Now in its 11th year, the prestigious World Superyachts Awards, run by Boat International Media, showcases some of the most fabulous, fantastical and downright stellar yachts in the world, many of them pushing the limits of power, speed, technology, usability, design and comfort. 70 superyachts were judged by a panel of yacht owners and experts, who based their decisions on stringent data and voted for their favourites by secret ballot. Top winners were Unfurled, Savannah and Genesi winning two trophies (called The Neptunes, and most definitely echoing a certain Oscar) apiece. The awards offer a unique insight into a rarefied world open only to a select few, and show us the latest trends in yacht interior design.
The main awards – Sailing Yacht of the Year and Motor Yacht of the Year – went to Unfurled and Savannah respectively. Unfurled is an elegant 46-metre beauty built by Frèrs, with an interior by Stirling & Co. It reveals very neutral interiors that don’t detract from the sloop’s own lines, and are a clear trend in the market. Sadly we can’t show any interiors of Savannah, a 83-metre, four-level yacht built by Feadship and with interiors by CG Design, but it features an open aft deck leading from a stunning circular seating area in neutrals and Modernist design pieces, and a wow-worthy underwater lounge.
Other boats deserve a special mention – the winner of the Rebuilt Yacht Prize, Malahne, was built in 1937 and entirely refitted over a 30-month period. The marvelously elegant boat has a raffish history – it was owned Hollywood producer Sam Spiegel (African Queen, Lawrence of Arabia) and pressed into service during World War II. Oliver Laws’ masterful Art Deco interior only adds to its beauty and reveals a luxurious trend seen across many yachts.
Superyacht interior design is a select form of design: interiors must reflect the owner, look beautiful, comfortable and luxurious, true, but they must also function under extreme conditions. Sun, sand, damp and salt all take their toll, plus the possibility of a room being tossed about in a tempestuous storm are not something every designer has to take into account. As top designer Francesco Paszowski says, “A great yacht design should always look impressive on the outside and be cosy on the inside.”
Of course the innovation isn’t just inside. Unfurled’s propeller pods retract to make her more streamlined for racing. Savannah’s innovative hybrid system is the first of its kind in a yacht this size. Many yachts feature propulsion systems that use less power, are more compact and much more eco-friendly. Take Genesi by Wider Yachts: Genesi can use her batteries only to cruise for six hours. Its outside ‘beach club’, featuring two side-opening shell doors and a swimming pool that converts to a ‘ﬂoat-in’ tender stowage bay, has never before been seen in a yacht of this size.
Certain trends are clear to see – there’s an abundance of cool, muted neutrals and greys – but nautical – anything as obvious as anchors, stripes, reds, whites and blues – is right out of fashion. Sarah Verey, Director of Creative Design at Princess Yachts, who designed the Semi-displacement or Planing Two-Deck Motor Yacht Award-winning Athenya III, says, “Today’s trends are towards vibrant colour and geometric patterns, against a fairly neutral palette. Rich velvets and mohair mix with drier linens as the natural world lends its influence to lighting and fabrics.” She is mixing pieces from edgy American design studios with Italian classics. “We love Holly Hunt’s designs at the moment but also work in close collaboration with houses such as Fendi Casa, Missoni Home, Armani, Giorgetti and Dedar.”
As well as Anyentha III’s studied tones, Unfurled’s studiedly neutral interior by Stirling & Co reinforces the fact that, for all their interior loveliness, owning a yacht is all about the functionality of the boat itself, and the beautiful landscape around you.
Natural materials have always gone hand-in-hand with boat design – for hundreds of years they were made out of wood after all. This year sees innovation on location and types of wood: for example Van Oossanen Naval Architects’ Ruya won a special commendation for design. Interior designer Sam Sorgiovanni combined the rich tones of the Australian Outback with clean architectural lines, textures and timbers, like the stunning salon ceiling pictured here.
Mahlane wasn’t the only yacht to pull off an Art Deco feel. Topaz, whose interior and exterior was done by Hoek Design Naval Architects, was the winner of Judges Special Award for Design. Its elegant interior, which nodded at the 1930s birth of this class of yacht, made excellent use of the limited interior volume offered by these yachts at (only) 42.6m long. 11.11 (featured in the main image), built buy the world-famous Benedetti and a jaw-dropping 63m long, features a dramatic Deco interior by developers Candy & Candy.
Sarah says, “Hard surfaces are in black, grey and white, natural stone being so on trend.” Winner of the Semi-Displacement or Three Deck Motor Yachts below 40m, Divine shows this trend beautifully. Built and designed by Palumbo Group/Hydro Tec Exterior & Interior Design, its salon is a vision in soft greys and features fold-down bulwarks that form lovely side balconies.
Another trend spotted by Sarah is the use of patterns, now also creeping into residential and hotel interiors (see Kit Kemp for inspiration). It’s a clever way to lift a neutral design and used to great effect in yachts including Mahlane and Mirage, which won Refitted Yacht of the Year. Design Unlimited’s stunning white, beige and grey interior is pulled together beautifully by patterned carpets and cushions.
Sarah says, “It is not enough any more to provide beautiful exterior and interior living areas – owners want their yachts to be unique; a complete one off. There is a constant quest for custom-designed furniture and features such a backlit onyx, wrapped leather panelling, etched leathers, stone-clad surfaces, one-off design lighting and rugs.” Genesi’s green pool in the beach club area is one such example, or how about an actual fire in Serenity’s owner’s private salon?