Sometimes, in order to create something truly original and innovative, it is necessary to approach it from a completely different angle. Like asking Lord Norman Foster to try his hand at yacht design, for example
Throughout his highly-decorated career, Lord Norman Foster has led in the design of buildings and various architecture related projects all over the world but, until recently, he had never attempted yacht design.
Collaborating with British luxury yacht company YachtPlus to design its Signature Series, Foster not only bought a wealth of architectural knowledge to the project, but came equipped with new ideas and concepts. In fact, Foster’s brief for the project was simply to approach the design with ‘fresh eyes’.
All other choices, it seems, were left to his discretion. As YachtPlus chairman John Hare says: ‘Had we gone with a regular yacht designer, we would have got his last design with a few tweaks. Using Norman Foster, we started with a clean page – it is why the yacht looks different.’
Certainly unique, the yacht differs from most other luxury boats for several reasons, in particular its unusual form, which Foster compares to a dolphin. Signature Series yachts feature curved lines throughout interior and exterior architecture, with the long rounded aluminium roof most noticeable.
Extensively used glass is another main feature that creates a point of departure; in fact, the amount and weight of glass on the yacht necessitated an increase in hull size from 37m to 41m. Used in the floor-to-ceiling windows on the main deck, in the sliding doors that connect interior and exterior spaces, as well as in the large windows in the master cabin and sky deck, the glass speaks to a central element of Foster’s design concept – to create a feeling of openness, space and freedom on board.
Conventionally, the cabin and sky deck are completely closed to outside views, but by introducing windows to these spaces, guests on board are able to see out of the front of the boat, not just the back. It’s also quite uncommon to have floor-to-ceiling windows on the main deck, but again, their use in the Signature Series gives guests 270-degree views from this area, while also allowing interior spaces to be flooded with natural light.