Worldsport

Fantastical superyachts of the future: In your dreams?

Updated 1401 GMT (2201 HKT) November 11, 2014
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Sleek, space age, and sparkling. If these naval architects have their way, the superyacht of the future will resemble more of a floating piece of art, than a traditional boat.

From glass cubes inspired by Lego, to spiraling decks modeled on opera houses, these are some of the dream designs of industry insiders.

But will their fantastical vessels actually see the light of day? With estimated price tags in the hundreds of millions of dollars, it will take an adventurous client -- and one with deep pockets at that.
Courtesy Lujac Desautel
GLASS, designed by Lujac Desautel

Lego isn't just a children's toy -- it's the inspiration behind this unusual six-bedroom vessel from American architect Lujac Desautel, who was also nominated for the 2014 Young Designer of the Year by Boat International Media.

"Paying homage to the skyscraper and acting as a canvas to the sea, GLASS is organized vertically in three cubic floors stacked upon each other like Lego blocks," he explained.

"Not only is glass a beautiful material which allows for an abundance of natural light and uninterrupted views -- it's also an extremely strong material which can be manufactured to be as tough as concrete."
Courtesy Lujac Desautel
GLASS, designed by Lujac Desautel

The 22-year-old designer knows a thing or two about luxury yachts -- he crewed on them in the Mediterranean during his summer holidays at architecture school.

"It seemed crazy to me that someone would spend tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, on a boat that had little to no windows. It felt unnatural to be cruising on the most beautiful waters in the world, and have little notion of the outside environment," he explained.

"I asked myself, if the tallest buildings in the world are built out of glass then why can't a boat? Ultimately, GLASS was a natural manifestation of these simple questions."
Courtesy Lujac Desautel
STAR, designed by Igor Lobanov, in collaboration with James Roy of naval architecture company BMT Nigel Gee and Alex Malybaev of branding agency FIRMA.

It seems fitting that the first sketch of this space-age superyacht was penned on a napkin. In many ways that's exactly what it looks like, against the endless expanse of ocean.

"Most yacht clients, whilst they like to have a unique design, tend to be pretty conservative and don't want to be too different from the majority," explained Lobanov.

"For this reason, superyacht design is incremental and design evolves at a very modest pace."
Courtesy Igor Lobanov
STAR, designed by Igor Lobanov, in collaboration with James Roy of naval architecture company BMT Nigel Gee and Alex Malybaev of branding agency FIRMA.

"There is no doubt that an owner who would commission STAR would be one who wanted to 'break the mould,'" said Russian designer Lobanov.

At 132 meters long, and 60 meters high, the STAR would have a price tag "somewhere in the region of €450 million ($562 million)," said Lobanov.
Courtesy Igor Lobanov
STAR, designed by Igor Lobanov, in collaboration with James Roy of naval architecture company BMT Nigel Gee and Alex Malybaev of branding agency FIRMA.

This superyacht would accommodate 36 overnight guests and feature a helicopter landing pad.

"Each superyacht owner is different -- some like to be very involved in the creative process and help sculpt their dream boat in every detail. While others give a loose brief and leave the designer to it," explained Lobanov.

"Ultimately, owners tend to be money-rich and time-poor, so the final vessel should provide a haven for them to escape."
Courtesy Igor Lobanov
JAZZ, designed by Zaha Hadid

When it comes to celebrity architects, they don't come much bigger than the Pritzker Prize-winning Zaha Hadid.

The Iraqi-born Briton is perhaps better known for creating London's Olympic Aquatic Center, Rome's contemporary art museum MAXXI, and Beijing's mammoth shopping hub SOHO, rather than boats.

But that didn't stop her also turning her hand to the water, in these futuristic concepts for German superyacht builders Blohm+Voss.

Read more: 'Zaha Hadid: Would they still call me a diva if I was a man?'
Courtesy Zaha Hadid
JAZZ, designed by Zaha Hadid

Blohn+Voss is the same company behind billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich's "Eclipse" -- the second-largest superyacht in the world.

In this one-off project, Hadid designed six luxury vessels, ranging from a 90-meter version called "Jazz" to a 128-meter "master prototype."
Courtesy Zaha Hadid
JAZZ, designed by Zaha Hadid

"The idea was that the frames could be like veins," explained Hadid. "I like this kind of project because every time you do them, you learn about some other type of parameters which you had not always considered.

"Unfortunately, architecture, as much as we'd like it to float, it doesn't. That's one thing that's different -- architecture is tied to gravity."
Courtesy Zaha Hadid
X R-EVOLUTION, designed by Stefano Pastrovich

At first glance, it might look as though there are five vessels in this picture. In fact, it is just one. The 77 meter superyacht X R-Evolution features detachable floating decks which can be deployed away from the main boat.

"I'm very much a lover of being close to the beach, being close to the rocks," explained Monaco-based designer Stefano Pastrovich.

"I wanted to have a boat that was able to access the islands from very close -- which isn't always possible in superyachts of this size."
Courtesy Pastrovich
X R-EVOLUTION, designed by Stefano Pastrovich

If a superyacht isn't big enough to really "get away from it all," guests could always float away on their own deployable deck.

"I do very extreme designs, because that's me, that's my personality," says Pastrovich.

"My customers are very genuine, brave, challenging people. They don't want another white piece floating on the water. They want something incredible that does not exist."
Courtesy Pastrovich
BEACH CLUB, designed by Stefano Pastrovich

Pastrovich is also behind the 92 meter Beach Club concept, resembling something between a fishing trawler and a private island.

"For a long time I've tried selling the idea to my clients of putting sand on a vessel -- people thought I was insane," he says with a light laugh.

"But I like the idea that the cabin is in a beach house style, and that when you wake up in the morning there is a little umbrella outside your room and you feel like you're at the beach."
Courtesy Pastrovich
BEACH CLUB, designed by Stefano Pastrovich

With designs like this, it will take an ambitious client to make Pastrovich's dream boat a reality -- a hard task in what he describes as a "very conservative yachting industry."

"I think there is a new market emerging from Asia and the Middle East, and they are the ones who invite you to do some crazy, unknown things," he explained.

"I think the Asian market in particular will go for something unconventional because they don't know what is conventional. China, for instance, is not a country that is used to going to the beach like Europeans. So they're discovering the world of the sea.

"They can say 'let's go outside the box,' because they don't have a box to begin with."
Courtesy Pastrovich
SYMPHONY, designed by Raphael Laloux

When Raphael Laloux set out to design a luxury vessel for a world-renowned conductor, aptly enough he turned to the home of music for inspiration.

"I looked to opera architecture," explained the winner of the 2014 Boat International Media Young Designer of the Year.

"The dramatic staircase, which is an important element in an opera house, is imagined in the the curving promenades spiraling around the superstructure."
Courtesy Philippe Briand LTD
SYMPHONY, designed by Raphael Laloux

"The superyacht industry is quite conservative, with the average age of an owner 65-years-old," explained the designer who now works for Philippe Briand Yacht Design.

"But little by little it's beginning to open up, especially after the financial crisis, with the arrival of inspiring products from the worlds of automotives and architecture."

He estimated the 60-meter superyacht would cost €50 million ($62 million).
Courtesy Philippe Briand LTD