There’s no doubting the fact that the world of yachting is both glamorous and exclusive. Riding on, let alone owning a yacht is a status symbol relatively unmatched in the world. And since well-designed yachts often fetch seven-figure sums, it makes sense that the yacht-building industry is among the most competitive on the planet. So much so that shipyards will recruit top architects and designers to outfit the interiors in magazine-worthy motifs. Here, Architectural Digest covers some of the most exciting yachts ever conceived. While some are already setting sail across the seven seas, others are still in the concept phase, as it may be a few more years if they ever materialize into a full-fledged vision. Nevertheless, if you’re searching for some of the most exciting vessels in the water, set your naval compass on these spectacular yachts.
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The Black Swan
Zaha Hadid’s masterpiece
There’s no doubting the fact that the world of yachting is both glamorous and exclusive. Riding on, let alone owning a yacht is a status symbol relatively unmatched in the world.
Tour The Black Swan, the World’s Most Elegant Superyacht. With over 23,000 horsepower, this superyacht includes a swimming pool that funnels toward the stern and seems to disappear into the ocean.
A view of the sundeck and swimming pool.
From Zaha Hadid’s stunningly crafted ships to vessels featuring waterfalls, these massive floating crafts are becoming ever more exquisite in design. And the latest concept superyacht, by designer Timur Bozca, is no exception. Dubbed The Black Swan for its black exterior and graceful aesthetic, the striking structure is proof of the power of simplicity. According to Bozca, who splits time between offices in Istanbul, Milan, and London, the superyacht was crafted by connecting “simple lines together with dramatic angles and curves.” “Using the powerful image of an arrow as my inspiration, I tried to create an aerodynamic exterior that would give the yacht a distinctive look, while also improving the efficiency of the craft in the water,” said Bozca in a statement. The yacht will include four engines that can generate 23,172 horsepower, hitting a top speed of 32 m.p.h. Made from aluminium and steel, the yacht features a stunning pool that funnels toward the stern and seems to disappear into the ocean. The Black Swan also includes a sundeck, balconies that are hidden from view, and a rooftop helipad. The superyacht will be able to accommodate up to 12 guests across a master suite and six guest suites. The yacht is still in its initial design stage, but if built as shown, it would cost upwards of ten million dollars.
When black and white gets things right
Porsche Unveils a Stunning $16 Million Superyacht
The 115-foot superyacht will not only feature a hybrid engine but will be incredibly rare, as there will only be seven produced in the world. In the world of luxe, there are quotidian superyachts, and then there are Porsche-designed superyachts. As if the elite echelon of superyacht owners couldn't get any more exclusive, luxury German automaker Porsche unveiled its plan to produce a beautiful $16 million model. And the kicker? The company plans to only build seven of them. The superyacht would be created by the Monaco-based builder Dynamiq, a company headquartered in Port Hercule—the epicenter of ritzy superyachts. But what really makes this superyacht special is the team that's designing it, a group that has been associated with innovation, design, and speed for nearly a century. Indeed, by tapping Porsche to design its latest superyacht, the Dynamiq GTT 115 (which the vessel will be called), will certainly be the talk of town.
A look at one of the bedrooms within the Dynamiq GTT 115, a Porsche-designed superyacht.
The Dynamiq GTT 115 would be an all-aluminum yacht featuring a hybrid engine that can reach a top speed of 21 knots. The maximum cruising range is 3,400 nautical miles, or roughly a trip from Monaco to New York. There will be four cabins for guests to stay in, as well as a pool on the deck to enjoy the sun. The interior was designed in collaboration with Minotti, as there will be a noticeable amount of leather, marble, and carbon-fiber detailing throughout the vessel. The interior was designed in collaboration with Minotti. Indeed, this will be a superyacht like no other. "Taking the spirit of high-performance sports-car styling to the high seas, the Dynamiq GTT 115 is designed to appeal to car lovers and forward-thinking yacht owners," said Roland Heiler, CEO of F. A. Studio Porsche, in a statement. Formula One racing may have just found a few brand-new course to explore: the seven seas.
Rolls-Royce Unveils a Groundbreaking Superyacht
The luxurious concept yacht features a new technology that follows the sun's arc to ensure sunbathers can enjoy the optimum tanning angle throughout the day.
