As we are ushered into the new year with an enchanting festive spirit, January welcomes us with a time for reflection, review, and celebration of all the noteworthy accolades and milestones achieved throughout the past year. With that being said, in this feature, we’ll be taking a closer look at the year Omega Architects has had in 2022, as well as a first-hand insight into their upcoming expedition project (explorer class yachts) in collaboration with Burgess and Freire Shipyard this year.
In the spirit of reminiscing 2022, we’ll begin with a preface that sheds light on a little history of Omega Architects, and the man at the helm of it all, Frank Laupman.
The Netherlands born architecture firm has come a long way since its establishment in 1995 by Frank Laupman. Under his watchful eye and instrumental leadership, Omega Architects has progressed eloquently into a prestigious multi-disciplined firm renowned for their visionary architectural, interior and yacht designs that exude elegance and timeless aesthetics across all their commissions.
The Dutch firm prides itself for being distinctively versatile. Though their works are often discernable at a glance, the team of 8 do not conform to only one specific style. Limitless creativity is drawn from each designer’s variegated background and nationality, creating a lively atmosphere in the studio doused with good communication and robust protocols that contribute to their adaptable and proficient nature.
Each designer tirelessly combines their creativity and technical expertise to birth a work of art with each penstroke. The design process is like a symphony in its own right, with Frank Laupman performing as a conductor to orchestrate a harmonious progression from conception to completion.
Having graduated with a master’s degree in architecture and city planning in 1981, Laupman began his arduous journey in OD 205, the architectural firm that developed the sites and buildings for the Technical University in Delft and Eindhoven. His interest later expanded to large yachts under the impression that these vessels seem to be a merger of architecture and design. As his fascination lies deep between both practices, he soon ventured into naval architecture and design with the PB Design Team of Pieter Beeldsniijder from 1983 to 1985 where he worked on the 40-metre Luisamar and 50-metre Jefferson Beach motor yachts.
Shortly thereafter, he joined Heesen Yachts under the interior-design department where he was responsible for overseeing the drawing office and the 37 persons in-house production team. His responsibility was later enlarged when he set up the ‘Diaship Design Team’ as an independent group within the shipyard. This pivotal milestone imparted Laupman with invaluable experience in interior design as his work demanded for customisations to be tailored to specific client requirements within allocated budgets and style expectations of yacht interiors, with his most significant design being the ‘pelican bow’ present in the 37m, 44m, and 47m vessels.
Finally having garnered a wealth of knowledge under the 3 pillars of Architecture, Interior and Yacht design, Laupman trusted his intellectual instincts and fundamental experiences to start his own design firm in order to reignite his architectural ambitions. Today, Omega Architects has designed over 130 yachts and has earned 44 awards across the board.
Now, let’s take a look at their 2022 portfolio.
Beginning with the Reliance, formerly referred to as Project Gemini, the exterior work of the 55-metre vessel is an exhibition of the masterful work commissioned by Omega Architects. She is strikingly defined by her shark-grey predatory profile drawn with muscular lines that accentuates her sporty exterior. Constructed with a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, she is now indefinitely a part of Heesen’s popular 55 Steel series alongside her sister-ships, the 55m Vida and 55m Laurentia.
Heesen Yachts announced the launch and christening of the Reliance sometime around the month of August this year. Despite being built on speculation, she was purchased 15 months into construction by a client introduced by Arcon Yachts Monaco and left the outfitting shed at the Oss facilities for sea trials in October.
The overall beauty of the reliance is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Dutch architectural firm and Italian studio, Luca Dini. The Italian designer and his team took charge of her interior, working closely with the owners and Arcon’s project manager to vivify a refined ambience basked in warm tones and an unpretentiously opulent theme. Having the owner introduced at the early stages of production allowed for salient changes and alterations to be made on the fly to fully suit the owner’s specifications.
Most notably, the yacht features an opening window in the master suite and a refreshing layout in the en suite. The transom door is also fitted with wide windows to bathe the beach club generously in natural light. Elsewhere, Reliance harbours 6 spacious cabins including the 82-sq-mt master suite on the main deck forward, with the remaining guest cabins being two doubles and two twins on the lower deck.
52m Superyacht Ciao
The all-aluminium Ciao prominently spots taut, flowing lines courtesy of Omega Architects, together with a near-vertical bow that bestows her with a strong sporty aesthetic. Meanwhile, her interior and exterior design were conceived by Italian firm Massari Design who poured hours into perfecting her vivacious outdoor guest areas and indoor spaces.
Ciao’s design reflects the vision of her owner. Though Frank Laupman recognised that the design had to import certain ocean-going elements to be in line with the ‘Ocean Sports’ series that they’ve also developed for CRN several years back, the Dutch team rose up to the challenge to infuse her with a distinctive character.
