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Designers share key features of Heesen's in-build 57m Project Akira

18 March 2022

“Yacht connoisseurs understand how extraordinary it is to build a high-speed aluminium motor yacht,” says Heesen CCO Friso Visser. It involves exact naval architecture, precise engineering, meticulous welding and rigorous weight control. “Few shipyards have the skills to do it. Even fewer can afford to risk it on a speculative build,” he adds. Yet Heesen is producing successful high-speed superyachts time and time again, and next in line is the 57-metre Project Akira.

Project Akira (YN 20457) is one of the latest speculation projects from the Dutch yard and will hit the water during the spring of 2024. What’s special about Akira is she is set to reach a top speed of 22 knots with approximately half the fuel of a conventional steel displacement yacht of the same size. In addition to the yard’s top-tier craftsmanship, Akira’s efficiency and speed are thanks to the combination of her lightweight and efficient fast displacement hull form (FDHF) hull and twin IMO III-compliant MTU 16V 4000 M65L engines.

Unveiled during the 2019 Monaco Yacht Show, the start of Akira’s construction commenced just 18 months later. As pointed out by Heesen’s CEO, Arthur Brouwer, Akira is one of the only 57-metre all-aluminium fast motor yachts available for delivery in 2024. “The 57-metre aluminium design represents the perfect counterpoint to our successful 55m Steel Class and is ideal for those clients who seek speed, efficiency and volume,” he adds.

Heesen’s long-term partner Frank Laupman of Omega Architects was commissioned to design the yacht’s exterior. And what he did was create a shapely profile, a gently raked bow, bold fashion plates and a scalloped transom. Working in harmony with this sporty and muscular exterior look is the interior design. Assigned to UK design studio Harrison Eidsgaard, Akira’s 400 square metres of interior space is what her designers describe as a relaxing sanctuary at sea. “There is a growing desire to escape the stresses of day-to-day life, and surround oneself in a calm and relaxed environment,” says designer Ben Harrison.

The inside layout

To begin their third collaborative project with Heesen, the interior design team’s first step was to develop the high-spec general arrangement. “Introducing us to the project so early meant that the mechanical parts of the ship were considered in tandem with the interior,” explains Harrison. “The key areas have been given the space they need, enhancing the flow of the yacht. We feel that the modern onboard lifestyle is all about making the most of the scenery outside.”

The glass lift shaft

Akira’s interior layout revolves around the central atrium staircase. Noted as one of the highlights on board, Harrison Eidsgaard has offered two design options for this area. “The first option which is currently in build contains a full glass lift shaft wrapped in winding wooden treads that spiral up from the lower deck to the bridge deck. The other option is for a full atrium staircase with a central void,” describes Harrison.

Bringing the outdoors, in

Once inside, guests will find themselves surrounded by unobstructed views of the ocean, which, thanks to the large panels of exterior glass, is a fundamental element of the design. “The glass, both in the hull and deck superstructure play an important role in bringing the outside inside,” Harrison says. The team were able to succeed in introducing such a large amount of glass on board thanks to advancements in glass technology. “My hope is that owners and guests spend their days enjoying the wonderful views framed through the large glass windows of the exterior and making the most of fresh air living and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle,” he adds.

The bridge deck aft saloon

Another key feature is the bridge deck aft saloon, as it is here that guests will become fully immersed in the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. “The use of three sliding glass doors to the aft end of the saloon open out onto the aft deck area,” says Harrison. “The asymmetric layout of this space encourages the flow of guests from outside to inside and vice versa, and on the way, they pass the cantilevered sculptural bar to port,” he adds.

The amount of light inside Akira is further enhanced by the designer’s choice of materials. Reflective surfaces throughout the yacht – such as high gloss sycamore, laminated glass and metallic mesh – bounce light around the interior and help frame the far-reaching views out to sea. “Stainless steel finishes, dark pewter accents and metallised materials bring a sense of warmth to the room without detracting from the beauty of the outdoors,” adds designer Ewa Eidsgaard.

Custom options and modern features

Outdoors, guests will find an al fresco dining spot on the upper aft terrace, a large sundeck with a Jacuzzi, a forward seating area on the bridge deck and a beach club. Because the tenders and toys are to be stored on the foredeck, the beach club is an uncluttered space that can be used for a variety of purposes, and comes with a fixed swim platform for easy access to the sea.

One of six staterooms

Elsewhere on the yacht, six staterooms will be able to accommodate up to 12 guests. The owner’s stateroom occupies the main deck forward and comprises a study, the bedroom with his-and-hers closets, and a full-beam bathroom with a bathtub and shower stall. Here, there is also a French balcony for an owner to enjoy their own private outdoor view to sea. Four double suites are found on the lower deck, while the VIP cabin is on the bridge deck.

The beach club bar

The brief for Akira also asked for the interior to exude luxury with room for a prospective owner to customise the yacht to fit their lifestyle. To fulfil the criteria, Harrison Eidsgaard created a neutral interior that is still detailed and interesting. “It’s a relatively simple aesthetic. It invites personalisation but showcases non-fixed artisanal furniture, such as the handcrafted console in the main saloon,” explains Eidsgaard. “The brief from Heesen was to provide as much flexibility as possible for clients to personalise the yacht up to the last possible moment. In this respect we have many options for furniture, accessories and artwork that can be changed up to three months before delivery,” adds Harrison.

Inside the beach club

To find out more about what the Dutch yard has in the shed and what’s for sale, click here.