Master Class Series: H2 On The Movement Of Form

By Ben Roberts

In 1994, a small, newly founded, design studio made a strong impression on the refit market. Today, H2 Yacht Design is working on some of the most exciting and largest yacht projects in the world with an impressive fleet in tow. We spoke with the Owner and Creative Director Jonny Horsfield to get an insight into the world of yacht design and the latest projects underway at H2.

Known around the world for their work with the Proteksan Turquoise yard (now rebranded Turquoise Yachts), H2 Yacht Design have come a long way since their days of refit. Now working on a radical 125 metre Lurssen yacht; currently under construction in Germany.

Jonny Horsfield of H2 Design could not confirm any details about the Lurssen project, but did say: “getting the scale of the exterior right was the hardest thing, and I know a lot of people say ‘you can’t scale up a Sunseeker to that size’ but we thought, you know what, you can. So, we went against all the rules, and consequently the level of detail and the surfacing features are dramatic and more like a 60 metre.”

The exterior style is a development of H2’s stillborn Mars concept from 2008, and this superyacht is a something of a departure from most new large yachts current conservative approach and a fantastic addition to the future deliveries of the Lurssen Yachts shipyard.

With this project underway and the recent 125 metre H2-designed Al Maryah emerging from her shipyard in Greece, what we want to know is how H2 got to where they are today, and how their relationship with Turquoise has brought them to the higher echelons of British yacht design?

“It goes back to 2006 with the original Talisman,” explains Jonny Horsfield. “I was introduced to the client by Burgess to do the interior for this boat and for me this was a big turning point seeing as we had done a lot of refit and ghosting work for other designers before. We were introduced to Proteksan and that really got us going […] we ended up doing something like six yachts all in a row and it was the beginning of new builds for us. Ironically, what happened then was that we only got asked to do new builds and no one asked us to do refits; but that’s just how the market was at the time.”

“Now, they’re under new ownership which is fantastic for them. One of the last projects we did with Proteksan was Vicky, which in particular is a very attractive yacht, and I think Dr. Al Barwani identified with that and wanted to build on that moving forward. So we’re now working with them on a couple of new projects and we’re really looking forward to seeing where Turquoise Yachts takes us.”

H2 Design not only holds on to one of the most prolific portfolios of new builds in Turkey, but moved toward northern Europe with the launch of new builds such as the 82m Graceful, 73m Odessa II and the 125m Maryah, H2 are one of the most exciting studios in London.

“We have a certain personality and characteristic that appeals to clients. We’re creative, which I think is a given, flexible and we’re not dogmatic when it comes to design. There’s flair and we don’t necessarily stick to the ‘rules’. A lot of people think design is simply about cleaning stuff up, making everything match, line up and become symmetrical, and that does play a part in it, but I think there’s also an opportunity to keep a little bit of chaos and come up with something that is interesting and has that essential function.”

The design studio’s 125 metre superyacht project emerged from the shipyard in Germany last month and is continuing its exciting construction schedule, while the 125 metre Maryah - built at the Greek Elefsis yard - was launched into the Top 100 and stands as the studio’s largest yacht to date in front of the recently launched 107 metre Kleven superyacht.

With London acting as a hub for multiple generations of yacht design experts, H2 Yacht Design are an example of the revolutionary work underway in the capital and proof of this can be seen emerging from shipyards across the world.

By Ben Roberts
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