Published: Friday, 21 March 2014

Zaha Hadid’s collaboration to design a new superyacht with the renowned Hamburg-based shipbuilder Blohm+Voss has received remarkable interest from yachting enthusiasts throughout the Asia Pacific. To celebrate the collaboration, Blohm+Voss CEO and Managing Partner Dr Herbert Aly joined guests from across the region at the SEVVA Club, Hong Kong on March 19.

Based around the sculptural form of a master prototype conceived for a 128–metre yacht, The Unique Circle Yachts by Zaha Hadid Architects for Blohm+Voss is a family of five individual 90–metre yachts that creatively explore the design philosophies of the master prototype within the technical requirements of a fully-engineered yacht design.

Zaha Hadid Designed Superyacht For Blohmvoss Presented In Hong Kong

The overall design is informed by fluid dynamics and underwater ecosystems, with hydrodynamic research informing the design of the hull. 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 found in natural marine formations. This exoskeleton connects the various levels and decks of the ship seamlessly via expressive diagonals. Whereas traditional yacht designs adhere to a strict horizontal order, Hadid has created an intense connectivity between the various decks and elements of the design. The fluid design language of the master prototype has been applied to subsequent variations of the Unique Circle Yachts 90–metre yacht concepts, creating a coherent design with the highest correlation between the various design options.

The 90–metre Jazz yacht is the first of the five Unique Circle Yachts that has been technically specified and detailed by the naval architects at Blohm+Voss. Its lineage from the 128–metre master prototype is evident, with further technical refinements to address the specifications required for ocean crossings. In addition to Jazz, four further 90–metre yachts have been designed to fulfil the different requirements and individual requests of their designated owners. Each design will vary in layout according to the owner’s preferences.

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The design process was very much a collaborative one, with Blohm+Voss and ZHA working together to address the practical challenges of designing a yacht while remaining true to the strong iterative design language of the master prototype. The resulting designs are the synergy of Hadid’s design vision and the technical expertise of Blohm+Voss, allowing a flexibility and customisation in the eventual design of the yacht.

“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," explained 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.” 

Blohm+Voss has the proven experience, the in-house technical expertise, and the capacities to offer tailor-made solutions for the most demanding buyers in the superyacht market. The naval architects of Blohm+Voss are forever pushing the boundaries of technology and innovation. In recent years Blohm+Voss has built many of the world’s most prestigious mega yachts. These include the ground-breaking 394–foot A, designed by Philippe Starck, and the Eclipse designed by Terrence Disdale, which at 533–feet is the world's second largest private yacht. Other Blohm+Voss superyacht projects include, the Mayan Queen IV and the Palladium.

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"On an aesthetic level a superyacht is a great design task as everything is customised down to the last detail," says Dr. Aly. "A superyacht is by definition an exercise in total design, where every detail is looked at with attention and refinement. In the past, in the era of steam liners, there has been an attempt of utilising ship building elements in architecture. Zaha Hadid and her team have taken this ethos and created a bold new vision and a new benchmark in the design of superyachts."

Zaha Hadid Architects and Blohm+Voss have transformed yacht design – creating an innovative concept and developing this vision into a fully seaworthy design that offers dynamic new possibilities for naval architecture.

Watch the design concept video here