Typically chasing the summer season as it moves around the globe, those aboard luxury yachts and superyachts surely do enjoy some of the best climates that the world has to offer; often from the comfort of the exterior deck space, which is useable all year around.
Whether cruising at full speed or anchored in a secluded bay, owners and guests appreciate the protection and privacy that innovative marine awnings, canopies and parasols can provide, offering the opportunity to cool off away from the harsh glare of the sun’s rays and the unforgiving winds.
Yachting Pages spoke to Dougan Clarke, CEO and chief product architect at Tuuci, about the latest design trends of this season’s superyacht shade structures, talking fabrics, technologies and sustainability.
What can you tell us about the latest trends in fabrics and materials for marine shade structures this season?
Neutrals remain popular, but this year there has been a huge trend in creating a ‘French Riviera’ feel aboard: Bold colours with white stripes that run horizontally along the canopy have been the number one fashion trend when dressing our parasol frames.
Another huge trend is wood, but the challenge here is found in the durability and maintenance of real wood. To meet such concerns, at TUUCI we have developed a product called ‘Aluma-TEAK’, a marine-grade, aluminium parasol with a durable veil that gives the authentic look of wood, yet produces a product that is highly engineered and durable. We are offering this product in three colours: Natural, Weathered and Java, complimenting multiple outdoor furniture collections in order to offer designers a broader choice in styling.
How has the technology of shade products developed in your sector?
Shade products continue to get stronger in wind tolerance, and customisation options continue to play a large part in the industry. At TUUCI, our design, engineering and product teams in Miami are constantly reengineering the marine-grade polymers used as connection points on our parasols in order to increase the durability and lifetime serviceability of products.
What qualities are important to look for in yacht awnings, canopies and covers?
When tasked with choosing the shade structures for a luxury yacht or superyacht, you will need to consider those products that are lightweight for easy installation by the crew. They must be durable to stand up against the hostile elements of Mother Nature and extensive traffic throughout the seasons. For these reasons, products that have replacement parts are extremely beneficial and cost effective.
What are you seeing increasing client requests for in regards to awnings and shade structures?
Unsurprisingly, sustainability is becoming increasingly important to clients and manufacturers alike. There have been improvements on multiple levels in this field, in regards to the materials utilised in production - from the anodized aluminium, to the fasteners and canvas that covers the frame.
Although most framework and fasteners is not visible to the eye, it is these discrete details that are paramount to the durability and lifespan of a product. Not all products are created equal, and it is important for the yacht designers and architects specifying them to recognise their differences.
Once installed, what can be done to protect and prolong the life of shade coverings on board?
In order to take care of shade coverings and upholstery on board, it is important to chose fade-resistant fabrics that will be able to withstand years in the sun without losing their vibrancy. We recommend cleaning yacht shade structures and parasols on a regular basis by simply dusting off loose dirt and particles, hosing them down using a mild soap and water mix.
How does TUUCI cater to the marine shade market – what differentiates you from other suppliers?
In order to guarantee quality, I still design and oversee every new TUUCI development myself. TUUCI silhouettes are inspired by the raw beauty of the natural world and life on the ocean; we are dedicated to complementing the comfort and accessibility of natural environments through one-of-a-kind shade architecture, all of which are crafted with marine-grade materials and engineering, designed to endure the harshest wind-swept, sun-drenched and moisture-rich environments on the planet.
For more information, visit TUUCI.