Design Your Own Yacht with Heesen X Harrison Eidsgaard

By George Bains

Hot air balloons and igloos on a superyacht? The demands of new owners are increasing, but how far can they go?

Harrison Eidsgaard and Dutch shipyard Heesen recently opened their doors to a select few in the industry, giving an insight into the yacht design process. Among the invitees was’s Fergus England who, in an interactive workshop, assumed the role of a visionary owner looking to design a new-build yacht specific to his interests.

A Formidable Partnership
The event demonstrated how British design and Dutch craftsmanship could effectively collaborate to fulfil even the wildest dreams of an owner. As well as revealing how owners’ demands are evolving it became evident that technology and the environment are pillars in yacht creation.

The workshop began with a conversation with designer Ben Harrison of Harrison Eidsgaard, which outlined the owner’s fairly eccentric plans for his yacht. Ideas stretched from igloos to fire pits and even a hot air balloon landing pad. Ben Harrison and his team listened attentively and began to sketch concepts, with the Heesen team on hand to keep a close eye on the technicality of the designs, ensuring the technology could support the vessel.

Personalised Luxury
Once the general arrangements were finalised and Heesen had verified the design, the stage was set for Ewa Eidsgaard and Annabel Hume to work with the owner on his preferences for the interior styling. Ewa gathered as much information from the prospective client to understand their taste in order to produce a tailor-made and unique design.

The client was presented with a multitude of samples; from floor finishes to beautiful materials for soft furnishing, topped by very unique finishes in a level of detail that proves superyacht design is unrivalled in terms of luxury. Ewa showcased jaw dropping finishes, one of which involved finely cut grass reeds applied to create amazing patterned panels. Everything used showed the elite level of craftsmanship needed to deliver a bespoke yacht.

Design Challenges
The discussion also highlighted the challenges posed during this process, not least working to safeguard the interior design from becoming outdated in the future. Ewa Eidsgaard admitted it “is very hard as you can’t plan for future interior to not date,” however she tries to “stay away very much from fashion right now.” Another difficulty that designers face is helping an owner to visualise the interior. Going above and beyond, Harrison Eidsgaard offer clients the chance to fully experience the space through building 1:1 scale pieces of the interior. This way, clients can see how the configuration comes together and so gain a true feel for the yacht.

Innovative Solutions
Throughout the design process, Heesen and Harrison Eidsgaard were shrewd in their application of innovative technologies to maximise the potential of the yacht for the owner. Some of the requests, notably one for an Igloo Snow Room, tested the technology, yet everything was done to bring the Owner’s vision to life. Each deck was designed to suit the interests of the family, embracing the outdoors with facilities that included a science lab and an aquarium.

Designing Green
Consideration for environmental concerns was another theme of the workshop. Ewa Eidsgaard explained how the “industry is moving more towards recycled materials such as weathered wood, treated and then set with epoxy resin on top.” It is refreshing to see that, throughout all points of the design process, work is being done to come up with new methods for a greener industry.

The concept’s engineering exemplified both these environmental and technological aspects of design. Present at the workshop, Heesen CEO Arthur Brouwer stated that “battery power yachts will change the entire industry.” The concept designed was powered by an innovative hybrid propulsion system to optimise fuel-consumption, especially important as all corners of the industry are united in their commitment to a more sustainable world.

An Exciting Future
An event that deconstructed the extravagant world of superyacht design, it is unsurprising that the collaboration between Heesen and Harrison Eidsgaard was behind the radical and technically challenging design of 51m superyacht Irisha, launched in 2018. The two industry leaders continue to work on delivering ground-breaking superyachts, with Arthur Brouwer and Mark Cavendish excited about Hessen’s upcoming launches.

"Battery-powered yachts will change the entire industry!"

Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen


"Battery-powered yachts will change the entire industry!"

Arthur Brouwer, CEO of Heesen
By George Bains
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