Craft

Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Design and interiors writer Bethan Ryder is more at home on land than at sea, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming.

By Bethan Ryder | 22 September 2017
Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Bethan Ryder

Watching the superyachts anchored off Skiathos this summer got me musing about my very own private floating universe. Particularly one night, when the lights of one sleek vessel were aglow until the early hours, suggesting a party was in full swing. Although it’s true to say that the very definition of a superyacht is escapism, it’s also about sharing your exclusive world adrift with a select bunch of friends and family.

Which is why for me, my superyacht interiors would be about fun and decadence – rather than some exercise in serene minimalism and nautical blues. You get the blues through the windows and out on deck, so why not indulge in a different palette on board? My fantasy superyacht would involve interiors by an all-star crew of my favourite designers, not just one.

In the mix would have to be Paris-based designer India Mahdavi. I’d pick her to design the lounge, which would include a sunken seating area in velvets and silks. Her application of colour is fantastic – she’s responsible for the Insta-famous pink Gallery restaurant at Sketch – and she does beautiful things with pattern and curvaceous forms.

I’d throw dinners for 50 in a salon designed by Welsh designer Bethan Gray, because she is fantastic at exquisite surfaces. The room would feel like a jewellery box, with furniture adapted from her Shamsian collection in stained jade or pink maple marquetry combined with brass detailing. There might be some mother-of-pearl in there somewhere and leather upholstered dining chairs would feature the brogue detailing that appears on her side tables. She’d also create a little ice-cream parlour in pretty terrazzos.

Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Poggenpohl’s The Fourth Wall by Andrew Hays

Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Poggenpohl’s The Fourth Wall by Andrew Hays

Crew would serve from a kitchen adapted from Poggenpohl’s The Fourth Wall by Andrew Hays. This former theatre designer devised an incredible kitchen which utilises magical glass that switches between opaque and transparent at the flick of a switch. My capacious, well-organised walk-in larder and incredibly well-stocked wine cellar could be on display, or concealed – depending on my mood.

Who else to create an elegant indoor cocktail bar but David Collins Studio? After all, they’ve designed some of the most celebrated bars in the world – award-winning hits like The Connaught and the Blue Bar – and always with the most flattering lighting. I’d have a few bars though, perhaps a Cabana-style hang out on deck too, for whom I’d enlist king of ‘happy chic’ Jonathan Adler to create a Miami-meets-Club Tropicana vibe. I’d ask artist Juan Gatti to add some of his incredible shell-encrusted decoration too, because it looks so stunning on the terrace at the Faena Hotel in Miami.

A below-deck disco for late-night dancing would be essential. Those Milanese purveyors of glam, Seventies-style interiors Dimore Studio would, I reckon, pull off the most stylish after-hours boite, one that would benefit from an illuminated dance-floor created by design whiz Sabine Marcelis, who specialises in rainbow mirrors and neon and resin light pieces.

Let’s not forget those occasional karaoke requirements. Bethan Laura Wood would create the most fun soundproof singing booth with upholstered walls and seating upholstered in her crazy-paving textiles.

Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Cristina Celestino's VIP suite for Fendi

Superyacht interiors: Dreaming big

Cristina Celestino's VIP suite for Fendi

For my boudoir, vanity area and bathroom I’d be looking for a gentler aesthetic. Italian designer Cristina Celestino springs to mind, particularly those uplifting Fifties pastel tones that she employed for Fendi’s travelling VIP suite at Design Miami last year. Leading off this would be a walk-in wardrobe by fashion designer Peter Pilotto, decked out with paravento upholstered in his glittering fabrics and block-colour flock clothes hangers.

For calmer moments, guests could retire to a hammam, complete with a steam room. This octagonal temple of beautiful finishes of stone, marble and travertine would be executed by jewellery-designer-turned-furniture-designer Lara Bohinc, who has created some furniture gems in a variety of natural stones. Changing rooms would have wallcoverings featuring tropical landscapes and exotic animals, all hand-painted by De Gournay.

Other on-board entertainment would include a screening room. Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc – who has designed a range of elegant, sculptural pieces for Se – would create some lush oversized velvet armchairs, sofas and daybeds ideal for catching a movie with friends.

For younger guests, there would also be a games room-cum-crèche, and who else to commandeer but Dutch design duo Kiki & Joost. The pair recently demonstrated their playful, enquiring approach to design with their Physical installation for Milan’s Salone in 2016, which featured Meccano-like furniture and lights activated by a puff of breath. I think they could dream up a sensational crèche full of interactive toys, perhaps with a few roundabouts by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon thrown in.

Poolside, India Mahdavi’s rattan marquetry collection would pair well with Patricia Urquiola’s Crinoline seating for B&B Italia and hi-tech waterproof rugs by Paola Lenti. Elsewhere a suspended Dedon Nest would provide a nice hideaway nook for reading. Perhaps Paola Navone could orchestrate a fabulous tiled mosaic for the pool interior. I’d also find room for Marc Ange’s pink Refuge daybed, which offers respite from the sun beneath a steel canopy of pink palms. Decadent and glamorous, the ultimate in escapism – I might even call my yacht something cheesy, like Xanadu. Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to include the roller disco…

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