Ever since I was a child, I have been fanatical about design, innovation and materials. From SANDOW's architecture, interiors, beauty and luxury-focused publications, to our materials businesses, which focus on the way end users interact with materials, to the paper we print our magazines on, materials play a defining role in our multifaceted businesses.
My obsession with design extends outside the workplace as well. My own boat, a Sanlorenzo SL86, is characterised by its restrained exterior styling, Carrara marble bulkhead installation backlit by LED film technology, extra-large salon windows, and furnishings by Paola Lenti and Philippe Starck. I am fascinated by the latest technology and manufacturing techniques, and am constantly seeking the 'what's new and what's next'.
In the superyacht industry, a high value is placed on performance, technology and aesthetics. Endless innovation, improvement and research is necessary to providing the utmost experience of luxury. Relevantly, Material ConneXion's dynamic team of material scientists is constantly discovering new materials, and alternatives to existing materials, to improve upon current design and manufacturing techniques. Material ConneXion is the leading materials-driven design platform, partnering with the world's most innovative brands to offer material solutions that will future-proof their business. So how do we implement the material solutions that will future-proof the superyacht industry?
As we speak, high-tech R&D methodologies are working on a method to recreate the naturally occurring countermeasures against things such as barnacles and tube worms. A coating called Sharklet™, developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in partnership with the University of Florida, mimics the texture and antimicrobial properties of shark skin, repelling barnacles, algae and marine organisms from attaching themselves to a ship's exterior.
Constant wear and tear, and the need to address it, is something we see in almost all industries. Self-healing coatings can be applied to a variety of surfaces to enable gap-closing and crack-sealing. NEI's NANOMYTE® MEND coating can be healed several times at the same location, reducing life-cycle and maintenance costs. The MEND coating platform is based on polyurethane, but the idea can also be applied to other systems.
Durable, water-resistant woods that can be used as an alternative to teak or mahogany for decking or other high-traffic areas are popping up too. Kebony 30 is a process for the mineral treatment of wood that incorporates natural, non-toxic chemicals. Bio-waste from sugar cane and corn-cob proteins is forced into the wood's cellular structure, improving hardness and durability. Another option, Tricoya ExDF™ from Coillte Panel Products, is a medium-density fibreboard (MDF) with the durability of teak. It is lightweight and won't swell or shrink, even in changing weather conditions.
Stain-resistant high-end fabrics, such as cashmeres, have an obvious place in the luxury market. Tollegno 1900 S.p.A.'s Nanocashmere® is pure Mongolian cashmere that has been treated to be waterproof and stain-proof. Treating and modifying the fibres at the molecular level causes any liquids to bead up and roll off the surface.
Material advancements in the superyacht market continue to evolve in the effort to offer the best of the best to both superyacht makers and buyers. By considering materials as a part of the design process, and changing our thinking about the way we interact with materials from the beginning of a project all the way through to its completion, we can embrace and step into the future of this industry.
Adam Sandow is the founder and CEO of SANDOW, an information services company with brands in publishing, events, and consulting. It is the parent company of Interior Design, Luxe Interiors + Design and NewBeauty magazines, and Material ConneXion, the leading materials-driven design platform, among other businesses.
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