From a 90 square metre beach club to a staircase that seemingly defies gravity, the annual ShowBoats Design Awards held by media group Boat International Media, highlighted a new breed of superyacht innovation.
At the eighth ShowBoats Design Awards held last week, over 50 superyachts were finalists in 19 categories. Awards were given for innovation, recreational spaces and lighting design, among others. Highlights on show included an open-plan deck large enough for a basketball court, a wellness space featuring everything from a hair studio to a hammam, and asymmetric lighting that creates the illusion of floating walls.
Winners were picked by an influential panel of judges from the worlds of architecture, vehicle, industrial, lighting, interior and furniture design, including Mercedes-Benz’s Steffen Köhl and Gosling’s director Tim Gosling. Also judging the awards were leading naval architects, a superyacht captain and three yacht owners, who formed a diverse analysis of the 149 individual entries.
Feadship’s Joy won Best Exterior Design & Styling – Motor Yacht Above 48m for her exaggerated decks. Shaded and open exterior spaces complement the glass-walled superyacht gym and family hang-out space large enough for a basketball court — two of the owner’s must-have requirements. Designed by London-based interior design firm Bannenberg & Rowell, the yacht was described by one judge as “like a block of snow and ice that has been shaped by the wind”.
Wider’s 47m Genesi took home the same award for her size category, with the judges praising her clean lines and smooth surfaces designed by Fulvio de Simoni. Her 90 square metre beach club — the largest in a motor yacht below 48m — includes a 7m floodable garage for tender stowage that becomes a swimming pool when the tender is deployed.
“Elegant, intriguing and sexy deck lines” was the design brief for My Song, which took home the award for Best Exterior Design & Styling — Sailing Yacht. Designed by Nauta, the goal was an eye-catching yacht with proportions so balanced that it is impossible to judge the yacht’s length from a distance. The almost 40m vessel, built by Baltic Yachts, also won the award for Most Innovative Sailing Yacht, thanks to her fully retractable propeller and ‘crush nose’ on her keel to reduce the impact and damage of a grounding.
German builder Abeking & Rasmussen’s 72m Cloudbreak, whose young owner is obsessed with outdoor sports and wanted a purpose-built yacht for all kinds of adventures, was awarded Best Interior Layout & Design — Motor Yacht above 500GT. Interior designer Christian Liaigre created a fireplace lounge and a dramatic stair column, along with features such as a corridor that allows guests direct access to the gym from their cabins.
Heesen Yachts’ Galactica Super Nova was awarded the Judge’s Special Award for a groundbreaking staircase designed by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design. Open steps floating off a lighted support column and surrounding a glass elevator give the appearance of defying gravity, while the stainless-steel elements of each step end in dramatic arcs.
Plvs Vltra’s 75 square metre wellness space features everything from a hair studio to a hammam, and when the yacht is anchored, a folding deck puts the wellness space in touch with the ocean to create an idyllic relaxation space. This smart collaboration between the interior design company Winch Design and naval architect Amels won the Best Recreational Lifestyle Design Feature award.
The ShowBoats Design Awards also celebrate up-and-coming designers. The award for Young Designer of the Year — Student Designer was awarded to France’s Thibaud Le Merdy and his design concept Comète, which stood out for its sophisticated combination of modernity and elegance. Meanwhile, the award for Young Designer of the Year — Professional Designer went to France’s Eric Laurent and his design concept Hearsay, particularly for his hand-drawn renderings that were the most accomplished among this year’s entries.
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement award went to the talented Argentinian Germán Frers. After growing up in racing dinghies and crewing some of the world’s most powerful yachts, it was no surprise when Frers followed his father into naval architecture. Frers moved to Italy in 1989 to design Raul Gardini’s America’s Cup challenger, creating Il Moro di Venezia, the fastest challenger of the new America’s Cup class of yachts. The Frers team joined Prada for the 2000 Cup and the Frers-inspired Luna Rossa also won the Louis Vuitton challenger series. In recent years, he has shone in the world of superyachts, including Indio in 2009, 2013’s multi-award-winning Inukshuk and Unfurled, which was named Sailing Yacht of the Year at the World Superyacht Awards 2016.