Choosing marine furniture and furnishings worthy of a superyacht
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 24/01/2017
The furniture and furnishings chosen for a superyacht are not only purchased out of necessity or for comfort, but as a means of self-expression, style and design; used not only to embellish interiors, but also to create and decorate outdoor living spaces.
Superyachts are not made super in themselves – great marine furniture and furnishings are integral to the design, comfort and functionality of each of the spaces on board, but the quality and style of the chosen pieces are what makes a superyacht unique and luxurious in its own right.
Yachting Pages investigates marine furniture and furnishings trends, considering the aspects that should be considered to create that stunning space.
Design trends in luxury furniture and furnishings
Superyacht furniture trends, of course, vary greatly by the culture and nationality of the boat owners that are commissioning and outfitting today’s hulls.
Many have observed the preference of American nationals towards traditional design, dark heavy woods and ergonomic comfort, which contrasts greatly when compared to European tastes for contemporary style and lighter woods (like those pictured aboard M/Y Nirvana), putting design way ahead of comfort.
In recent years, superyacht furniture trends have moved away from traditional dark heavy woods and veneers and towards lighter woods and lightweight carbon-fibre design, matching the move towards new carbon fibre and fibreglass hulls for sporty superyachts with a ‘go faster’ sports slant.
The dark wood superyacht interior historically dates back to the clippers of the 18th century when the only way of protecting wood and wood furniture was with thick layers of varnish. Today, we have outgrown this style, as well as the necessity of layers of varnish for protection, allowing for greater flexibility and experimentation in furniture design.
Interior designers are arguably more confident in creating ‘new’ spaces and unknown pieces that aren’t a reflection of the norm - of past superyachts or of interior spaces on land - allowing for some phenomenal custom furniture creations.
Although the size of superyachts has grown dramatically over the years, it would be inconceivable to compare even the largest of superyacht interiors to the residences on land.
The primary trend of interior design aboard a superyacht has therefore always been to create seemingly large spaces within smaller spaces – an illusion that is usually maintained with the clever use of predominantly neutral furnishings with the occasional colourful accent to express style and personality.
Neutral fabrics and furnishings are usually found on board, as these blend easily with the walls and floors and are less jarring to the eye; the feeling of space is created through fewer interruptions while cushions, throws and decorative tableware are used for a much-needed colour splash.
What to consider when furnishing a superyacht
When furnishing a superyacht, there is a lot to think about in the way of furniture and furnishings: For marine applications, superyacht owners and designers should look for durability, weight, compactness and adaptability in their interior and exterior pieces, while furnishings should be in-fitting with the purpose and colour scheme of the setting.
It’s worth bearing in mind that, with the indoor/outdoor living experienced on board, whether interior or exterior, furniture and furnishings will need to be built and maintained to meet the demands of the lifestyle, as well as the added exposure to changeable temperatures and added moisture at sea.
Interior furniture and furnishings
To facilitate the illusion of space, interior furniture should be thought of as a sculpture: While pieces are resting directly on the floor, they will feel heavy and cumbersome. Elevating furniture upwards on legs will therefore give the feeling of space.
It’s worth investing in custom-design or made-to-measure furniture, especially for the superyacht interior, not only to enjoy a unique design tailored to the personal needs and preferences of the superyacht owner, but also to ensure the correct size and scale for the setting in which it will sit.
Most interior furniture tends to be ‘oversized’ in its design, and furnishings heavy in their nature, nodding to an illusion of quality and luxury. By ordering custom pieces it can be decided to scale-down pieces, if only by an inch or two to suit the space in which they will sit. In this way, they can also be made in more lightweight, approved marine materials to meet regulation.
Exterior furniture and furnishings for the yacht deck
Speak of luxurious outdoor furniture and a wealth of options arise. With outdoor living enjoyed greatly around-the-clock on board a superyacht, the exterior deck furniture is not just useful for enhancing the beauty of the deck, but also to give comfort and enjoyment to those spending time and relaxing on board.