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Interviews

A Yacht Like Home

Danish design Studio, Norm Architects, have recently ventured into the world of yacht design. Their first project, "Bella", seeks to challenge the traditional conventions of luxury yacht design, creating something with "a homelier feel". Intrigued how they set about doing this within such a functional space, we asked their managing director, Katrine Goldstein, a little more about the project.

Read time 5 minutes.

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Firstly, can you tell us a little more about how Norm Architects begun designing yachts? 

Our recent project Yachtbau, "Bella" in English, was the first time we’ve designed a yacht, so the whole process and experience was entirely new for us!

Michael (the founder of Y/Yachts, and commissioner of the project) approached us as he wanted to create a real home on a boat. Basically, he wanted us to do what we always do, just not in our typical venue. That was the reason Norm was assigned to the project and not a regular boat interior company. He took a chance on us in that way.

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Although you were doing what you usually do, did you have to adapt your style in any way because it was a yacht? If so, why?

In order to translate our approach of interior architecture (minimal aesthetics and rich materiality) to the yacht settings and restrictions of the Y/Yachts model Y7, we had to focus on creating style through material. We brought out a warm and exclusive feel through tactile surfaces, natural elements and matte finishes.

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What do you think the most important features are to think about?

The obvious considerations were the limited space, the weight of the materials and the fact that everything needed to be secured in place, either with locks or by edges, stopping things from sliding off tables and shelves.

It must be quite a challenge to find ways of securing everything! Are there any other main challenges you face?

Our biggest challenge was the many restraints that come with designing a space which is already so defined.

We wanted to minimise the classic round corners of a yacht, as well as to minimise the gaps and wasted spaces that occur when working with an irregular shape.

When designing Bella, we also wanted to challenge the general understanding of a luxurious yacht interior and move away from brass, glossy wood and other typical elements that people see as belonging.

We aim to achieve a simpler framework by correcting the unnecessary elements of the boat and embracing the natural curves of the ship.
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Where did you find your inspiration to move away from the 'classic' yacht, and design something more minimal and soft?

Firstly, we were inspired by the use of wood. Although it's almost a given on most boats, we had a desire to straighten things up and simplify the many curves and rounded corners you usually experience.

I guess our main inspiration was to create a real 'residence' and not a boat in the typical sense.

And, on completing the Yachtbau project, what was your favourite feature?

We all really loved the craftsmanship of the project — the walls, panels, lighting, detailing and furnishing all beautifully harmonised together in the boat.

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