For over a century, Rolls-Royce has been producing some of the finest machines in the world, transforming a family-run company into the very definition of luxe. As such, it should come as little surprise that the UK-based manufacturer would design a stunning new superyacht. Recently unveiled at an event in Amsterdam, the concept superyacht is, aesthetically speaking, about as beautiful as one would imagine a Rolls-Royce vessel to be. The sleek, monochrome design of Crystal Blue (as the yacht is being called) is typical of most Rolls-Royce vehicles. In other words, the brand doesn't need to be showy with splashes of loud colors or radical angles. Rather, it allows its superior engineering, glamorous interiors, and boldly designed exteriors to entice the rich and the famous. While designing superyachts is nothing new for Rolls-Royce (most recently, the company collaborated in designing a vessel with British designer Claydon Reeves over the summer), Crystal Blue is not only a new frontier for the company, but in many ways it's revolutionary in the world of superyachts. For starters, the bridge (where all of the yacht's navigational controls are handled) of the 203-foot long vessel is hidden within the yacht. This is for two reasons: one being that the traditional bridge generally has the best panoramic views and with the design of the Crystal Blue; those views will now be enjoyed by the owner and guests instead of the crew, and the second is the fact that a hidden bridge makes it harder for unwanted intruders to take control of the vessel. In the event an intruder does come aboard Crystal Blue, however, the craft's design includes a "safe room" where guests and crew members can lock themselves in while taking complete control over the ship. Furthermore, Crystal Blue, which can comfortably hold 12 passengers and 12 crew members, features a new technology that allows the yacht to remain in the same position without having to anchor. This is important for those who want to stay in or around the same area while rotating every few hours, without having the hassle or waste of energy to pull up the anchor. This allows the owner and guests to, for example, follow the sun's arc to ensure they can enjoy the optimum tanning angle on the deck of the vessel throughout the day. Finally, Crystal Blue includes a hybrid engine (both traditional and battery-operated) that can achieve a maximum speed of 20 knots (roughly 23 m.p.h.). Best of all, perhaps, is the fact that the battery-operated portion of the engine can be used while the superyacht is at port, saving much energy while the vessel is not in use on the open seas. While it's still uncertain when Crystal Blue will be available for purchase, the excitement from the team at Rolls-Royce is palpable. At an unveiling event in Amsterdam, Oskar Levander, Rolls-Royce SVP of Concepts and Innovation, explained his team's optimism: "With Crystal Blue we can show what can be achieved and how the yacht of the future might look."
A Yacht Tailor-Made for the Design Aficionados of Tomorrow SX88
With artistic director Piero Lissoni at the creative helm, iconic Italian shipbuilder Sanlorenzo is hoping to usher in an era of smarter, more sustainable, and even chicer yachting. Normally old boats are designed with many small spaces, because they had this idea that it was to be functional—I never understood why,” says the architect and designer Piero Lissoni, the recently appointed artistic director of Sanlorenzo Yachts. “You have to follow beauty, you have to be sensual. For me, functionality was like a bad word.” Lissoni—a longtime darling of the design world, particularly in his native Italy, where he has led creative teams for companies ranging from Kartell and Knoll to Boffi and Lema—is gazing at a photo of a recent project for the shipbuilder. The model in question, dubbed the SX88, is a cornerstone of the company’s new crossover range, also comprising the Lissoni-designed SX76. Smaller, more energy efficient, and easier to use than the “superyachts” (ships that exceed 150 feet) historically favored by and its competitors, the line was borne of necessity and market cunning.
A view from the SX88 salon toward the rear deck. Lissoni's interiors are characterized by ebonized walls, FLOS lighting, and expansive living and entertaining spaces
When you have a downturn like we did in 2008 and 2012—the luxury good is really cut to the neck, because of course you don’t need it,” says Massimo Perotti, the impeccably besuited chairman and CEO of Sanlorenzo, who’s just arrived in Miami, en route to China, to mark the firm’s ongoing partnership with Art Basel Miami Beach. “In a crisis, you have less work to do, so your mind starts to think about what’s needed,” he says, looking back. “Less show-off, more sobriety.”
The open kitchen on the SX88—an industry first for a yacht this size—features a Boffi kitchen. We had to invent [the hood] coming down from the ceiling, comments Perotti.
