Iconic interiors: Superyacht designs that made waves


1930, Krupp Germaniawerft

Image courtesy of David Churchill

Talitha is a 82.6 metre motor yacht, designed by Cox & Stevens, and has had many owners and many lives. After she was purchased by Paul Getty in 1988, a full refit was undertaken at Devonport Yachts in 1993, led by the legendary Jon Bannenberg, and updated in 2009.

He was inspired by the original art deco interior, and his refit aimed to recreate elements of it while bringing her into modernity. What makes Talitha really stand out is the painstaking recreation of original parts with modern functions such as her on board telephones.

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Krupp Germaniawerft   82.6 m •   1930

Honey Fitz

1931, Defoe

Photo courtesy of the John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Although commissioned and launched as a private yacht for financier Sewel Avery in the 1930s, it was her rebirth as the US presidential yacht that made her name. She served five presidents – Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, making her the longest serving US Presidential yacht – but was best regarded for the time she served President Kennedy, who renamed her Honey Fitz after his grandfather.

The 28.35 metre yacht took interiors to a new level in the early 1960s when First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy helmed her refit (pictured). Mid-century furnishings and details were added to suit a family – and president – at sea, including a colour TV in the saloon. Her current refit, carried out by Moores Marine, upholds this mid-century styling.

Christina O

1943,Canadian Vickers

After serving as a surplus naval vessel in the Second World War, Greek ship owner Aristotle Onassis converted Christina O into a superyacht. It was an era when the golden age of Hollywood was recreated in interior design, and Christina O reflected this, with formal bedrooms and stylised living areas.

The original features of this 99.15 metre classic are well preserved – the famous Ari’s Bar is made of timber from a sunken Spanish galleon and has orca whales’ teeth to hold handbags. The updated cabins are named after Greek islands and adorned in a pastel colour scheme, selected by Jackie O. She hosted the Hollywood and political elite: Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, JFK, Rudolf Nureyev… it’s a guest list as famous as they come.

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Canadian Vickers   99.15 m •   1943

Attessa IV

1999, Hayashikane

Photo by Neil Rabinowitz

One of the most transformative yacht rebuilds ever completed, Dennis Washington saw the Japanese yacht Evergreen gutted to make way for a blank canvas with more than 2,300 square metres of interior space on which to create a dream interior and an unrivalled spa.

The 100.9 metre Attessa IV is known for her grand, gold-embellished staircase, spiralling through five decks, and a showstopper of a lobby featuring Botero sculptures. But what is perhaps most iconic is the blend of modern shapes with antique furnishings and fixtures.

A massive glass dome in the upper saloon was created specifically to showcase an enormous Chihuly chandelier, while romantic 19th century fireplaces and evocative authentic art deco pieces, most sourced by the owners, fill the saloons and cabins of this family boat.

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Hayashikane   100.89 m •   1999


2005, Lürssen

Despite her name, Ice’s interior is far from cold. The concept was purity and environmentally friendly, and – while not an interior item – she was one of the first yachts to be fitted with Azipods. Terry Disdale’s interior for the 90.1 metre explorer yacht (ex-Air) is a study in modernism, which adheres to balance, clean lines and intentional décor choices.

The focus is on modernism and space over luxurious details and only a few different interior materials are used throughout the yacht. This sets the stage for yacht interiors to serve as a backdrop for the owner’s collection of modern art. Even the bathrooms have an artistic feel, the enormous baths were carved from limestone blocks.

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Lurssen   90.1 m •   2005

Sea Force One

2008, Mariotti Yachts

Most yachts feature works of art, but then you have 53.8 metre Sea Force One, of which the entire interior seems to be an immersive art experience with modern works and light installations at every turn.

Even a decade after her launch, she still sets the bar in terms of art-heavy – and certainly unique – interiors. It might not be surprising that she also makes an ultimate party yacht, which was also part of the brief. This bold atmosphere, with lots of lighting and AV effects, heavily influenced future yachts such as Solandge.


2010, Perini Navi

56 metre sailing yacht Panthalassa showcased a remarkable interior by Foster & Partners with flowing, highly architecturally inspired shapes and furnishings.

She also showcased an abundant use of glass and a showstopper of a central oval staircase that connects all three decks. Perhaps the biggest impact with this interior is that it opened up the builder to working with outside architects, such as the famed Norman Foster, who tugged the GA into new usefulness.

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Perini Navi   56 m •   2010


2014, Lürssen

Photo by Guillaume Plisson

“Make it impressive” was Shahid Khan’s brief for his 95 metre Kismet. Impressive it certainly is, with a dramatic interior by Reymond Langton.

A massive staircase leads from the main saloon, replete with piano and opulent bar, to the upper deck, and the atrium is dominated by a magnificent art deco chandelier. Kismet is an icon for what is possible in an over-the-top superyacht interior and a layout based on being able to entertain large groups in style.

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Lurssen   95.2 m •   2014


2015, Feadship

Yachting design newcomer CG Design was able to bring fresh eyes to 83.5 metre Savannah, creating an unusual layout with immense dimensions and an open main deck surrounded by sliding curved glass, leading to the pool on the same level.

In fact, everything on this boat is curved – except the plumb bow. She’s equally ground-breaking for her cosier spaces, such as the Nemo room, that connects guests to the sea, and for a spectacular catwalk connecting two saloons on her upper deck.

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Feadship   83.5 m •   2015

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Feadship   83.5 m •   12 guests • Price from €1,000,000 p/w


2016, Abeking & Rasmussen

Photo by Christopher Scholey

While some might still prefer heavy woods or overly luxurious details, the 77.25 metre explorer yacht's interior by Christian Liaigre represents the growing trend of contemporary modernism and support of the sport lover's lifestyle.

This "new modern" can be defined by subtle, refined and open areas – and the luxury of space. Curves and masculine, unadorned joinery are in abundance, and Cloudbreak also boasts a winter garden.

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Abeking & Rasmussen   75.28 m •   2016

Yachts for charter

Abeking & Rasmussen   75.28 m •   12 guests • Price from €750,000 p/w

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