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Video special: the story of superyacht design, told in the form of a pizza

31 January 2023 • Written by Stewart Campbell for Vripack

When we were invited to the Netherlands to discuss holistic superyacht design, it's fortunate we arrived with our appetites. You might never have considered pizza and superyacht design to be analogous, but Dutch design studio Vripack has some news for you: they are one and the same.

"We had a lot of fun making this film, and thought a pizza was the perfect device for explaining our concept of holistic design," said the studio's co-creative director Marnix Hoekstra. "The pizza base is the naval architecture, the exterior design is the passata and the garnish is the interior – you need all three working together to make the perfect pizza, or superyacht."

Few studios are able capable of designing the naval architecture, exterior and interior of a superyacht – with most specialising in one or two disciplines, but rarely all three. Fewer still have a catalogue of more than 8,000 designs and a heritage dating to 1961.

But Vripack is not your usual design studio. As well as an enviable back catalogue of superyacht projects, the studio has also designed tenders, workboats and ferries. The sum of all these skills is a studio able to turn its hand to anything – and, crucially, conceive a project holistically, from the keel up.

That is the focus of this film – holistic design. In it, the co-creative directors of Vripack, Bart Bouwhuis and Hoekstra, who took control of Vripack from its founder, Dick Boon, in 2009, explain why boats are better when a single design studio takes on the entire project.

Vripack's holistic approach is best demonstrated in the 55 metre Alia Yachts-built superyacht Al Waab

Vripack's holistic approach is best demonstrated in the 55 metre Alia Yachts-built superyacht Al Waab, for which the studio picked up a hat-trick of wins at the 2022 BOAT Design & Innovation Awards – Best Naval Architecture; Outstanding Exterior Design; and Best Interior Design.

The studio has also exhibited its expertise across all design disciplines in the world's largest sportfisher, the 52 metre Project 406, currently in build at Royal Huisman. Described as a "sportfisher on steroids" by Bouwhuis, the yacht will break new ground when she hits the water.

Vripack completed the naval architecture as well as the exterior and interior styling of the 55m Al Waab from Alia Yachts

Project 406 will also carry some groundbreaking tech to minimise its environmental footprint, which is a thread that runs through all Vripack's projects. Vripack's co-creative directors practise what they preach: with North Sails and the Ocean Family Foundation, they created the Beach Bin Initiative and send bags made of recycled sailcloth to yacht crews worldwide to clear beaches of plastics.

Vripack's commitment to a greener future is best exemplified, however, through its collaboration with Foundation Zero, which aims to make truly sustainable marine travel and hospitality a reality. One outcome of this collaboration will be a novel vessel designed with no engines and no hydrogen, which will generate all its energy from wind, solar and by regenerating from the props. When delivered by Vitters, it will set a new benchmark in the marine industry.

Project 406 is the world's largest sportfisher and is currently in build at Royal Huisman

"As part of a large international team, we have spent over three years in R&D for this project and Foundation Zero is making all our research open source, so anyone can copy us and achieve carbon-free cruising. As an industry we need to take more responsibility for our output, and projects like this will help secure the future of the superyacht industry," said Bouwhuis.

Vripack was also solely responsible for the design of Rock XL, a 33m motor yacht due for delivery in 2023 from Evadne Yachts

In the film, Hoekstra and Bouwhuis also shed more light on their working relationship, how they are using VR to revolutionise the design process and what they get up to when not in the office. Don’t miss this chance to go behind the scenes at one of the world’s most innovative design studios.

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