Though to call either the SX88 (whose number indicates the vessel’s length in feet), or its slightly smaller sibling, the SX76, simple or sober would be a mischaracterization. While the engines are somewhat downsized—the SX88, which starts at around $6.5 million, has a top cruising speed of just 23 knots—and the salon levels have been opened up to create a more open, egalitarian plan, the custom yachts’ design is unmistakably first-class. Rehearsing the details of one recent commission, Lissoni points out ebonized walls in the main living space with floor-to-ceiling windows, an Eero Saarinen dining table, Mogens Koch chairs, stainless steel galley by Boffi, and Toio lamps by FLOS. On the new SX76, which starts at $5.3 million with a top cruising speed of 22 knots, the space-saving central staircase is as sculptural as it is efficient, leading to an open lounge area on the lower level. It's where a dark, narrow corridor would be found on most other boats of this size.
On the SX76, Lissoni conserved space and increased natural-light flow in the interiors by creating a single, sculptural stairwell that leads from the salon, pictured here, up to the flybridge and down to the cabins.
But knocking down so many traditional walls—literally and figuratively—did not come so easily for the 60-year-old firm. “He forced me to design the salon like a loft, a totally open space,” comments Perotti, laughing incredulously. Lissoni cuts in, smiling, “In the end, when you are on the boat, you are not there for professional issues—you are there because you enjoy it.” He continues, “Why wouldn’t you want the space, the light, and the sea? So I convinced the victims”—nodding at Perotti—“to follow me.” Apparently the company’s willingness to modernize has been well received, leading to a revenue increase from about $45 million in 2005 to nearly $341 million in 2017. To mark the firm’s growth, Sanlorenzo is reinvesting in its physical plant, including some $68 million going toward shipyards in La Spezia, Ameglia, and Massa, along the northwest coast of Italy. Lissoni is overseeing the redesign of the three sites, alongside far smaller components of the company’s aesthetic language—new stationery, signage, uniforms, and even events. Lissoni art directed its 60th-anniversary party this year, where Andrea Bocelli performed for 600 guests—largely current and prospective owners—who were given high-end versions of the one-piece shipyard workers’ outfits to wear at the celebration.
The flying bridge on both vessels can be open or sealed off, depending on the occupants' preference. Most customers like to be outside during the day and inside during the night, says Perotti. You always have a feeling to be connected to the sea.
Asked about this overt, unexpected connection between the shipbuilder’s industrial backbone and design-forward yachts—ones fussed over by discerning collectors for their seamless, stylish sensibility—Lissoni doesn’t hesitate. “One of the most important things to understand is the sophisticated connection between the factory, design, and art,” he says. “The discussion we have is not to build the most beautiful boat in the world—it’s to build credibility.”
A Custom-Made Superyacht That's Designed Like a Luxe Penthouse oasis 135
Italian firm Benetti teamed with New York–based Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture on the Oasis 135’, a vessel that breaks the mold in ways big and small.
A rendered look at the sleekly designed salon of the Oasis 135’.
Yacht design and over-the-top luxury have always gone hand in hand, but one company has decided that it’s time to take a new course. Italian firm Benetti has teamed with New York–based Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture on the Oasis 135’, which features a more livable, contemporary design. “For about three decades, style and design in the yachting industry did not experience a significant amount of changes,” says Giovanna Vitelli, owner of Azimut Benetti Group. “Luxury was mainly represented by an overabundant opulence, entailing decorations in super-precious materials, such as onyx, rare marbles, and gold leaf.” For the Oasis 135’, the architects chose a refined mix of materials, including white lacquer and rosewood. “We tried to pare down the number of materials and contrast things that feel very natural with things that are highly polished,” says architect Dominic Kozerski. The firm also focused on creating a flow between the interior and exterior. “To encourage the idea of inside-outside living, we tried to make an informal plan with a very good flow of space,” says Kozerski, who notes that they approached the boat the same way they approach the design of a beach house. “The scale of this boat is perfect for it to be parked either in port or ideally somewhere offshore, where you have your offshore beach house.” The interior’s color palette takes cues from the white fiberglass exterior, and the teak deck flooring continues inside, slightly changing the pattern. This visual connection between inside and out helps the interior feel larger. "If you’ve seen boats recently, there’s nothing simple about them,” says architect Enrico Bonetti. “They’re overly complicated. What we tried to do was make it more refined but simple. We saw a lot of boats that were a little hard inside and we were trying to do the opposite.”
