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A Practical Insight
Yacht Interior Design

Kirschstien Designs
     Guest Cabin Plan
Click for Larger As with the other pieces I have written for this Website Why Interior Designers Should Have Big Ears, this item has been created to give a small insight into the thought processes and practical measures that should be considered when creating the interior design for a luxury yacht.

As discussed, the first item to ensure is that the designer must listen to the client's wishes. It is very unlikely that these will be fixed or by any means sorted or ordered, however, they are presented. During the design spiral many things will change and develop before a final design is created. From the outset the designer's job is to be creative, give good guidance and eventually to create a set of drawings, which will allow the Yard to construct the interior required.

Click for Larger Therefore, it is necessary for the designer to have a good knowledge of not only space / colour etc. but also of the thickness of plywood, the size of a window blind mechanism or the thickness of a piece of solid wood to be able to mould it. These last items on the list might seem a little odd, but without this basic knowledge very costly mistakes have been made. Having been a ship's carpenter our basic knowledge of these items and how they can be put together greatly alleviates the design process.

To try and outline how and why this is the case we will look at the design process and drawings needed for a lower deck guest cabin. Please see the pictures and drawings shown here. A guest cabin is not normally a large space or the most spectacular necessarily; however, it does pose some interesting design challenges.

   Bed Detail
Click for Larger In the initial design discussions the hull form may be unknown and the only drawing available may be the GA or general arrangement plan. These are drawn with the best intentions but in general the actual space available within the cabin is normally less than shown at this stage. Therefore, discussions on sizes of beds and walking clearances can only be estimates. The real design process starts once the hull form is known, so that plans and elevations can be created and compared. It is at this point that a base knowledge of construction and material sizes is essential. The layout of a cabin starts at the window / portlight.
Porthole Elevation (2)  
Click for Larger This sounds a little ridiculous but to explain the porthole may be openable and have a deadlight, all of which protrude into the cabin. The portlight in general then needs to have a curtain or blind, and these curtains or blinds are normally set into cabinetry or window boxes. These items need to be drawn to arrive at the internal cabin hull side which could easily be as much as 18” or 450mm in from the inner surface of the hull. At the initial stage of the design process the actual size of the blind may be unknown etc but a good educated estimate must be made to ensure that once beds and other items are drawn in the design works. It is not unusual for this to be left to the yard to sort and in consequence the room built can be a lot smaller than the client had been lead to believe or impossible to build with the bed sizes envisaged. Obviously, this can be highly expensive and costly in both, time and money, as these problems may only come to light a considerable way through the build process once the Yard starts building the interior.

Elevation 1  
Click for Larger If this approach to material thickness etc is taken throughout the design process it is possible to discuss with some certainty the sizes and clearances within the yacht so that a far greater understanding of the overall space can be gained. In the same way the drawing eventually presented to the Yard for construction, while still being design drawings, are as close to construction drawings as possible. This has two major advantages:

1.  The Yard generally sees and understand the design intent to a greater extent reducing the need for discussions and changes.

2.  The yard's time and therefore costs are reduced in the creation of a work shop drawing. At some better shipyards our drawings have been used without amendments as workshop drawings, thus reducing the Yard's cost to the client considerably.

Elevation 3  
Click for Larger The other advantage to the client is that with this level of detail drawing it is far easier for the Yard to quote on the interior construction costs.

All this emphasise on drawing detail should not overshadow the need for the interior to be beautiful, comfortable, imaginative and luxurious, all of which stem from a control of the details. The English have the expression the “devil is in the detail” and various other countries have similar terms, which are all very true; particularly in the design of the interior of a luxury yacht, where all the details are close at hand.

We trust that this has outlined the need for a practical knowledge when designing.

Elevation 4  
Click for Larger In conjunction with this the control of information only come second to the design process. Every item needs to be considered and discussed and decisions noted, so that all parties involved are fully aware of the current and forthcoming events in the production of the yacht. In this way the design spiral can be travelled down in an orderly manner in a time scale, which suits the owner's (usually busy) schedule and in a time frame that allows the yard to launch the yacht on time. If this breaks down in any way nobody wins, least of all the client.

The Building of A Luxury Yacht Should Be A Highly ENJOYABLE & EXCITING process particularly For The OWNER.

Michael Kirschstein
Kirschstein Designs Ltd
Church Lane
Henley On Thames
Oxon RG9 5JN

Tel: + 44 (0) 1491 628 073
Fax: + 44 (0) 1491 628 087

Go to Michael Kirschstien Design yachts on this site:
Inace 83
Inace 95 Extended Deck

Email John

Broker John DeCaro
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
Telephone: 954-646-1411

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