‘The design for Ciao is nearly mid-leaning, meaning that her superstructure is just placed behind the optical centre of the side profile. This initial set up enables us to arrange her most defining element – a lowered foredeck, which serves as an open air tender garage. This open air garage is the key to keep her volume under 500 gross tons,’ commented Laupman.
The second important element and design feature is the integrated hull and body, which shares the commonalities present in the ‘Ocean Sports’ series and ‘Ciao’ in particular. The unique hull and body can be recognized by the arch, which developed from the main deck overhang and flows down the stern on the aft main deck. The hull and the main deck layer work as one entity, producing a facade wherein the superstructure looks relatively shorter, but in reality, is an intentional design feature that allows the yacht to be perceived as longer than she actually is.
Built four decks up, Ciao is able to accommodate up to 10 guests across her main deck owner suite and four VIP staterooms located below deck. The full-height apertures are tinted to offer cruisers with uninterrupted views of the ocean, all while providing utmost privacy from within.
CRN announced the delivery of the fully custom 52-metre superyacht Ciao to her owner right around the time Reliance was launched and christened. In actual fact, the fully custom motor yacht saw her owner in July 2022, leaving the shipyard in Ancona to grace the Mediterranean on her inaugural cruise. Following this announcement, the Ciao was listed for sale in turnkey condition nearing the end of August, taking a spot in the Monaco Yacht Show to make its world debut at Port Hercule for enthusiasts and prospects to inspect her.
62m Superyacht Rio
As with the 52m Ciao, the Rio 62m is another full-custom design that is tailored to suit the lifestyle of a specific owner. She was also developed from the ‘Ocean Series’ and her design was commanded by no other than Laupman himself, with his ingenuity earning her the accolade of Robb Report Best of the Best award for 2022 in the Superyacht category. The 203-foot superyacht Rio was successfully delivered to her owner this year from the shipyard in Ancona and was also one of several yachts by Omega Architects to be showcased at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show.
As opposed to the 52m Ciao and other mainstream yacht designs that are ‘mid leaning’, the proportions of the Rio show more of an ‘aft leaning’ superstructure. According to Laupman, the owner’s preference was to have a sporty grand yacht with a long bow that does not compromise on the possibility of having two back-to-back designed master staterooms that can be arranged further aft on this deck. Because her superstructure is placed relatively to the aft, her naked bow covers 1/3 of the overall length, a design feature that is reminiscent of the hood of a vintage sportscar having a 12-cylinder engine onboard below the bonnet.
The second element that defines Rio is the ‘integrated hull and body’ that is present in superyacht Ciao as well. This is a design characteristic that exclusively stems from the ‘Ocean Sports’ series, so it comes as no surprise that both vessels share this distinct characteristic between them. But of course a full-custom superyacht would be rather superfluous if it wasn’t unique by any means, so Laupman aspired to imbue the Rio with her own discernible character as well. In spite of this, he also faced the challenge of wanting to retain Rio’s identity as a member of the ‘Ocean Sports’ series, showing a long lasting beauty that can become a reference for future evolutions.
“With this Ocean Sports concept of ‘Rio’, we tried to create a new and clear identity for CRN, with a resulting eye-catching exterior, and a diversity of ambiences for her different spaces on board, equipped for trans-pacific cruising,” said Laupman.
The name “Rio” was named in part after the owner’s family cat, but also as a reference to the city of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian city famous for its lively and colourful fiestas. As the superyacht was built for a new & young generation of yacht clients, the name is befitting to reflect the superyacht’s essence of a party venue.
Superyacht Lusine is yet another vessel that had her exterior design penned by Omega Architects which deemed her as the winner of Best of Custom Motor Yacht award at the World Yachts Trophies 2022. Her most prominent exterior feature is a ‘bird’s wing’ motif that the Dutch firm had integrated into her main deck, bridge and sun deck without interfering with the horizontal sweeps of glass windows. Meanwhile, Van Oossanen Naval Architects bore responsibility for her naval architecture together with Heesen.
Heesen Yachts announced the delivery of the superyacht earlier this year and she subsequently made her global debut at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show for the world to gaze upon her magnificence. Spanning 3 decks at 60.4 metres in length with an enclosed volume of 1,060 GT, it was said that Lusine is one of the most complex steel yachts to be delivered at the time, one of the reasons being that she is the first in the world to adopt the SCR system alongside the V12s MTU engines.
The superyacht’s overall layout was centred around the owners and their family lifestyle, housing six staterooms with the owner’s apartment located on the bridge deck aft. Other stand-out features also serve to complement the lavish custom, such as the touch-and-go helipad accessible via an enclosed air-conditioned reception area that guarantees discreet boarding. Separate routing throughout the yacht also ensures that the crew can carry out their duties without interfering with the guests onboard unnecessarily.
Her interior was commissioned by Sinor Yacht Architecture & Design, sporting a perfectly balanced elegance with a contemporary forward-facing design. The main saloon is adorned with pleasant cream plush seatings and resonates a subtle nautical theme, while the coffee tables highlight a colour scheme that hints at the natural formations of crystals and coral reefs.
