Blohm & Voss unveil new superyacht concepts by famed architect Zaha Hadid

14 October 2013By Risa Merl

Last night in London, superyacht builder Blohm&Voss unveiled a new range of yacht concepts designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Zaha Hadid is known for creating some of the most eye-catching, mind-bending and highly recognisable buildings in the world, and more recently she has branched out into designing private luxury homes and furniture – so it seems it was only a matter of time until her unique forms found their way into the superyacht sector.

Aptly called the 'Unique Circle Yachts,' the new superyacht line includes five 90m motor yachts, inspired by a 128m 'mothership' concept. The sculptural, fluid form of the 128m mothership yacht (pictured above) comprises an interwoven network of dynamic meshes making up the exterior. Doing away with the typical superstructure – and strict horizontal order of deck stacking – an exoskeleton connects the various levels and decks of the 128m.

Blohm&Voss then took this far-out concept and had its naval architects technically spec a buildable yacht design, thus creating the series of five Unique Circle Yachts. The first to be introduced is the 90m Jazz. The German builder has proven itself in envelope-pushing designs, launching the radical Philippe Starck-designed 119m superyacht A, the Terrence Disdale-designed 162.5m Eclipse, which is the second-largest private yacht currently launched, and 95.15m Palladium, which swept the 2011 ShowBoats Design Awards, with designers Mick Leach and Mark Smith taking home four awards for her avante-garde design.

'As a dynamic object that moves in dynamic environments, the design of a yacht must incorporate additional parameters beyond those for architecture – which all become much more extreme on water,' says Zaha Hadid. 'Each yacht is an engineered platform that integrates specific hydrodynamic and structural demands together with the highest levels of comfort, spatial quality and safety.'

Blohm&Voss and Zaha Hadid's teams worked closely to take her novel designs to a feasible reality. The result is a yacht that has complete continuity between the inside and outside, with the lattice-like layers of the exterior allowing for transparency and light.

But this connectivity goes beyond the oft-used phrase of 'bringing the outside in' – and the bonus of undisrupted vistas. The flowing design is appreciated aesthetically as well, as the intertwined, mesh-inspired framework creates a seamless whole from hull to radar dome to the interior living spaces, where the unique shapes serve as the structural supports. As the design team poetically describes it, 'the interior and exterior living spaces appear coherent and monolithic, as if folded from a single surface.'

'A superyacht is by definition an exercise in total design, where every detail is looked at with attention and refinement,' says Dr Herbert Aly, CEO and Managing Partner of Blohm&Voss says. 'In the past, in the era of steam liners, there has been an attempt of utilising ship building elements in architecture. Zaha Hadid and her team have taken this ethos and created a bold new vision and a new benchmark in the design of superyachts.'

The 90m Jazz is designed with a beam of 16m, a draught of 4.2m, and she will accommodate 12 owners and guests and 30 crew members. Specified to be Lloyd's registered, she is predicted to reach a max speed of 16 knots and cruise at 14 offering a range of 5,000 nautical miles when powered by twin 2,160kW diesel engines.

Jazz is just the beginning of the 90m Unique Circle Yachts; four additional designs have come from the initial 128m mothership concept, each specified to suit a different owner's ideals. Each varies in 'intensity and density' of lattices, and can feature various bow shapes, with one sporting an axe bow.

Dr Aly adds, 'The idea of the Unique Circle Yachts allows for variation of a genotype and its phenotypes, offering a range of possible solutions based on an cognate platform. As a result Zaha Hadid’s design is malleable to suit the very individual wishes and needs of a potential customer which lies at the heart of Blohm&Voss’ approach to yacht design. The strength of the design lies not just in its functionality and form, but also its effortless adaptability.'