There’s some irony when it comes to looking at the hottest interior design trends for custom sailing yachts: much of the inspiration for today’s designs draw from the past – combined with modern innovation.
Interior designs that emphasize simplicity, balance, and natural materials are hardly revolutionary. Quite the opposite. But there is a new take and balance between old and new, iconic and innovative, that seems to provide the perfect balance for creating incredible interior spaces.
We’re exploring the top 7 trends in custom yacht design for 2023.
Natural Light and Connection Between Interior and Exterior Spaces
The use of larger windows is a trend that has been gaining popularity in yacht design in recent years, as yacht owners increasingly want to maximize their views of the surrounding environment and bring more natural light into their living spaces.
One way that yacht designers are incorporating larger windows is by using high-strength glass materials that can withstand the harsh marine environment. For example, tempered glass or laminated glass with multiple layers can provide the necessary strength and durability to withstand the wind, waves, and impact from flying debris.
In addition to using strong glass materials, yacht designers are also using innovative engineering techniques to maximize the size and placement of windows. Lightweight structural materials such as carbon fiber and titanium in the yacht’s construction, allow for larger windows without compromising the yacht’s structural integrity. In the photo of ANNA, above, the white-painted transverse structural knees are part of a carbon fabrication that strengthens the cabin and carries the mainsheet loads while blending into the classic joinery.
Multi Functionality and Flex Spaces
Owners are spending more time aboard their vessels and are adding to the list demands and programmatic needs. These include home-office, fitness centers, gourmet kitchens, and gathering places for family and friends to spend longer durations of time together.
Because space is at a premium on a yacht, designers are creating multi-functional spaces that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a seating area that can be converted into a bed or a dining table that can be lowered to create additional seating. Clever storage solutions are also being incorporated into yacht design to make the most of available space.
Old World Charm Meets Modern Sensibilities: Spirit of Tradition
Yacht designers have always had a particular reverence for heritage and history. The notion of heading out to sea conjures images of bygone eras past. Capturing that essence requires a balance that avoids becoming kitsch or contrived. While mid-century design may be considered the hot design trend of 2023, as designers steeped in a Spirit of Tradition design philosophy, we feel we’ve never left the genre.
Spirit of Tradition designs embody some historically identifiable link, particularly expressed in the shape and aesthetic exhibited in the design form of the hull and superstructure. Equally important, a Spirit of Tradition vessel must embrace modern development in materials, construction methods, mechanical systems and naval architecture science. Without the Spirit in development, we’re left with only Tradition.
Yacht owners by their very nature are drawn to water and the natural world, so it makes sense to incorporate natural elements such as wood, stone, and other organic materials in design. These materials create a sense of warmth and connect the interior spaces to the natural surroundings.
As experts in wooden boat design, we have long touted the benefits of timber for structural elements. However, incorporation of hardwoods, as well as a growing trend in sustainable timbers, have become increasingly popular with owners looking to achieve aesthetic, durability, and sustainability objectives in interior design.
Other natural materials such as leather and wool are also being incorporated to add texture and comfort. These finishes not only look beautiful, but they are also durable to withstand the harsh marine environment.
Renovation and Restomods
The popularity of restomods has been well established in the world of classic cars, but it has only recently grown in popularity in the world of yachting. Fortunately, this is changing with plenty of success stories to point to. Restomods are ideal for owners looking for cost-effective transformations that maintain sentimental connections to vessels and deliver stunning customized spaces that can be more cost effective than new custom builds. They are also popular with owners who inherit family boats, but need more utility and comfort for future generations.
Historical interiors often lack the ergonomics and amenities most owners seek today. Good restoration projectsembrace as much of the original charm and character of the original design as possible while improving comfort and livability. Upgrades to electrical systems, electronics and navigation, plumbing and propulsion systems are low hanging fruit. The interior design aesthetics requires a careful and complementary approach which honors the original character while updating comfort, utility, and aesthetics.
Flexible Spaces for a Crew Cabin
Owners often struggle with the balance between the desire for a larger vessel with larger interior spaces and the challenge of maintaining a total vessel size (and cost) which is manageable.
As we get older the idea of managing and skippering our own vessel can come at the expense of enjoyment. Hiring crew alleviates some of the operational challenges and burdens, but it also means sharing interior space with others.
Flexible crew cabins provide a cost effective way to optimize space for when crew is and isn’t aboard. One solution is the installation of pocket doors on sleeping quarters. This converts square footage from private berths (crew quarters) to main salon gathering space when doors are opened and transforms the space to private rooms for guests and crew when needed.
Yacht owners are increasingly interested in incorporating smart technology into their vessels. This includes lighting, climate control, entertainment systems, and security features that can be controlled remotely. Smart technology allows yacht owners to control the environment on board and manage energy consumption more efficiently. It also adds an extra layer of security by allowing the owner to monitor their yacht from afar.