August 17, 2013

Design on the High Seas: MY Smeralda

Andreas Holnburger, owner of Vain Interiors in Cologne, Germany, was hired to design interiors for a series of 250-foot yachts built by Australia’s Hanseatic Marine, designed by Monaco’s Espen Øino International. He’s working MY Smeralda number four now; number three (in photographs) was completed last summer. Each one is a two-year process from concept—sophisticated and modern, yet cozy—to delivery. 

Vain used a lot of natural materials—leather, walnut paneling, wool carpets, natural stone—with smooth and natural surfaces to achieve a nice patina. The color range, says Holnburger, is very clear and homogeneous with a few highlights in accent colors. Some items have custom 3-D surfaces. The focus is on clean lines for the interior but with a lot of special detail in handrails, handles, stitching, and the like.

Options for materials are limited by weight and fire-resistance requirements, explains Holnburger. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations dictate the minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety. To meet SOLAS, all decorative surfaces like walnut and marble were veneered over aluminum honeycomb panels.

It’s also important to use materials that are seawater resistant and more durable than those you might use in a private residence. For example, says Holnburger, where you might normally use polished metal, you’d instead use plated or artificial leather or special treated carpets. In addition to weight restrictions there are also acoustic requirements. Carpet instead of timber flooring, was one solution.

Holnburger’s biggest challenge, however, was to create interiors with “a spacious impression.” At only 33-feet-wide, the Smeralda is not terribly bulky—allowing for greater speed—and the decks are also relatively low. Large windows framing the main salon add to a feeling of open space, and offer natural light.

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