About Soaring – Interview with Focus Yacht Design
IN DIALOQUE WITH FOCUS YACHT DESIGN
Abeking & Rasmussen: What was it about Focus Yacht Design’s ideas which attracted Soaring’s owner?
FYD: It was our concept for the exterior profile which captured the client’s imagination and won us the contract for Soaring. He was taken by the idea of a sporty, contemporary yacht with classic good looks. We tried to continue this concept throughout both the exterior and interior, and you will see traditional aspects, materials and feels, which are combined with a very modern design vocabulary. For example, dominant veneers, both very light and very dark, were used in combination and contrast with each other, meeting and interacting throughout the vessel. And, where we have used a more classic wooden panelling, such as in the beach club, we have combined it with contemporary elements such as sections of cord.
Abeking & Rasmussen: Can you explain the overriding inspiration for the interior and the main materials used?
FYD: We concentrated on a reduced scope of materials. All the public areas and all staterooms follow individual variations of an overall scheme. These connect to personal views and
perspectives and places of particular significance to the owner. Right from the beginning, the client embraced our holistic approach, and the design changes throughout the project were kept to a minimum. At the same time, the client was very enthusiastic about the project and closely involved in the design process. In fact, one feature we particularly like now, the backlit onyx in the library, was suggested by the client, and this led to us travelling to Italy together to find the perfect stone.
Abeking & Rasmussen: What were the main factors which influenced Soaring’s external design?
FYD: Well, we knew the owner wouldn’t be interested in a yacht that could be mistaken for any others you may have seen in magazines or marinas – it had to be different. So, for us, it was important to keep the lines fluent, elegant and harmonious, and we needed to avoid contradictions between outer appearance and inner use.
We enhanced Soaring’s classic proportions with certain prominent but limited design elements. With the forward windows, for example, which risked disturbing the continuity of the lines if individual, we made these appear as if one continuous surface. Another important element is the sweeping line which flows all the way from the bow to the swim platform. It took us quite some time to find the best way to arrange this. We’ve been experimenting with that line for more than a decade, and it’s exciting to see it finally built.
Abeking & Rasmussen: The Focus Yacht Design studio is based close to A&R. Can you describe your working relationship with the shipyard?
FYD: We’re really fortunate to be based close by, which means if any problems arise, we can be on site quickly to sort them out. Building a custom yacht is always a journey into the unknown, with new challenges to overcome, as each creation is tailored to the unique personality, needs and wishes of the client.
I think it’s a bit like setting sail into unknown waters – exciting, but at the same time it can sometimes be daunting. Working with A&R, however, is like sailing with an experienced navigator who can pilot you smoothly through the unknown. It’s not only the professional experience of the people at Abeking that creates an atmosphere of trust, but also their personal dedication to the project.
Sometimes it would have been easy for them to say no to a new idea. Perhaps because the contract didn’t specify it, the project was well advanced or due to technical obstacles. What utterly surprised us during Soaring’s build was the project team’s willingness to explore new ideas with us. We always knew they were on our side – that they didn’t intend to cut corners and that their advice could be relied upon. And often, it was their creativity that helped us to achieve still more.
This made the whole process truly enjoyable for us. During one of our last weekly progress meetings, the A&R interior design team revealed they would greatly miss these meetings. We miss them too.
Abeking & Rasmussen: Thank you so much.
Image: l. to r. Henning Krohn, Christian Schäfer, Thomas Mühe