The interior of a superyacht is the ultimate of sophistication. No material can replace marble or gold.
For precious stone, due to its weight, techniques such as honeycombing are used.
Although good imitation materials are available, a client or designer wants to have the real materials.
People like the rich look of the natural materials and do not think that any other alternative belongs on a superyacht. “The interior of of an 80m-plus superyacht is difficult to compare with any loft, villa or even supercar” says a spokesman of the interior production department of Oceanco in ‘Accounting for taste’, “it is the ultimate of sophistication, so no material can replace leather, marble or gold.”
This view is supported by Perry van Hirtum, manager of interior engineering at Heesen Yachts: “Although good imitation materials are available, most of the time a client or designer wants to have the real materials. For them, the artificial material is not ‘rich’ or real enough and does not belong on board of a superyacht.”
Examples of the most popular materials are alligator leather and lizard skin, but also very much appreciated is marble and even onyx or amethyst. The complications with these materials can arise early, in obtaining the materials. Second obstacle is the installation. Either because of the requirements of the client (owner) of the superyacht, or the designer, or because of the fragility of the material. “Some of the materials are incredibly difficult to install and require mostly specialised work.” says Van Hirtum. The amount of work that goes into it, on top of the high price of the refined materials makes the prices increase exponentially. The installation of several natural materials like onyx or quartz can cause problems because they can break during installation.
Backlighting brings a special and very wanted effect, but is a very delicate technique.
Sometimes the downsides of these materials can be made work for you.
The quality of exotic materials affects the costs, but it is often still very challenging to persuade a client to opt for a more cost-effective or practical option. And their natural beauty or unusual structure makes them very appealing for the client to apply in a larger quantity. Which makes it even harder to come by. To lighten the weight of precious stone it can be necessary to use techniques like honeycombing. Backlighting brings a special and very wanted effect, but is a very delicate technique.
The weight of the stone can, on the other hand, when well used, work to the yacht’s advantage. “Sometimes the downsides of these exotic materials can be made work for you.” states James Claydon, founding partner of Claydon Reeves, in ‘Accounting for taste’.
And even tough high-quality initial work will cost more, a cheaper job is more likely to cause more additional costs in the future. Every material comes with its own personal hindrance during installation, which this needs to be overcome. But nothing is impossible.
Natural materials are a vital asset to each design and the asset that makes a superyacht unique and complementing his owner.
Source: Accounting for taste
Written by Georgia Boscawen
Magazine The Superyacht Report – Issue 174 – November 2016