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Credit: Amer Ghazzal / Alamy Stock Photo

Artistic edge: Eight of the most creative bespoke elements on superyachts

22 November 2023 • Written by Holly Margerrison

Superyachts are full of 'wow-factor' features; bespoke, hand-made elements that really set a superyacht apart. But the small, behind-the-scenes artisans who craft these details rarely get the limelight - which is why BOAT has introduced the Artistry & Craft Awards to celebrate these talented individuals. There are two categories – Emerging Artisan of the Year and Excellence in Craftsmanship. 

Ahead of the awards, BOAT brings together eight of the most creative elements seen on superyachts today.

The gold bas-relief on Phoenix 2

Credit: Jim Raycroft

With her cherry velvet floors and gilded-gold grand piano, 90-metre Phoenix 2's interiors go against the ebb and flow of passing trends to capture something altogether otherworldly – teetering into Gatsby-esque aesthetics. Tasked with a style that captured the Art Deco spirit of New York, Winch Design set to work on an owner's brief for custom-everything, including the six-panelled gold bas-relief by DKT Artworks – a specialist in bespoke fine art pieces for both residential and marine projects since the late seventies. 

Overlooking the dining table, the structure reveals a swinging six-piece jazz band and is a tribute to the owner who, according to Winch, "adored music and built friendships with some world-class concert pianists”. A statue of a conductor, opposite, brings the musical theme into harmony and complements the dining chairs with different orchestra members embroidered onto the backs.

The jaguar on Whisper (formerly Kismet)

Credit: Amer Ghazzal / Alamy Stock Photo

Wanting a yacht both for his family to enjoy and for corporate entertaining, Shahid Khan started out with his 68-metre Kismet, but after the acquisition of two football teams – including the Jacksonville Jaguars in the US – 68 metres just didn't quite cut it anymore. In came the bigger and better 95.2-metre Lürssen Kismet, now with a space so expansive it could almost stage a Jacksonville Jaguars' practice. 

Space aside, it is the four-metre statue of a silver jaguar that makes Kismet instantly recognisable. In a nod to Khan's footballing roots, it graces the bow of the yacht on game days – one paw resting on an American football helmet, the other in the air – establishing Kismet's stance as the leader of the pack. The yacht was sold earlier this year, and is now under new ownership and with a new name — Whisper.

The Tree of Life staircase on Solandge

Acting as a true centrepiece, a 15-metre lighted sculpture slices through 85.1-metre Solandge's axis and sets the tone for the atrium lobby. The feature, made in California, is now known as the 'tree of life' and was a response to the owner's request to have something running the entire height of the vessel from the tank deck. Glistening in all its glory, the light is made up of 1,423 jewel-toned flower points and is encircled by a magnificent stainless steel and leather bannister that anchors the floating staircase. 

The mosaic-tiled pool on Savannah

The 83.5-metre Savannah boasts many interesting design features that set her apart from other superyachts, but her nine-metre mosaic pool certainly earns its place as one of the coolest superyacht pools in the world. Designed with input from artist Cecily Brown, the colourful blue and green glass tiles create an abstract mosaic painting from above. The pool-cum-artwork takes centre stage on the main deck, bordered by loungers and sofa seating.

The statues around Leona's pool

Gilded gold and Ancient Greek themes give 80-metre Leona an extravagant feel. Take her beach club, where reproductions of statues of Aphrodite of Milos and other nymphs and goddesses (made by a local sculptor) stand tall above the 8.7-metre by three-metre pool. Set underneath fibre-optic lights to give the appearance of a star-lit nightsky, the statues sit on water outlets and complement the geometric Greek key pattern which serves as a fresco on the walls of the beach club.

The two-deck "clock" on Octopus

“I combined the old tradition of having a central clock on board a ship with my client’s unique passions for modern sculpture, mathematics, art and music,” explained Jonathan Quinn Barnett, who created 126-metre Octopus’ original interior. The result? A series of braided stainless-steel shrouds from a sailing vessel, strung on either side of the grand staircase from lower to upper deck, which functions as a clock. 

The piece was made by 102-year-old German watchmakers and digital audio software allows a tune to play to denote the passage of time. As Barnett explained, "every 15 minutes, the strings could play anything from The Bells of St Mary’s to Jimi Hendrix!".

The "virtual aquarium" bar on board IJE

Credit: Ray

Enter the nightclub on IJE, characterised by its dark woods, labradorite stone and blue leather, and you will find yourself in what's been dubbed the "virtual aquarium" that sails the seas. Framed screens act as decorative 'portholes' – the work of Nextworks – depicting movies of sea life. The space features the same inky hues, soft materials and sound insulation as the cinema.

The video walls on Luminosity

Allow the 370-square-metre, 18-metre-high interactive LED video wall on 108-metre Luminosity to transport you to your destination of choice. The screens run down the five-deck stairwell and out along the main deck. While the above photo reveals a forest, the feature wall can display any custom images, creating an ambiance tailored to your mood – from party mode to places to inspire your next destination.

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