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Icon of The Sea

Founded 1978 in Oss, Netherlands, Heesen Yachts was the first Dutch shipyard to employ aluminium in the construction of yacht hulls. Today, the yachting brand delivers superyachts within the 30 – 80 metres size range, and beyond. Our dear friend Sara Gioanola from the Netherlands shares here how the custom-build Ann G is one such exhibition of how Heesen is more than capable in delivering yachts that exceeds an owner’s expectation each time. 

In stark contrast with last year’s design trend for industrial chic, 2017 is proving to be more about fun and glamorous escapism for the yachting scene, with a strong theme for art deco curves, bright geometrics and exotic motifs. According to The Telegraph’s Bethan Ryder, we should be on the look-out for reflective mirrored surfaces, marble and brass accents appearing in refined details, and echoes of the sunburst geometrics designs of the 1930s. The world’s continued love affair with vintage Great Gatsby is not surprising due to its irresistible charm, undeniable elegance, and the fact it is glamorous enough to never go out of style. What is surprising though, is that the stand-out superyacht of 2015 – the magnificent 50m Ann G built by our Dutch shipyard Heesen Yachts – should be spearheading this art deco renaissance having spent five years in the making.

Created for an owner with a strong vision and high expectations, the Reymond Langton-designed interior is a bold, modern interpretation of art deco styling. Characterised by rich Macassar and heavily accented with stainless steel features, the design exudes a luxurious, refined ambience, with warming touches of backlit white onyx and soft tactile leather.

Undoubtedly the most striking first impression for those stepping on board is created by the bespoke centrepiece, a classical deco-style chandelier by Crystal Caviar extending over two decks. It is backed by an intersecting lattice of LED strip lighting set in leather panels that reflects the contemporary elements interwoven into the design, and is framed by the open-tread stairs that form the core of yacht, connecting everything. “Strong diagonal lines aren’t deco but we used them to freshen the style,” says Pascale Reymond from Reymond Langton. It is a theme that reappears throughout no doubt.

Macassar and backlit onyx can again be found in the bar area of the main deck salon, which adjoins an intimate seating area, and extends through the sliding doors to the aft deck, linking the interior to the exterior. The room also includes an elegant dining area, with an extending Macassar dining table featuring an inlaid art panel that mirrors a feature artwork on the forward wall by London studio Based Upon. Their made-to-commission works are highly personal, lasting legacies – handcrafted furniture and artworks that tell the stories of their clients – and with the case of Ann G, showcasing the vision of a truly focused owner.

“He (the client) told us he liked the masculine and square elements of art deco, the colours blue and cream, and stainless steel,” says Reymond, speaking of the owner’s interior design brief. “He made it clear he had high expectations but gave us carte blanche.” First presented with an interior that included plenty of contrast – glass, steel, white onyx and ebony – the owner requested “more square, more modern” features, and Reymond Langton delivered with chunky masculine details, such as the stainless steel inlays in the foot of each bed frame. The guest accommodation again uses Macassar, stainless steel, leather and parchment combined in a unique palette with artworks and fabric distinguishing each of the four guest cabins, while the owner’s suite is forward on the main deck and incorporates an office, full-beam cabin and large bathroom flanked by his and hers dressing rooms.

The bathroom features a geometric stone mosaic covering the aft wall that complements the honey onyx and rich black Portoro gold stone flooring, but it is the artistic touches within the owner’s suite, such as the rich blue silk velvet wall covering by Paris-based Sabina Fay Braxton that extends from the headboard to the ceiling, and the intricate deco motif inlaid into the foot of the bed that have stand-out appeal.”We designed the basic motifs for this wall covering and those in the guest suites and Sabina Fay Braxton executed them as one-of-a-kind murals,” says Pascale Reymond.

Having once worked as a textile designer for the fashion house Lacroix, Braxton carries with her a childhood love of colour and texture in fabrics. Her preferred medium is a medieval Japanese wood block embossing process – called gauffrage in the West – which was used in the 17th and 18th centuries, but experienced a second revival during deco’s heyday when it was used to emboss 3D patterns on velvet upholstery. “The pattern in the master is based on a compass, but with a sort of sci-fi ‘After Earth’ approach,” explains Pascale Reymond.

The beach club on the lower deck is the most contemporary in style and provides a multi-purpose space dedicated to relaxation with gym equipment, steam room, bar and seating area offering uninterrupted views of the horizon when the transom door is open. The proximity of the water is reflected in the striking blue backlit agate, while stainless steel detailing links with the character of the rest of the interior. But stunning as she is, Ann G is so much more than simply a beautiful interior. A powerful 50m full-custom motor yacht featuring Heesen’s signature full-displacement steel hull created by our in-house team of naval architects and engineers, she is powered by a pair of 1,300hp MTU 8V4000 M63 engines. In July 2015, she underwent one of the most rigorous sea trials in the North Sea of any custom superyacht, reaching a top speed of 15.6 knots (exceeding the contractual speed by 0.6 knots), before making her way north for a shakedown cruise in the fjords of Norway.

Arcon Yachts, who project managed the construction of this unique vessel, has commented on its stylish product, “We are very pleased with the result as Ann G is the quintessence of customisation and superb attention to detail; she is a muscular yet sleek motor yacht that will make heads turn wherever she goes.”

The owner appointed Clifford Denn – his first collaboration with our shipyard – to design Ann G’s striking exterior profile. The result is a perfect example of a vessel that exudes the strong individuality of her owner, while keeping the family feeling that characterises all Heesen yachts. The brief was for a yacht with a “powerful and aggressive” personality, which Clifford Denn masterfully achieved incorporating complex yet refined design elements into the exterior lines, all of which have been beautifully crafted by Heesen’s in-house team of expert aluminium welders, thus rounding up yet another Heesen Yachts masterclass.​ 

 Images: Jeff Brown/Heesen Yachts

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