“The superyacht industry is quite conservative, with the average age of an owner 65-years old” says veteran naval architect and three time Designer of the Year Philippe Briand. This may come as a surprise to some. Naturally, superyacht clients harbour high expectations for their purchase, demanding the latest and greatest in a bid to stand out from the crowd of white motor yachts that fill the world’s ports. Coincidentally, designers of luxury yachts rank among some of the most innovative and ambitious and must pass rigorous tests from some of the most discerning examiners before making a success of themselves in the industry.
“With the arrival of inspiring products from the worlds of automotive and architecture,” Philippe Briand continues, “little by little, it’s beginning to open up”. Indeed we are beginning to see more and more original luxury yacht charter designs and Briand feels we may be at the dawn of something great in a market where product personalisation is becoming increasingly significant and architects are willing to experiment to a greater extent. Without further ado, we present five of the most innovative yacht designs of tomorrow, today:
Where better to start our list of yacht designs of the future than with an entry by Philippe Briand himself? The Picchiotti 50 metre Exuma is the first motor yacht in the Vitruvius Series constructed by the Perini Navi Group. The design was initially inspired by Briand’s passion for sailboat hulls but was ultimately focussed around a brief demanding optimum efficiency.
Indeed research on the yacht since has confirmed Exuma to be one of the most fuel-efficient yachts currently in circulation. Intelligent engineering allows for a cruising speed of 12 knots with fuel consumption registered at just 10 litres per nautical mile, a noticeable 25% reduction compared to most explorer yachts this size.
Part of Exuma’s innovative yacht design is its aluminium displacement hull. A subsequent 50% weight reduction from traditional steel yachts means she only displaces 400 tons thereby drastically decreasing drag and improving performance. With two zero speed roll stabilisers and a low centre of gravity, pitching and rolling are also reduced and exceptional cruising stability have thus duly been achieved. Furthermore, a reduced draft of 2.3 metres allows navigation in unusually shallow waters.
Together these features combine to create a unique explorer yacht designed for limitless travel. Commenting on Exuma, Briand said “yachts symbolise the desire to live life to the fullest. My yachts are a true escape for all the owners and their guests.” With a nautical range of over 5,500 miles, a 123m2 storage space for diving and explorative equipment and an enviable array of yacht toys and tenders including a 16.4’ amphibious vehicle, Briand’s design is certainly true to his word: a yacht design of the future.
Privacy is often cited as one of the most attractive features in yachting and yet with the entourage of crew omnipresent on a charter holiday, privacy can sometimes become a luxury even on board the most glamorous yachts in the world. In search of a solution, Monaco based naval architects Pastrovich Studio have designed X R-evolution an innovative yacht design whose “main goal was to assure the owner a real total privacy”.
The 77m X-Revolution is a yacht design of the future whose inspiration came from an unlikely source of old. Founder of Pastrovich Studio, Stefano Pastrovich admitted that beehives had helped him to conceive his yacht creation.X R-evolution’s main feature includes several personalisable “bungalows” that can be ejected aft of the ship and employed as floating islands. The design uses a set of six hydraulic cylinders and a special hull resembling a wavepiercer and catamaran hybrid. At the owner’s discretion the carbon fibre islands can be converted into private gardens, sundecks, swimming pools and other alternate possibilities.
Explaining the ambitious project, Pastrovich declared: “if you don’t try new ideas and attempt something daring, you definitely won’t advance” before adding “I want to build something that will leave an impression on the next generation”. The 77m X R-evolution has certainly left an impression on the superyacht world, already accumulating a great deal of interest from potential suitors.
Progressive yacht designer Igor Lobanov recently bemoaned the lack of ingenuity in the yacht industry claiming, “to those outside the marine industry, all yachts look the same”. Working in collaboration with marine engineers BMT Nigel Gee and naval architect Alex Malybaev, Lobanov was determined to set the record straight with his innovative yacht design: Star.
The 132m long and 60m high vessel boasts 37,000ft2 interior with several luxury features including an underwater viewing gallery at the ship’s hull which is connected by lift to an exterior viewing platform at the top of the yacht on the eighth floor.
Although Star has been criticised for its lack of sheltered outdoor areas, the designers are confident that her unique design will ensure that she nonetheless remains a popular choice among clients. As her name suggests, Star resembles the top half of a star and a delicate lattice exterior gives her the charming appearance of a snowflake. Speaking about Star’s unusual design, BMT yacht design director James Roy said “Star is a tangible view of a 21st century interpretation of art and science. We are fortunate to live in an era where technology makes the delivery of bolder designs more possible”.
World-renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid propelled herself into fame when she became the first female winner of the Pritzker Architecture prize in 2004. She then followed that up by designing the iconic Aquatics centre at the London 2012 games. More recently however, she turned her hand to yacht design.
Collaborating with Blohm+Voss, Zaha Hadid has conceived a radical yacht design of the future consisting of an exo-skeleton that evokes the “organic structural systems of natural marine formations”. The project includes a 128m mothership and five other 90m “unique circle yachts” whose appearance is remarkable by their wild exterior of intertwining curved lines. The latticework of each of these smaller yachts can be tailor made to suit future buyers’ preferences. Dr. Hebert Aly, CEO and founder of Blohm+Voss, summarised the project, saying: “On an aesthetic level, a superyacht is a great design task as everything is customised down to the last detail. A superyacht is by definition an exercise in total design. Zaha Hadid and her team have taken this ethos and created a bold new vision and a new benchmark in the design of superyachts.”
When looking for the yacht designs of the future, a good place to start would be at the ShowBoats Design Awards. Having been a finalist in 2011 and then after finishing as runner-up in 2013, French designer Raphael Laloux returned last year with his innovative yacht design Symphony, and finally took the award home.
Laloux was initially tasked with a limiting set of project parameters: create a 60m commercial vessel SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin-Hull) for an internationally renowned classical conductor. Laloux’s answer, Symphony, perfectly reflects the passions of the owner in a unique and stylish way.
Replicating the gentle slopes of an opera hall, curving promenades spiral down around the yacht’s superstructure. The communal living spaces feature clever open-plan layouts that offer dramatic views across the extraordinary seascapes. The main deck is primarily devoted to lounge space with a bar, while the crew quarter is located on the ship’s bow. Laloux is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Transportation Design at the Institut Supérieur de Design in France and will surely be present at the ShowBoats Awards this year. With more creativity in the yachting industry than ever, we can certainly look forward to seeing exciting new designs hit the water in 2015.