weather and corrosion-resistant.”
What they were able to create was a lighting installation that captured these considerations and elevated the heritage of Marala. The piece needed to be deco-inspired, highly decorative, as well as weather and corrosion-resistant.
Despite these challenges, Muza Lab and Dernier & Hamlyn successfully carried out the refit, creating an elegant and sophisticated yacht that pays tribute to its historical origins while incorporating modern amenities and design elements. With a focus on blending the art deco heritage with modern lighting technology and a keen eye for detail, Marala's refit stands as an example of balancing history with contemporary design.
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