In 2011, we were offered the chance to engage with a new market segment, thanks to a commission to update the classic Victoire yacht range. We didn’t have to think twice about accepting the job, since we have a life-long love of sailing.
Dutch yacht-building company Victoire was established in 1961. It stands for classic yet modern quality, a concept we feel very close to as an office. Moreover, designing a yacht was a great opportunity to broaden our horizons and apply our expertise in interiors to the most demanding of conditions: the confined space below decks. The project also allowed us to indulge in our passion for detail and precise craftsmanship.
Working with the iconic hulls designed 40 years ago, we produced the V37re and V42re: two sleek, contemporary versions of the classic that preserve all the seaworthiness of the original, while improving its comfort and beauty.
The enthusiastic reactions of life-long sailors to our Victoire models have proved to us that we are on the right track, and we are currently working on further yacht designs.
3: Adjustable table
4: Bathroom / table
5: Maps table
6: Sleeping place
7: Sails storage
The sailing world of leisure yachts is rather conservative, so as architects we contributed a fresh perspective to the project. We also brought our craft of creating the experience of space – very useful, because on boats the spaces involved are small.
Victoire’s yachts have a magnificent outline which we wanted to maximize. By cleaning up the form and adjusting the molds, we were able to make the classic lines more pronounced and visible. Consequently both the V37re and V42re have a smooth and strikingly streamlined silhouette.
We wanted to create a feeling of space and tranquility on the deck, so we integrated all the details into a uniform teak surface. The result is a refined, flat profile that does full justice to the characteristically lithe lines of Victoire’s boats.
For the yacht’s belowdecks, it was even more important to create a sense of spaciousness. Ship interiors are often based on designs that are 30 or 40 years old. So, since the average European has grown by 7cm over the last 40 years, we redesigned the hull of the boat to create 7cm of extra headroom in the cabin.
We looked at the functionality of the kitchen, and adapted it to modern demands. At the same time, we made a truly multi-functional seating area in which you can enjoy a cosy dinner, but also read a book. We looked at every single detail over and over, deciding how to make each feature perfectly practical. We used light and comfortable materials and meticulous finishing.
The finished interior emphasizes the experience of space and light, while comfort and convenience are enhanced. Indeed, the biggest challenge of this project was maximizing comfort in a confined space – that, and getting accustomed to some new ‘laws of gravity’.
In the end, architecture is nothing more than a symphony of details. Details are like notes in music, they are the architecture as far as we’re concerned.
We’ve experienced an entire decade in which the conceptual side of architecture was more important then the crafted reality of it. A lot of offices outsourced detailing and engineering. But we believe in an integrated approach, in which design, engineering and detailing all come together in the design and realization process.
Victoire is a great example of this approach. The flush deck involved engineering and production issues, material properties and ISO norms for boats. It took time to find the right combination, and because the finished profile must be perfect, even the smallest detail becomes important.
We think all our attention to detail is worth it. Everybody appreciates it when a space is a seamless experience, and when all the clutter is dealt with in a way that creates an undisturbed spatial reality. And we just love it when everything works effortlessly in a space - from the easy feel of a door-handle, to the intuitive position of a light switch that you don’t have to grope around for…