Yacht owners are making it known to their interior designers that texture more than counts – it rules. The rewards of a beautiful hand, the richness it adds to the yachting experience, are nevertheless subtle, easier to feel than see. A third skin of fine textures layered around one’s second skin is beginning to define the luxury yacht experience. Marshalling all of one’s resources to create a ‘wow’ visual first impression is fast becoming secondary.
How are megayacht designers rising to the challenge of interpreting this new notion of luxury? Regardless of what people are wearing as their second skin – a Valentino suit or a Speedo and towel – the design of the third skin enveloping them must simultaneously flatter, delight, energize and soothe all on board.
Manufacturers are responding to this complex challenge, as well. They are now offering designers a cornucopia of custom silks and chenilles, velvets and cottons, cashmeres, linens and leathers, wools, speciality indoor/outdoor synthetics, warm woods and veneers, along with matte-finished or otherwise roughed-up marbles and granite.
One of the epicentres of the texture trend is Italy, where the artisan work around fabric, stone and leather has been refined for centuries. There, we spoke with two leading megayacht designers, Stefano Pastrovich near Genoa and Antonio Romano, a partner in the Hot Lab Yacht & Design studio in Milan.
Texture is one of the things that can transform a boat in five seconds. It is very simple, just some cutting and gluing, says Pastrovich. His work on the refit of the 50m motor yacht Mystere and Xvintage, a 100m concept developed with Fincantieri, are two recent yacht projects where he feels the understated magic of texture is most pronounced.
Not only can texture transform a yachting experience overnight at least where ceilings are concerned, painting is a far more expensive option than using textiles, explains Pastrovich. With textiles it is much easier to hide the joints between panels.
As though for emphasis, a rising tide of textile samples from the many of the world-class mills nearby appears ready to engulf Pastrovich at his desk there and then.
Fabric is a particularly critical factor on furniture. While in your house, you at least have your shirt on; while on the boat can have next to nothing. One needs to consider how the fabric contacts the body directly. Peeling oneself off leather or a glossy hard-finished chair can feel uncomfortably sticky, says Pastrovich.
Stone floors can feel cold and gummy on bare feet as well. If you tour Mystere at Monaco, you can feel how we broke up the marble so its surface is not completely smooth. Then we brushed it with sand. When you walk on it barefooted you feel like you are still on the beach.