Designing a superyacht interior: What you need to know
Last updated: 31/07/2020
Probably the most difficult part to finding the right interior designer to work on your yacht, is determining what it is exactly that you want to achieve. Do you want your yacht to be modern? Would you like to have a touch of attitude portrayed in the décor? Or would you like the design to be simplistic and minimalistic? How do you work around restrictions on space?
With the help of Rodney Black Design Studios and Ken Freivokh Design, Yachting Pages explores the world of yacht interior design, from planning and refitting, to space considerations and trends.
Planning the interior design of a yacht
Once you have a range of ideas, the trick is to write them down in a way someone else would understand; not always easy. A good idea is to collect images from other designs you may have seen and create a collage. It’s then up to the designer to work with you to create your perfect interior. Think about the sort of ambience you want to connote: Cosy? Luxurious? Homely? Elegant?
In terms of choosing a designer, always ask for case studies. Christian Leyk, senior yacht designer from Ken Freivokh Design says, “From a designer’s point of view, generally having a portfolio is a must! Even when a client has a clear idea about what he/she wants, they should still ask to see what you have to offer, even just for inspiration.
“Portfolios should include a good mix of concepts and proposals, but also the work they have done. This way a designer draws 'the whole picture'. Often clients are well informed and do come to a certain designer particularly because they want this designer's style.”
Yacht interior design trends
With trends coming and going, there may be times in a yacht’s life when a large interior refit is needed. A large interior refit can be costly and time consuming, so it’s important to ensure that this is really the best idea for both the vessel and your back pocket.
In recent years, the superyacht industry has seen a move away from the traditional interior set ups; with more and more gadgets being released, many superyachts are moving towards a more futuristic and minimalist design and feel.
As Matt Shelton from Cove Interiors explains, “In the new build and refit sector, we’re seeing a move away from the high gloss ‘bling finishes’ on the interior of yachts. Owners and designers are moving to a more contemporary matte finish now. Natural washed effects and more exotic woods are also being used more frequently.”
Following this, Christian Leyk adds, “There’s a lot of playing it safe still going on within the superyacht industry. Nothing wrong about that really because frankly, it’s easier to spend time in a relaxed and understood environment rather than in a place that shouts, 'Hey, how cool is that?!' all the time.”
Interior décor is also a matter of taste, and while one superyacht may choose to go for minimalist and neutral colours, which offset beautiful wooden features, another may go for opulent Art Deco with swathes of gold.
Remember, it’s also the finishing touches that make all the difference to a yacht’s interior, read our guide on interior yacht accessories to learn more.
Considerations in yacht interior design – People
The right yacht interior is one which is both beautiful and works for owners and guests; after all, this is their home for however long they stay whether it’s one week, one month or longer.
If an owner intends to use the vessel solely for themselves, then they may look at more elaborate designs and features to suit their taste and it’s easy to get carried away with your creativity.
However it’s important to work closely with an interior designer, in order to strike a balance between what owners and guests will want, and what finishes and features will accentuate the vessel.
Aside from owners and guests, crew are vital considerations in interior yacht design; after all, it’s the crew who work incredibly hard to make the owner and guests’ time on board as enjoyable as possible. Crew quarters are often much smaller than guest accommodation, so it’s important to provide a space which they can get a good night’s rest in.
Considerations in superyacht interior design - Space
Space is one of the biggest constraints when it comes to designing superyacht interiors, and in order to please everybody, there has to be a fine balance between beautiful design and practicality.
Of course, on some of the larger superyachts, space is less of an issue but when it is limited, there are many things on the market to help with storage problems. Smart foldaway chairs, hidden integrated features and clever neutral decoration can all aid this.
Considerations in superyacht interior design – The finer details
Along with maximising space, other practical elements of interior design such as electrical wiring, entertainment systems and lighting must all be seamlessly concealed in the walls and storage of the superyacht.
As well as concealing evidence of lighting and other technology, furniture must all be securely in place, with reinforced hinges and intelligent design to ensure the owner’s and guests’ safety on board.
Take a look at some superyacht interiors with our five incredible superyacht interiors guide. You can also search for interior designers on Yachtingpages.com.