Dutch yacht designers Vripack saw an opportunity to “disrupt” conventional 50-meter yacht design when the owner of the 164-foot Maharani said he wanted an interior that looked like a Fifth Avenue loft in the heart of Manhattan.
Vripack, known for fresh, unconventional designs, came up with an interior that combined tall glass windows with natural materials, and a warm color palette that included subtle copper highlights. A circular elevator with a surrounding stairway connects the interior’s open-plan floors, revealing openness and layers across all decks. It is arguably the freshest, most exciting interior for a yacht its size for many years.
When it came to disruption, Vripack went even farther with Maharani, effectively turning yacht design on its head. The team disposed of the traditional layout of most yachts in this class, moving the galley, engine room, and wheelhouse so they could repurpose those areas for the benefit of the owners. The swimming pool went to the bow, and the beach club—with sauna and spa—was connected to the guest rooms, rather than being an isolated cubby hole at the stern. The designers also penned in 150 feet of open deck space from stem to stern on the main deck, effectively creating 10 social areas that offered guests privacy and access to the outdoors. Even more unusual for a yacht this size is the second deck devoted entirely to the owners, who can enjoy their private-terrace areas fore and aft, with a personal Jacuzzi, as well as the large interior spaces. The designers made sure there are beautiful views from nearly every part of the yacht.
“Privacy was also a major focus, so we made a yacht that allows everyone on board to feel at home at sea, each respecting and enjoying their own spaces,” says Barin Cardenas of the New Yachts Company, Maharani’s builder. “Today’s owners are trending younger, and if our industry is to attract new, younger owners, then we have to improve the owner experience without building larger, more expensive yachts.”
Vripack also found a way for the owner to appreciate the yacht early in the design phase. A full-scale, virtual-reality version revealed its proportions and size. The experience let the owner “walk” through the interior, looking around from every angle, so he could see how each area would feel and how light would flow. “Being Dutch, we love to play with light,” says Bart Bouwhuis, co-creative director of Vripack. “The huge windows play a significant role, but don’t underestimate the relevance of selecting just the right balance of light-absorbing and reflective materials. Every detail made a difference in the final design.”