Designing the interiors of a multi-million pound yacht for the super-elite

Designing the interiors of a multi-million pound yacht for the super-elite

It’s no exaggeration to state that any interior designer around the world would drop everything for a chance to design a luxury private yacht. It’s also true to say that owning a yacht is synonymous with extreme wealth. Fine & Country Interior Design catch up with their design partner Studio Kamini to find out the secrets behind designing these floating homes for ultra-high net worth individuals.

Designing a fixed residence, house and home for the high-end property market is something many interior designers are familiar with, but designing a residence with no fixed location is a completely different project. Having designed all over the world for many international clients, Studio Kamini knows how challenging it can be to design within an industry synonymous with the term ‘luxury’.

“When designing a fixed residence, the context remains the same because the physical location does not change. With a yacht, the location and thus the context may change with every new port. The design has to have relevance and be comfortable for the client wherever they sail, and in some cases, has to also be adaptable to the lucrative charter market,” explains Kamini. 

A slightly more obvious factor, which any yacht designer has to bear in mind, are the physical constraints of space. Compared to the multiple homes owned by the client, their yacht is often perceived as an extension of their style and quality of life. As such, there is an expectation that the interior designer will be able to create something just as luxurious, regardless of the space constraints as their other homes. 

“It is about making the most of the use of a room, and with this particular yacht we worked closely with the shipyard to carve out as much useable space as possible,” says Kamini. Being able to be involved at such an early stage in the design process meant that Studio Kamini got vital input into the original spatial designs and overall size of the yacht; an unusual feat for this type of project. 

To get around the trials of working in a constrained space, Studio Kamini found that designing their own bespoke furniture was the most cost effective and practical solution. Designing bespoke furniture is something that only the best designers can do and is a crucial element as it means that they retain full control over all the dimensions, shape and finish of each item. In this instance, it meant that all the pieces not only adhered to the aesthetic requirements, but were also immaculately scaled to the space. This is a vital element to make the overall flow of the rooms cohesive throughout.

Another challenge for an interior designer is working within the constraints of a budget when designing something associated with extreme luxury. The overruling expectation is that a yacht should resemble a floating palace, but this can be challenging to achieve if the clients don’t want to spend millions to obtain it. Luckily this is where a good interior designer really comes into their own. With this yacht, the clients wanted their floating home to resemble their mansion in the Hamptons (which Studio Kamini also designed), and were happy for it to reflect luxury without the opulence preferred by many yacht owners. 

“With this project, luxury was all about the attention to detail, using unusual and tactile fabrics and materials, and delivering a considered product that is of a high quality – regardless of the price tag,” explains Kamini.  

“For me, luxury is about creating an environment, be it on water or land, that addresses the requirements of the client, both on an aesthetic and practical level.” 

The attention to detail in this project meant that Studio Kamini infused luxurious elements through their selection of materials used on the furniture, windows and flooring throughout. They layered all manner of textures together such as linens, silks, leathers, mother of pearl, embroideries and silk velvets. 

“We really like to push the boundaries with our projects and with this home we introduced special finishes such as Verre Eglomise, a technique of gilding, etching and painting the backs of mirrors dating back to the 18th Century. It’s designing unique finishes like this and making them relevant to today’s world which we feel brings in another level of luxury. Another detail we designed bespoke for this client was the mother of pearl inlay on select pieces of bespoke furniture in the Master Cabin. This was a subtle way to add a sense of understated rarity.” 

The luxury yacht world retains its reputation for being a playground for the rich and famous because yachts are renown to be depreciating assets, costing huge sums every year to maintain and run. However, in the case of this particular yacht, Studio Kamini’s client broke records in achieving an unheard of 25% price increase when they sold it several years later. Now worth a groundbreaking €23 million, it just shows that when the design of a floating home is right, it can prove to be a good investment.  

For more information on the services of Fine & Country Interior Design, both for properties and yachts, contact +44 (0)203 490 5855. 

27th Sep 2017

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