From The Ground Up: Galactica Star's True Iconic Style

By Ben Roberts

The revolutionary 65m all-aluminium FDHF (Fast Displacement Hull Form) superyacht Galactica Star is the flagship of the Heesen fleet, and in order to get a better understanding of how this high-tech example of marine engineering came into existence, we spoke to Frank Laupman, Founder of Omega Architects.

After undergoing her sea trials in the North Sea last year, Galactica Star has been enjoying her time on the water “turning heads”, according to her understandably proud exterior designer Frank Laupman.

We’re very proud of her. The owner is very happy and proud of her; he looks at her as it is his first home. He’s very happy with the exterior and a very warm person, he has famous celebrity guests - you can see that in the press - and he’s a many-sided man. It’s nice to know a man like that is proud of what you’re doing.

Heesen Yachts is the first shipyard to build a yacht which features this innovative hull configuration and uses aluminium for both hull and superstructure, providing the perfect platform for a new generation of luxury yachts. Omega Architects took this platform and created a truly iconic yacht to match.

The owner was looking for unique design,” explains Frank Laupman. “So we were briefed by the yard to make an iconic yacht. He wanted a beach club and a four cabin layout which is normal, but what we did is integrate the hull shape. The brief itself didn’t make her different […] so we integrated the lower and the main deck by the means of the arch. When you see her stern you see two legs coming down in an arch which merge together the hull and the superstructure so they’re melted to one shape.

This was Heesen’s first successful and outstanding 50 metre plus yacht, so we tried to stretch the lines on one side and make her as quiet as possible and we have these very quiet window lines on the main and wheel house deck. The lines of the boat seem to be very simple so I think that’s a good thing, but it is an iconic yacht. We’re used to creating a number of Heesen platforms, and this one seems to be more outstanding when it comes to exterior designs. It’s romantic but it’s also powerful, it seems to be simple, but it’s also sophisticated.”

Omega Architects have a long running history of working with Heesen Yachts, and with a trip to the yard scheduled next week, we decided to ask about the collaboration and how this has aided both parties in the creation of these impressive superyachts.

This is because of their expertise and we don't worry when they translate, they know exactly what we want to do – there’s mutual respect so that’s why it’s beneficial.

What approach did you take to designing this particular yacht?
“The approach was difficult, we wanted to make a grand yacht but at the same time the approach was to make a low volume sports yacht. Sober lines, mid-leaning, strong in its presence, iconic and holds certain elements which are unique such as her integrated hull and body design – these elements aren’t just there to be pretty, they serve a purpose. It makes it interesting to be on the aft deck, you find yourself in a shell which opens up to the aft – rather than a straight walk on to the outside area.”

How did you find design synergy with Bannenberg & Rowell’s interior?
"We worked on together Raasta, and of course Galactica Star, with them. They basically stuck with the complete GA we designed, so they stayed with the design but they have a good relationship with the owner – they don’t have to call me every day so it’s more of a respect than a synergy.

They made a wonderful arrangement where they have a blend of materials, they’re very good at it, and they made a very homely yacht. For instance this saloon has two sections; which they used in a clever way. You get a saloon which has three sections, panoramic aft, enclosed bar section and the dining section on either side. It’s big but it feels homey and tailor made for the owner – they’re very skilled interior designers besides that they are very kind colleagues.”

Do you have anything new on the drawing board we can look forward to?
“We have five projects on the drawing board and twelve under constructions – four new orders and most of them are going to be built. It’s all confidential; it’s between 30 – 75m. We have a launching of a 74 on the weekend. If you look at Galactica Star, you can just take a profile picture and she’s looking proportionally correct” 

By Ben Roberts
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