Semi-custom Amels yacht Engelberg combines family home with high-tech office
by Caroline White
Since the first Amels’ Limited Editions superyachts, the 171 Deninki, debuted from the Dutch builder, 14 have launched and 11 more are being built. Limited Editions have what Amels’ Marketing Director Victor Caminada calls a ‘100 per cent repeat client rate’ – in other words, previous clients who have bought a new boat have ordered it from Amels’ range. Since owners usually go up in size for their second yacht, the Limited Editions range now includes the 199, 212 and 242. In the middle is the 180, of which the newly launched 55m Engelberg is the first model to be built.
Engelberg’s curving lines strongly resemble the smaller Limited Editions, in particular the Limited Editions 180 Step One (launched before Engelberg, but started after her). The superyachts share the elliptical shapes of the forward windows and side decks on the main deck, the bulge of the upper deck balcony forward and the wave-like side superstructure up top – altogether it is a natural, flowing form. Engelberg’s most distinctive element of exterior design is her grey hull paint, with an orange highlight just above the waterline. The superstructure is painted a very pale shade of grey, too.
While the look may not be as radical as that of the scimitar-bowed Limited Editions 199, the basic design offered to Engelberg’s owner has developed significantly since the Deninki was launched. Customisations that work well – for example an owner’s office or a helipad – become options at the start of the next boat proposed by Amels.
Engelberg’s owner, a Zurich-based industrialist, came to Amels through Jeroen Minnema, a broker for Ocean Independence and the owner’s rep. When negotiations for an existing 50 metre yacht dragged on, the owner knocked the deal on the head and decided to build new, but he didn’t want to wait years. ‘I proposed Amels because it’s a top-quality Dutch shipyard, and because of the limited amount of time of the actual build, combined with the customisation,’ says Minnema. ‘None of these yachts are the same.’
The parts of luxury yacht Engelberg that could not be changed include the spacious, well laid-out engine room with two MTU engines, each offering 2,100rpm, and two massive silencers; the central staircase; structural bulkheads and the basic style of the exterior.
As the size of the Limited Editions Amels yachts has grown, the extra length has been concentrated in the stern. From Deninki, which simply had an aft storage space, this part of the boat has grown to become the large beach club we see on Engelberg, with a sauna and steam room, all tiled in brightly coloured cartoon characters. Engelberg also features a customised foldout bathing platform, allowing guests to comfortably board or disembark the yacht in water or on shore; it can even launch a jet ski.
But in terms of customisations, this is the tip of Engelberg in more than one sense. There are more windows in the upper saloon than is standard, and stainless steel child-proof gates are at the tops of exterior staircases. Another new touch, at the forward end of the main saloon, are sliding doors port and starboard of the dining table that open on to the side decks, from which custom balconies fold out.
Upstairs a wide-body upper saloon was chosen to maximise indoor space, but again sliding doors are on either side. Here, instead of balconies there are railings nearly flush to the side of the boat, ‘creating a French balcony, where you can lean outside and get a fresh breath of air’, as Minnema puts it. Both sets of doors have been made to recede into the superstructure of the superyacht without blocking the windows on either side.
Most customisations in public areas have been made to emphasise the connection between the interior and exterior. This is largely down to the involvement of Enzo Enea, who is responsible for the interior design and décor of this superyacht. Enea, a well-known Zurich-based landscape architect who has branched out into residential interior design, had not worked on a boat before. ‘We normally work from outside to inside,’ says Enea, ‘so the opposite to what architects or designers normally do.’
Daniel Küpfer, project and management director at Ocean Management, the management division of Ocean Independence, worked on the contract for the boat and explains Enea’s approach: ‘His philosophy is that the surroundings flow into the interior. He does not look at the interior space as insulated. The idea of (exterior designer) Tim Heywood was also that you look from inside to the exterior and that matches perfectly with the interior architect.’
Enea chose the soft green-blue tone of a sea urchin shell as a recurring colour for fabrics. ‘We were inspired by the coast,’ he says, ‘so we took the colour of the shells, the sand, the rocks and the sea.’ The exterior cap rails are teak left unvarnished so they will weather naturally to a grey that complements the exterior paints.
Complementing this natural palette the predominant wood in the main saloon is brushed teak, the forward dining table a darker mahogany, and the curved chairs in a neutral tone are highlighted with strips of soft green leather (made by Metrica, like most furniture on board the yachr). In the seating area further aft the tones are teal and sand. As on Step One, a staircase starboard aft leads directly down to the four good-sized guest cabins, while fair-sized crew accommodation (about a third the length of the boat) is on the lower deck forward of the amidships engine room.
The upper deck saloon is tailored to evening use, the wood darker, a mini grand Steinway in the corner and forward a grey velvet sofa with coral cushions. In the corner, surprisingly for this otherwise social space, is a desk (with computer and phone) that hints at a major customisation theme on Engelberg.
‘We put a lot of security features in, which are confidential,’ says Kupfer, ‘and [the owner] wanted to have a communications system which interacts with his communications system ashore – to a very high degree.’ To provide this the yard installed 50 miles of cabling.
Living spaces are set up so the owner doesn’t have to choose between leisure and connectivity in any part of the yacht. This is particularly notable in the master cabin, forward on the upper deck, which features an imposing wooden Metrica partition: it forms the front to a desk and communications hub on the aft side and the headboard of a king-sized bed on the forward side. The cabin offers 180-degree views forward, a customised fold-down balcony on the port side, a chic, curving seating area starboard, plus a grand bathroom with spa pool and mirrored dressing room aft. The brass that surrounds the windows all through the upper deck takes on a romantic Nautilus-like appeal at this end, with bolted circular port holes.
But the space that most boldly blends business and pleasure is the aft deck and its ‘command seat’ designed by Enea. The wooden desk (with integrated seat and console that rises automatically) extends in a sweep down and aft, becoming a coffee table at its extremity, where guests or colleagues could gather. ‘From here the owner has contact with the bridge and his offices around the world,’ says Minnema. To complete the imposing look, the coffee table portion of the structure is inlaid with a stainless steel map of the world.
Even the sun deck offers the chance to combine play with work – albeit physical work. Forward of serious-looking gym equipmentis a shaded bar, raised spa pool and lounge area. Between the bar and spa pool, the set of curved-glass sliding doors that act as a windbreak are a particularly nice piece of work, designed by Amels and built by RVS Montfort of Holland. ‘It’s a one-off item, which was designed especially for this yacht,’ says Minnema. ‘It’s made in stainless steel and carbon and required many engineering hours.’
The bridge area too is a combination space, not only boasting the good visibility and top-of-the-range equipment expected from a Dutch yard, but also a large comfortable seating area, where the owner can enjoy time with his captain and be a part of the yacht’s progress.
Engelberg’s multi-use, in-touch spaces show why the Limited Editions concept works so well: most owners are busy people who demand quality and individuality, but don’t want to wait around for their dream boat.
‘There will always be a group of owners who love to start with a blank sheet of paper, no doubt,’ says Caminada. ‘We think there is a larger group of owners who are very time pressed, who want it to happen very quickly, don’t want to be in endless meetings, have technical risk, have financial risk, have delivery time risk. To those kinds of superyacht owners, this concept appeals.’
Jeff Brown for Superyacht Media