The designers worked to ensure every detail had an extremely polished feel.
The Oasis 135' is Bonetti and Kozerski’s first yacht design, but because the firm handles a variety of different projects from residential to retail, they were able to quickly adapt to the new demands. “It was a more intense planning process, but we used the same principals that we apply to any residences that we do,” says Kozerski. They also provided a fresh outlook that challenged Benetti to take different approaches to construction.“Some of our solutions were not what the boat industry usually does, so we worked quite closely with the engineering team to avoid some of the typical things you see such as bulkheads with ductwork and particular ceiling configurations," Kozerski adds. One of the major challenges was not having a definitive geographic location. “When we design a building, the building has a precise location,” says Bonetti. “Even if we are designing a condominium where there could be a lot of different people moving into the apartment, at least we are designing for a specific location, so we have a reference of where it fits. With a boat you don’t have that reference. It’s such a broad canvas.” Working closely with Benetti to imagine the potential client, the architects have devised a vessel that stands out in a sea of ultraluxe yachts.
Zaha Hadid’s Dazzling Superyacht
The superyachts come with a bow that can break through ice.
The 420-foot Unique Circle, the largest of the yachts, comes with a zone with underwater viewing, and the bow has the ability to break through thick ice.
For decades, architect Zaha Hadid has been internationally renowned for her daring landmark buildings, such as the Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan and the Dominion Office Building in Moscow. Yet, what's lesser known from the Pritzker Prize winner was a structure that's not meant for land: a superyacht. Working with German builders Blohm + Voss, Hadid's designs was what one would expect from the virtuoso: bold, organic, and original.
The exteriors are made up of a series of interwoven support beams, giving the superyachts Hadid’s signature touch of simple elegance.
The clean white interiors were inspired by the ocean’s fluid form.
The Unique Circle superyacht comes with a swimming pool that is protected from natural elements by the deck.
The master bedroom overlooks a jacuzzi on the deck
Mercedes-Benz AMG and Cigarette Racing Unveil a Stunning Speed Boat
Mercedes-AMG’s latest models. In this case, it takes as its muse the all-new $160,000, 630 horsepower AMG GT 63 S, a swoopy four-door that is nonetheless capable of outrageous acceleration, hustling from 0-60 m.p.h. in just a tick over three seconds, quicker than Mercedes-AMG’s own $160,000 range-topping two-seat sports car, the AMG GT R. The 41’ boat is no slouch in the acceleration department either. Powered by four Mercury Racing 400 outboard motors, the Carbon Edition produces a total of 1600 horsepower. This allows the covered cruiser to reach a top speed of 80 m.p.h. while seating eight passengers comfortably. (The boat can seat twenty people while cruising at lesser speeds.) Top speed is something that we had the opportunity to experience directly in Biscayne Bay. And we can tell you that 80 m.p.h. in a boat, with a tropical breeze blowing and the seas a bit choppy from the previous night’s rainstorms, feels really fast. But this boat plows right through all of it tirelessly, seamlessly, and with remarkable aplomb. It feels, well, like floating.
The sleekly designed interior of the 41’ AMG Carbon Edition, a boat designed by Mercedes-AMG And Cigarette Racing
The $850,000 boat takes its bold graphic design cues from the AMG logo, which is meant to represent a blend of aggressive sportiness and coddling comfort. The hull is a unique shade of graphite grey, a color created exclusively for the Four-Door Coupe. The deck, rudder, roof lining, and hardtop of the boat are made of carbon fiber, to reduce weight and enhance structural rigidity. And the interior details—decorative speaker grilles, broad LCD instrumentation screens, and ambient lighting—reflect cues from Mercedes’ luxury sedans. But the “Cigarette Cool” upholstery on the seats is an innovation from the boat manufacturer. The fabric reflects up to thirty percent of absorbed heat, allowing a deeper shade of Mercedes-AMG red to be used, without risking roasting the extremities of seated passengers. We ask a representative from Cigarette Racing if that was the fastest he’d ever gone in a boat. “I once went about 180 m.p.h.,” he said. “At that speed, only a very tiny section of the back of the boat is actually touching the water. That, and the rotors from the motors. You’re on the knife’s edge. The boat just kind of teeter-walks on top of the water.