June 8, 2018 / Luxury Lifestyle

Ruler of the Waves: Top 6 Yacht Design Trends

Just as the design of our on-land residence evolves season by season, so too does the design of a superyacht—the floating home away from home


As a more tactile, livable design is applied to yacht interiors, it appears that the lines are beginning to blur with other luxury industries, such as cars and property. With orders for new craft up, and the semi-custom and brokerage sectors of the superyacht industry feeling the positive knock-on effects, Luxury Defined takes a look at the newest trends in yacht design, from the emerging bigger-is-better aesthetic to the increase in resort-style onboard amenities.

The superyacht <i>Joy</i>, designed specifically with the owner's lifestyle in mind. Banner image: <i>Anastasia</i>, built by Oceanco, boasts an interior and exterior designed by Sam Sorgiovanni.“I often take inspiration from the lines and details of cars, usually on a subliminal level, more as a feel or stylistic theme than a direct interpretation,” says yacht designer Sam Sorgiovanni“Going the other way, I have designed some home interiors that are influenced by yachting. I feel there can be a real synergy, especially for coastal homes. So often, especially with interiors, you need to look twice to see if it’s a house or boat interior. The days of yachts being designed to be sympathetic to life at sea with soft corners and lightweight materials seem to have gone.”

Related: How to Commission a Superyacht

The large-scale <i>Al Lusail</i> has a unique carved-out exterior design, with her flowing lines blurring the boundaries between the upper four decks. Photograph: Tom van Oossanen1. Bigger builds
The new-build sector continually pushes the limits of boat design. What was once considered a large yacht at 180 feet (55 m) is now standard, with the benchmark set at 246 feet (75 m) and over for a large vessel. The increased size and volume has helped evolve yacht design, with requests more akin to the demands for design in builds on land, with space and open-plan living an emerging trend. This means concepts that may not have been possible in previous designs have now become the norm.

Related: Read the Secrets of a Superyacht Interior Designer

Take, for example, Al Lusail, built in 2017. At 403 feet (123 m) long, the custom motor yacht has a pioneering exterior design. A section of the hull above the waterline has been carved out, allowing for a textured finish rather than the smooth sleekness that most similar craft embody. Built by Lürssen, her unique curvaceous exterior has turned heads across the industry.

Imitation decks—smoked-glass panels running the length of the superyacht and areas of teak—mask the true height of <i>Jubilee</i>.2. Unique silhouettes
Another creatively designed new build is the Jubilee, at 361 feet (110 m). Launched by Oceanco in 2017, her unusual structure made her the star of last year’s Monaco Yacht Show. The man responsible for her eye-catching exterior lines was naval architect Igor Lobanov. As the yacht was built on a platform with tall decks, he introduced a series of imitation ones to mask the above-average height of the vessel.

Yachts are becoming more and more unique to owners, and that really is the new design trend—producing a yacht to the exacting standards that your client requires

Naval architect Edmund Beckett, from Burgess New Construction, which project-managed Jubilee’s build, says: “Yachts are becoming more and more unique to owners, and that really is the new design trend—producing a yacht to the exacting standards that your client requires.”

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Glass is used to great effect on board <i>Joy</i>, including the creation of indoor/outdoor “winter gardens.”3. Expansive windows
Steel and aluminum will always be the preferred choice of materials for yacht construction, but the introduction of structural glass has allowed boat architecture to reach new levels of sophistication. Designers can now play with larger windows, leaving a more aesthetically pleasing finish, both above and below the waterline.

Indeed, the artistic use of glass within interior design is also a growing trend. This can be seen on board motor yacht Joy, built by Feadship in 2016, where air-conditioned indoor/outdoor zones, known as “winter gardens,” were created to enhance the feeling of space and allow for perfect harmony between interior and exterior.

A well-stocked garage with side-opening doors and extensive storage makes <i>Anastasia</i> ideal for lovers of water sports.4. Room for toys
As yachts become larger, the possibility to store a wide range of amenities increases. Beckett reveals that some of the most frequently asked questions are about water toys. “Clients are quite specific in this area,” he explains. The impressive garage on board 2008 motor yacht Anastasia, for example, offers side-opening doors for easy access to the water and a plethora of water toys, such as Jet Skis, WaveRunners, dive suits, and tenders.

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5. Resort-style amenities
According to Sorgiovanni, lifestyle elements are popular demands in new builds. “The most common request today is for a wellness or spa retreat,” he explains. “Massage rooms, saunas, and beauty and hair salons are just some of the asks. Typically, owners expect their boats to have all the features of a seven-star resort.”

Even the glass-walled exercise room on <i>Joy</i> provides a generous outlook of the sea beyond.6. Anything goes
Sorgiovanni recounts other home-away-from-home requests. “On the motor yacht Nirvana, the client wanted a terrarium with live exotic reptiles. This proved a considerable challenge.” Designer Adam Lay, from Adam Lay Studios, adds to the list of client desires: “Informality in dining areas and greater emphasis on lifestyle and fun times. Self-serve or dual-purpose pantry areas that enable owners and guests to help themselves. Family enjoyment without always having to rely on crew service.

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Nicci Perides
writes about superyachts and travel for The Times and Telegraph Luxury, and helped launch The New York Times Journeys website