The best piece of advice you can give designers looking to create a truly timeless exterior, is that less is always more. The more you over-style a design the quicker it will date. For makers of high-end luxury yachts, this will have a detrimental effect on resale price and onward appeal. If you frame a painting in a cluttered room it will not shine. If you remove the visual clutter, people are more likely to appreciate what is there. The same principle applies to not only super yachts, but all forms of premium transport design.
The best yacht designs resonate with people on an emotional, functional and aesthetic level. It is the combination of these core objectives with creative and original thought that enables designers to produce true market differentiation and create an appreciation for the product that endures over time.
A design has to find the unique balance between conceptual luxury and real-word functionality. At times this can be a fine line to walk, especially as all new designs need to comply with strict regulatory requirements; but designs that can make this work have the potential to truly revolutionise the industry.
Acumen is famous for challenging the paradigm to create truly original and disruptive design solutions which have achieved market leadership across a number of industries. By adopting an empirical approach and by exploring the multi-functional use of space, Acumen has created iconic award-winning designs for the likes of Sunseeker International, Lewmar and Brookes and Gatehouse. Acumen’s specialist expertise in creating premium interiors—such as the invention of British Airways’ First ‘Bed in the Sky’— has helped sent the benchmark for luxury airline travel. Most recently, Acumen’s design work on Etihad’s VIP ‘Residence’ (which includes a personal butler) has redefined luxury within the confines of a commercial aircraft interior. The same rigorous approach to space utilisation applies to the challenges of super yacht interiors.
In a similar vein to the way in which the aviation interiors industry has evolved in recent years, the yachting world can benefit from an injection of fresh ideas at a fundamental level. Premium aircraft passengers are incredibly discerning, so interior designers have had to transform almost every aspect of the cabin to satisfy heightening passenger expectations.
With high-net-worth owners of super yachts often owning a private jet too, they therefore carry a common set of expectations regarding quality of the design and build, with furnishings, materials and space utilisation playing an essential role in the success of a design. This has resulted in a need for original and innovative designs to create a ‘wow-factor’ that enables luxury brands to differentiate themselves from the competition and protect their market position.
Designers of premium environments, whether on a plane or yacht, need to understand the DNA of the owners, not only in terms of lifestyle expectations but cultural and stylistic predications. At one stage gold-plated taps were considered luxury, but the very definition of luxury has changed—premium designs need to move beyond individual furnishings to consider the cabin as a living 3D environment, and the next generation of yacht designs will be built on this.
Credits - Founded in 1981, awarding-winning consultancy Acumen Design Associates has a long-standing reputation as the world’s foremost transport design consultancy. Having worked on numerous design programmes across the marine sector, including a complete restyling of the superstructure and interiors of Sunseeker’s Portofino, Malibu and Mustang ranges, the company understands what it takes for a design to be a success.