Azzam: Behind the design of the world's largest superyacht

5 April 2022

In October 2013, Lürssen shipyard delivered the largest privately owned superyacht in the world, 180 metre Azzam. With a staggering 13,000GT (approx), the all-white yacht has held its title unchallenged for nearly seven years. Although this reign will come to an end with the delivery of 183 metre REV, it is a project that has captured the attention and imagination of those who have laid eyes on her.

Designed by Italian studio Nauta Design, the focus for the team was to create a design with a strong character while also being able to endure the test of time. Using a combination of elements from contemporary, modern architecture, Azzam was designed to mark a milestone in the global superyacht fleet for decades to come.

Azzam features balanced, modern architecture composed of straight lines and proportional volumes, which are some of the main design principles of Nauta Design,” explained Mario Pedol, co-founder of Nauta Design.

“When we were called to participate in pitching for the exterior styling of this yacht we knew it would be the most demanding work of our career, defined by the strictest and most challenging requests in term of dimensions, performances and technology. What made us confident to be able to deal with such a challenge was the interpretation of the client’s brief. The best technology was required in order to obtain the highest performance possible.”

Inspired by the studio’s earlier concepts Light 80 and Light 90, 82 and 90 metres respectively, Azzam was a giant leap in scale and presented both creative and technical challenges, with pressure added to the project by a tight deadline for delivery.

"We all made a huge effort to comply with an incredibly short, thus very challenging, design and production schedule which Lürssen actually succeeded in achieving — even a month ahead of time,” said Pedol in an interview with BOAT International in 2014.

Azzam’s record-breaking build time was under three years from steel cutting, following one year of engineering according to the German shipyard. This is much owed to Burgess who acted as the owner's technical consultant and project manager throughout the entire build.

Azzam has an official top speed of 30 knots thanks to two diesel engines combined with two gas turbines that produce 70,095 kW (94,000hp) and are connected to waterjets. This is an incredible achievement for a vessel of this size, made all the more significant when considering the speed in which the project took to deliver.

“We’ve had a lot of compliments for Azzam,” Pedol revealed to BOAT International during a candid interview in early 2015. “They all talk about elegance and balance, that she doesn’t look as big as she is, and I think this is a good achievement.”