What's inside a superyacht is often very secretive and most of the time, little is known about the production process and the challenges that go along with it. One person who was willing to share his view on such a topic is List GC’s Managing Director, Christian Bolinger. Since the end of 2020, he has been responsible for sales, manufacturing and project calculation in the management team of the family-owned interior outfitting company. Here, he shares what things have looked like this past year from his seat in the company’s head office in Austria.
What design trends have you been made aware of recently?
We are seeing owners wanting a place of retreat to be safe, both for themselves and their crew. Ways of minimising infection potential have been part of many design agendas since the outbreak. For example, on our side, we focused on door and handle solutions and general surface applications, while our AC partners investigated ventilation.
In terms of exterior furniture, there is currently a clear trend towards new, larger living spaces on board. The design is moving away from clearly demarcated areas towards smooth transitions. The connection between inside and outside is becoming increasingly important. As a result, we’re seeing interior designers consciously including parts of the exterior. This also changes the requirements for on-deck furnishings. The planning and selection of materials must also take external influences into account. This is where we’re able to contribute our know-how and craftsmanship.
How do you think the superyacht industry has developed this past year?
It became very clear this past year that, as projects planned for the long term, luxury yachts are largely independent of the economy. We have seen an increase in demand for new superyachts and large numbers of orders being placed with international shipyards. This is clearly a positive situation for us as interior outfitters and suppliers. We have been cooperating with many of our customers for years and this, combined with the fact that we’ve been able to demonstrate that we’re a trustworthy and reliable partner, means that we’ve come through recent months well and can currently rely on a stable economic basis despite the challenging times.
What other developments can you identify?
We think that sustainability is definitely another important trend in the industry. For yachts, this currently plays a role in relation to the engine types, air conditioning and waste management. Which makes it all the more important for us to think further and more sustainably, be proactive and make our contribution in our work processes, approaches and production. At List GC, we began using photovoltaics on our company buildings in Bad Erlach, Lower Austria, and using offcuts in our apprentice workshop rather than disposing of them.
Do you think there is anything missing from the industry?
It is great to see that owners are striving to reduce the ecological footprint of new-builds and major refits. However, I am missing this development on the interior side of the industry, where interior outfitters are still guided by boundaries that hinder a comprehensive application of sustainable solutions and processes. I am waiting for the challenge of building an interior that is truly driven and defined by sustainable guidelines. This would require a different mindset and perception of quality, as you would need to accept certain imperfections from nature, resulting in a lower waste of base products such as leather, stone and veneers.