Zaha Hadid’s creative genius alongside the naval engineering experience of Blohm + Voss challenge the imagination with a new concept of luxury superyachts.
By Federico Tybitt
Hamburg-based shipyard Blohm + Voss has asked the prestigious Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid to design a new line of luxury superyachts that will bear the name Unique Circle. According to Hadid, the overall design is inspired by fluid dynamics and underwater ecosystems.
Zaha Hadid, one of the most important conceptual architects in the world, is the author of exceptional projects such as the Mind Zone at London’s Millennium Dome, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, USA; and the BMW Center in Leipzig, Germany. Hadid was the first woman to receive the highly coveted Pritzker Prize of architecture, a distinction she earned in 2008 for the design of the Pavilion Bridge over the Ebro River in Zaragoza, Spain.
The initial concept calls for a 420-foot vessel, distinguished by clear lines. In Hadid’s words: “The exoskeleton structure of the upper section is an interwoven network of supports that vary in thickness and lend a natural aesthetic to the yacht’s external appearance; evoking the organic structural systems of natural marine formations and connecting the various levels and decks of the ship seamlessly via expressive diagonals.” Hadid’s characteristic curves “create an intense connectivity between the various decks and elements of the design.”
A line of five 300-foot vessels will spawn from the master prototype, created by Zaha Hadid Architects Studio in collaboration with the experienced naval engineers at Blohn + Voss. The first in the series, which will be named Jazz, has the same lineage of original, but with a sharper and stronger prow, which widens towards the rear. It will be able reach a cruising speed of 14 knots and a top speed of 16 knots, thanks to two engines with an output of 2,900-horsepower each.
According to marine engineers, the Jazz is feasible and has been technically approved, although it still needs the necessary adjustments required for ocean crossings. “As a dynamic object that moves in dynamic environments, the design of a yacht must incorporate additional parameters beyond those for architecture – which all become much more extreme on water," said Hadid. "Each yacht is an engineered platform that integrates specific hydrodynamic and structural demands together with the highest levels of comfort, spatial quality and safety."
Unlike the sinuous curves that make up the exterior, the interior design on these superyachts leans towards opulent minimalism. However, they are designed to allow both indoor and outdoor spaces to come together, effortlessly.
Even though the market for luxury yachts has narrowed a bit, over the last decade a competitive niche of megayacht lovers has emerged. What sets this project apart is the fact that instead of following the buyer's requests and concerns, its builders, engineers and designers have invested 25,000 hours of research to develop a concept that will adapt to the customer`s needs.
“The idea of the Unique Circle Yachts allows for variation of a genotype and its phenotypes, offering a range of possible solutions based on a cognate platform. As a result, Zaha Hadid's design is malleable to suit the very individual wishes and needs of a potential customer, which lies at the heart of Blohm+Voss' approach to yacht design. The strength of the design lies not just in its functionality and form, but also its effortless adaptability", said the company release.
The proposal of the Unique Circle mega yachts is doubly interesting because it integrates the synergy of two emblematic partners: the highest naval requirements of a firm such as Blohm + Voss and the finest artistic and daring design of a genius of architecture like Zaha Hadid. The shared methodology used in the development of this prototype is at the service of a line of exclusive superyachts that will be enjoyed by only six lucky buyers. ■
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