Most superyacht owners tend to dress their interiors in fairly traditional attire: neutral beiges and greys, light woods look very modern, and standard layouts don’t buck the trend but stay within a defined comfort zone. Those high-end executive suites or sleek McMansions are so safe and modern that they’re completely forgotten — and boring. Sometimes it’s about the yacht’s resale value. Other times, it’s about the owners themselves, who are only allowed to show the tiniest of personalities.
There are also boat owners who want to show their world through their yachts. Sometimes they choose heavy reds, blacks and golds with a zig-zag pattern on the carpet. The decor is rich, heavy and somber. Other times, the cabins are covered in wood and filled with nautical motifs, like yachts from the 1930s.
once-in-a-lifetime yacht Tintin, The whimsical interior design of a 112-foot Westport delivered last year is a far cry from the traditional or tacky of the Pacific Northwest shipyard, which until recent years has taken a rather conservative approach to interior design. Or rather, owners tend to be more conservative than those who build custom or semi-custom yachts in Europe.
“The owners are art connoisseurs, so we started with their art collection and worked from there,” said Westport lead interior designer Sylvie Bolton. “It’s been a real pleasure working with these very knowledgeable people.”
As one might expect, Tintin is themed after the famous comic series Adventures of Tintin. Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s series tells the story of a journalist and adventurer who travels the world with his dog Snowy. While the ship is named after the character and has some images of Tin Tin, most notably a huge black-and-white portrait of Lauren Bacall in the main salon, the interior is more of a collection of whimsical and bright works loose collection. It offers a fun vibe rather than a museum of tin tin artifacts.
“The whole idea is to make every room experience every corner and make owners and guests smile,” Bolton said.A life-size Great Dane covered in a Sunday comic from Tin Tin looks like a giant pulp sculpture, while below is a full-size knight in armor and a family man Look out from the helmet’s open visor. Then there’s a custom paw print rug painted by Bolton himself, and a glass-shaped cloud used as a whimsical chandelier above the dining table.
Light and airy might be an understatement for the salon and the interior as a whole, but there is also a sense of order to all the different elements.
“We used the Memphis design movement as a template,” said Bolton, referring to the art design movement of the 1980s that is now making a comeback. In fact, the idea originated in Milan rather than Memphis, with bright, whimsical and often conflicting objects to counter the straight lines and “good taste” of the 1970s. Yachting has a more succinct interpretation of this, but is still of the same type.
The whimsical effect continues throughout the boat, from the clouds in one of the guest rooms, to the white dot pattern in the shower, all the way to the dragon on top of the teak kettle in the rustic kitchen.
Aside from the colors and artwork, Westport didn’t customize the interior much, save for a set of three doors in the salon that were designed to look like a 1930s ocean liner with round portholes. They cover the owner’s wine cellar as well as a storage unit.
The owners are also animal activists and therefore require that everything inside must be vegan. This translates to some faux leather and of course paw print rugs.
The wheelhouse looks most like a traditional yacht, and the whimsy on the flybridge begins again, with its teak deck, aquamarine upper rudder, table and even the top radome. The natural turquoise water color of the Jacuzzi also blends in with the top.
Sadly for the old owner, or possibly lucky for the new owner, Tintin was recently sold by Fraser Yachts. It’s unclear if the new owners will redo the very personal interior or continue to enjoy a fun ride.
“We wanted to create an experience,” Bolton said. “The concept is not just a traditional yacht. We want the owner to walk around the boat and smile.”