The furnishing of superyachts is a job for specialists: creative spirits who manage to create luxury, comfort and space in a complex, technical object. Marilyn Bos-de Vaal and Frank Pieterse, with their Art-Line Interiors, belong to that select group of designers who have made a name for themselves in this demanding field. They have by now built up an impressive - awardwinning - oeuvre, and work world wide with the best of the famous yacht builders. Their aim with every new project is to meet the client’s wishes, within the parameters of the vessel. Clients usually seek them out precisely because of their creativity. ‘Vive la Vie’, built at Lürssen Yachts, is a prime example of their talents.
“With a yacht’s interior, it’s primarily about how the spaces are experienced. For the design, the shape of the yacht is a constant factor. Within that framework we aim to create the overall layout and the interiors in keeping with the clients’ requirements.You base the design on their brief.You evaluate their lifestyle - it is, after all, their ship. We visit the principles; take a look at how they live and what they like.That gives an idea of what would appeal to them and it doesn’t take us long to figure out how we think the yacht’s interior should be.”
The designs created by Art-Line’s owners, Marilyn Bos-de Vaal and Frank Pieterse, suggest simplicity, though reality is far more complex. The interiors of superyachts entail far more than in a house.To start with, there is the nautical element,with all the concomitant technical services.Then there are specific factors relating to seamanship - if only to prevent all the furniture moving around in time with the swell as soon as there’s a breath of wind.
Frank:“The more complicated things are, the more your creativity is challenged.And the more fun it is for us. In view of the budgets involved, expectations are usually extremely high. In fact, it’s our job not only to come up to expectations, but to exceed them: to make the interior appear larger than it is. It takes experience, but if you’ve made a name for yourself in the yachting world, you’re given ever-more leeway.” Marilyn:“When we did our first ship,we were still rather naïve. Didn’t really know how things were in the yachting world.That’s why the first yacht was so different from what people originally expected. It was really special. Everyone was impressed. From then on, things evolved fast.We had proved that we could make an attractive interior within the technical complexity of a ship.You discover how to break away from the apparent restrictions of shipbuilding. If you adhere strictly to all input coming at you from all sides, you risk ending up with something rather boring.We’re always on the look-out for different solutions.After all, designing is about figuring out something new every time.”
They met at theArtAcademy in the Dutch city of Utrecht,where they studied architectural design - and now have been working together for over twenty-five years as Art-Line Interiors. Frank Pieterse claims that in kindergarten he already knew he wanted to design boats.After he graduated, the first ship was soon on the cards.After that it was full speed ahead, in the world of shipbuilding, particularly after in 1990 they won their first award, in the United States. Frank:“In the early days, we largely concentrated on the client’s demands, but we gradually began to develop our own style: a style for which clients seek us out these days.”
And what is Art-Line’s specific style? The designers had to think about their reply.At all events, it isn’t a universal ‘sauce’ that is poured over every project. In fact, it is a style that is reflected in their overall approach: no yacht is the same, and nor is every client.
“Our style is certainly neither classical nor highly-controlled modernist. Rather, it’s a modern approach to the interior of a yacht,with considerable emphasis on comfort and the way the spaces are experienced. A yacht should primarily feel like a place of leisure, since most yachts are built for recreation.You must tie in with that reality. Design is certainly not, for us, a matter of bringing together necessary elements. It’s a creative process, starting with the overall interior arrangement and ending with the tiniest details.That combination should bring about the desired ambience,” the designers believe. Is there evidence of a trend in superyacht interiors? “They are certainly becoming more modern.Of course, you still find classical mahogany interiors. Shipbuilding is a highly traditional industry, with shipbuilders who have been creating ever-larger and ever more luxurious vessels.And that has had its effects on the interiors. In recent decades, things have started to change – modern interiors are coming about,with the emphasis on comfort and elegance.Clients are getting younger and new designers are coming along with a different - modern – approach to the yacht’s interior.”
Marilyn Bos-deVaal and Frank Pieterse recently designed the interior of the Vive la Vie, a yacht built at the celebrated German yard of LürssenYachts in Bremen. It is a good representative of their style. It is a modern yacht in which pale colours prevail; it contains an impressive array of ingenious details, solutions and spatial contrivances that the designers themselves conceived.