The most on-trend superyacht interiors are comfortable, individual and homely spaces that reflect the increased time their owners are spending on the water. We asked leading designers for their top tips.

Words: Alice Cairns

Whether you’re adventuring in the Amazon or sunbathing in the Bahamas, experts have some fresh ideas about how superyacht interiors should look and feel…

Open plan
“Yacht interiors are becoming a lot more open plan,” explains Bryan Jones of Sunseeker International, which has its headquarters in Mayfair’s Davies Street.

“Living spaces are larger and more open, particularly on the main deck. People are spending more time on their superyachts, enjoying that total privacy and the ability to entertain – so large, open beach clubs and sun-lounger spaces are in demand. Yacht users want to be able to move seamlessly between different spaces, which includes from the yacht into the sea, so submersible bathing platforms and sea stairs are a great addition.”

“A yacht is often considered a second home for people rather than a vacation space, and so the interiors need to be designed differently,” says Kelly Hoppen CBE. 

“Storage is a priority, particularly for those looking to spend longer durations at sea.

Practical yet discrete storage designs that complement an aesthetic and don’t take over the space are important. Balance in any environment is key”.

“Recently, we have seen an increase in demand for contemporary designs with a warm and cosy feel,” says Sara Gioanola of Dutch shipbuilding company Heesen Yachts.

“Yacht owners want to feel as much at home at sea as they do on land, which is why we incorporate light colours in our fabric as well as the use of textured materials to give some depth and added weight to highlight that cosy and rustic aesthetic. Our clients also often request fireplaces to unwind in front of in the evenings.”

“A client’s vision of how they would like their home on the water to look is the most important starting point when designing furniture and interiors for yachts,” says Michael Keech, creative director of bespoke furniture specialist LINLEY.

“Designing items that have secret compartments and beautifully considered marquetry art pieces are usually very popular, as these can be both practical and visually stimulating, creating a home away from home feel. We don’t really ‘follow trends’ per se, but we are seeing an increasing demand from clients for ‘bare-foot luxury’, a term which encompasses the use of natural materials such as timber and stone.”

“In my experience, contemporary and bright always wins out on superyachts,” says charter broker Sophie Spain of Burgess Yachts, based in Cunard House in Regent Street.

“Contemporary, clean spaces are a must, and on the water you want those port holes that really bring in the light. Pale woods, satin finishes and panoramic views are all still extremely on trend.”

…but not too bright
“In terms of material and lighting, you have to be careful when creating interiors about the fact that the light reflects not only from the sky but also off the sea, meaning it can be very bright!” cautions Nathan Hutchins, co-founder of design studio Muza Lab.

“The key is to ensure that surfaces and furniture are not too reflective. The light should be managed so that it complements a space, rather than overwhelming it.”

“With an eye for sustainability, both clients and designers are keen on choosing eco materials aboard the yachts to ensure that the building process remains as sustainable as possible,” says Heesen’s Sara Gioanola.

“Doors can be fully man-made from engineered wood. The leathers on board can now also be replaced by faux leather or its equivalent. A sustainable build process is an essential part of reducing yachting’s carbon footprint.

“The use of 3D printing, electrostatic paint spraying, and waste reduction and recycling can greatly reduce its environmental impact.”

“Outdoor cinemas are a must,” says Bryan Jones of Sunseeker International. “We’re talking projector screens that can be 20-feet across, with a very high-end laser projector, so that you can sit out under the stars of an evening, watching your favourite movie.”

“Beach clubs are always popular, especially if they’re on the water level with access to water sport toys,” says Sophie Spain of Burgess Yachts. “Sea bobs, jet skis, slides, and eFoils are very much in demand, so any yacht design needs to incorporate space for these things. Gym spaces and massage areas are also important.”

The greatest show

There’s no better place to plan a yacht interior than at The Monaco Yacht Show (September 28 to October 1).

Last year, a Design & Innovation Hub was introduced to create a space for young, innovative designers to discuss the future of their industry. This year, the Hub will double its exhibition space, including the addition of a dedicated, 100 square metre conference room for regular talks and discussions.  Johan Pizzardini, head of communications at the Show, said: “Designers are the rockstars of yachting, so they deserve a genuine concert hall!”

About 20 conferences will be held in the new conference room across the four-day duration of the show, allowing designers to discuss current and future trends, compare new projects and generate ideas. The Monaco Yacht Show hopes that the newly expanded Hub will encourage fresh thinking, in particular in the field of sustainability and eco-friendly yacht design.