ICON Yachts Design Challenge: Dixon Yacht Design


Dixon Yacht Design has penned the modern but sympathetic conversion of a 59m survey vessel, in response to the ICON Yachts Design Challenge.

The Dutch builder has asked three design studios to plan the transformation of HR MS Blommendal into a superyacht. Built by Amels in 1973 for the Dutch Maritime Institution, the ship is one of a whole series retiring from service and becoming available for conversion into superyachts – making the challenge a highly practical exercise.

ICON chose designers with distinctive styles to show the range of possible conversions. Dixon Yacht Design, the first studio featured in this series of stories on the challenge, responded with a modern interpretation of the explorer yacht lifestyle.

‘Our aim was to complement the classic Amels hull with the addition of a low-profile superstructure and enhanced interior and exterior space,’ says Bill Dixon, director of Dixon Yacht Design.

‘We have added important visual length to the boat with new promenade decks aft, while extending the superstructure forward also allows the bridge to be enlarged and relocated to provide a higher skydeck with panoramic views and bimini.’

Citing contemporary trends in architecture and industrial design as influences, Dixon also worked with rather than against the vessel’s existing features.

‘Elements such as the imposing funnel are key details – rather than hiding or disguising it we felt it deserved its own identity within the overall design,’ he says. ‘The contemporary styling, substantial deck overhangs and the mix of dark and light superstructure language creates a satisfying air of mystery, an overall feeling we think this yacht deserves.’

The concepts of self-sufficiency and confidence were central to the design, which Dixon sees as that of a ‘truly global explorer yacht’.

‘She will be equally at home retracing the routes of 18th Century Antarctic expeditions or simply enjoying a quiet summer in the Med,’ he says.

Awards for the ICON Yachts Design Challenge will be announced during the Antibes Yacht Show by judges from ICON Yachts and Boat International Media.