Another build by Heesen Yachts is the 55-metre Project Serena, which was sold this year. She is the 7th unit under the shipyard’s 55m Steel series with one key distinction being her restyled exterior by Omega Architects. As with her sister ship Reliance, construction of Project Serena began on speculation earlier in the year and was later introduced to her new owner through Arcon Yachts in Monaco.
Project Serena’s restyled exterior features a number of styling modifications that set her apart from the 55m Vida and Moskito under the same series. Some design adaptations include a more aggressive profile, created by using continuous sheets of tinted glass, as well as a French balcony in the master suite, in which Heesen CCO Friso Visser describe as “one of the most impressive innovations on the latest version of the 55 metre Steel.”
Other new design alterations are such as extended exterior deck spaces for improved functionality, with additional stairways to facilitate crew access. Onboard, the interior includes casual alfresco dining spaces, a sprawling sundeck with a whirlpool and wraparound bar, as well as a vast private “apartment” for the master suite, outfitted with walk-in wardrobes.
Project Jade is a 49.98-metre Heesen superyacht that is currently in the making, with her exterior design and naval architecture commissioned by the same two studios that brought you the superyacht Lusine – Omega Architects and Van Oossanen Naval Architects. Heesen was proud to announce that her superstructure and hull were joined together in August, reaching a construction milestone that brings her a step closer to completion.
The vessel is said to feature a reverse sheer bow that supposedly would improve visibility from the wheelhouse and at the same time accentuate her overall profile. She will harbour a large main deck aft terrace with an expansive beach club, complemented by vast lounging spaces and 5 staterooms that can accommodate as many as 12 guests across the main deck master suite plus two twins and two doubles located on the lower deck.
Heesen Yachts reported that construction of Project Jade remains on schedule with an expected delivery date of Spring 2024.
Sibelle by Heesen Yachts is yet another opus designed by Laupman of Omega Architects that was delivered in 2015. She notably features Heesen’s Fast Displacement Hull Form with a striking plumb bow, paired with a unique profile that demands a dedicated study to be taken in ensuring that course-keeping could be maintained, as well as to provide her owners with a comfortable cruise in any sea condition with her updated profile.
Her interior was designed by Omega Architects with AB studio providing advisory support throughout the project. The result are light and contemporary neutral tones and natural textures furnishing the beach club, main saloon, lounging areas and the five cabins that can accommodate up to 10 guests.
The 50-metre opus remains in pristine condition and has been listed for sale this year with Ocean Independence by Marco Vandoni. She was booked to be on display at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show as well.
Onwards and Upwards
As mentioned above, Omega Architects is ending the year on a high note with an expedition project (explorer class yachts) in collaboration with Burgess and Freire Shipyard – Project Hercules.
Project Hercules is a dual purpose, 69-metre support vessel that is more than capable of carrying her own weight as an explorer yacht. Imbued with the artistic vision of Omega Architects, the interior and exterior focuses on the use of natural materials to create a seamless sensation from inside out, drawing in the beautiful ocean views be it in her beach club, party pad or toy store. As an autonomous support vessel, she serves to optimise time onboard, catering to every element of any excursion. The robust build and long-range fuel capacity opus also harbours additional living cabins, imparting her owner with the benefit of expanding their guest list if they wish to do so.
Project Hercules is backed by the strong commercial credentials of Burgess and Freire Shipyard to ensure that she will be built to the highest standards while keeping costs to a fraction of the full yacht. As of now, Omega Architects is keeping us on our toes with a mere teaser of the upcoming project with little information on what’s more in store for us. But one thing is for certain, the Dutch firm never disappoints. Renderings of their designs have been delivered and executed down to the detail time and time again, so we’ll definitely be on the lookout for when the keel is finally laid on this majestic vessel in 2023.
More Exciting News For 2023
Apart from Project Hercules, Omega Yachts is also in the midst of developing and building a 80m vessel for an East European client. The bespoke superyacht is said to be based on the 75m Project ‘Elle’ that has been worked on in collaboration with Van Oossanen Naval Architects. And in tandem with this, they are also working together with Heesen Yachts on a 57m vessel as well.
In a short interview, Laupman communicated that Omega Architects are aware of the growing numbers of yacht owners with pieds-a-terre in the Singapore and Indonesian region. Acknowledging this, the Dutch firm is biding their time in waiting for the right infrastructure that will enable yachtsmen to travel from Singapore to New Guinea.
“Singapore and Indonesia are amongst the most beautiful cruising areas of the world. There are several Heesen yachts in the region and we are interested to have 40-50m yachts to be developed with a ‘trans regional’ range of 5000 mH to cover the area,” said Laupman. So it does seem promising that we’ll be able to see more of Omega Architect’s marvellous designs hit the Straits of Malacca and Singapore in the near future.