What was the inspiration behind the design of Illusion?
"The inspiration behind the design is the Rolls Royce motor car. The original brief from the owner was to design a timeless state of the art 21st century motor yacht, using design cues and styling influence from the classic lines and exquisite detailing of the Rolls Royce motorcar."
How did you approach the original owner's brief?
"To carry out our research for this project the whole team at RMD descended on Jack Barclay’s in Berkeley Sq. London and proceeded to climb all over some of the most desirable Rolls Royce motorcars available. We studied and absorbed the design rudiments of the wonderfully fluid styling of the exterior. We learnt that the `golden arc` of the undercarriage that travels from the far tip of the rear wheel to the front of the bonnet is a sacred shape that acts as the constant starting point for all Rolls Royce cars. We also noted the blunt yet brutally elegant bonnet shape contrasts with the fluid dropped boot line with the 3 dimensional panel lines connecting the two elements.
For the next 3 weeks we studied every aspect of the evolution of the modern yet classic Rolls Royce styling and proceeded to integrate some of these key lines and styling quirks into the hull and superstructure of the concept for the Raffles 88m yacht.
Key features that reflect the RR marque are the blunt bow and surface indentation as well as the boot shape and fluid timeless lines of the superstructure. For fun we designed a retractable modern interpretation of a Spirit of Ecstasy on the bow that could be automatically retracted like the real mascot on the automotive version. To reflect the Rolls Royce’s generous proportions we also ensured our 88M looked slender and elegant yet retained a very generous beam."
What are the benefits for any owner looking to purchase Illusion?
"Firstly the overall styling of the exterior is timeless. The fluid lines ensure that in years to come the aesthetic will still be current. The styling of the hull was designed by Rainsford Mann Design with detailed naval architecture by Azure Naval Architects. The hull is conceived to be unique in the surface detailing and with its two-tone livery as well as the unique designed `floating` deck furniture.
In addition the interior is very well thought through with some striking spaces such as the water level ocean lounge aft , as well as the family sitting room that can convert to a children’s` play room and the wonderfully light full beam master suite with private spa and bathing complex. In addition, the private cinema on the lower deck contrasts with the gym / sky lounge on the top deck. Crew accommodation has been designed to aide retention by introducing generous proportions to crew cabins and mess areas. All in all you get a lot of boat for you buck – a well engineered and fabricated yacht of great quality using Rolls Royce equipment that includes the power plant and much of the equipment in the helms station. In summary: European Design, Rolls Royce Equipment and Western Management with great Chinese engineering"
How is this project benefitting from the construction management of Raffles Shipyard?
"Raffles shipyard is the leisure yard born out of Yantai Raffles one of the foremost commercial shipbuilders in the world. Over the last 25 years all the knowledge and skill built up in designing engineering and building some of the world’s largest and complicated commercial craft has been fed into this yacht project at Raffles. This is not the first superyacht to be built from the Raffles yard and this project like the previous projects benefits from the commercial approach with the flair and experience of an international team project managing this build in China. No stone is left unturned with the entire engineering of the yacht being drawn up in 3D first right down to the last screw before any metal was cut. This measured approach has ensured that a beautiful boat of immense quality has been fabricated."
How do you see the Chinese superyacht market evolving over the years?
"Slowly, and with caution as the Chinese yacht owner understands what it means to own and run a yacht and as the indigenous newfound wealth starts to emulate yacht owners in the west and use private yachts as a means to explore and travel.
The Chinese yacht owner is savvy and canny and will take their time to develop the capabilities in their own country to build large super yachts for reduced build prices compared to similar sized yachts built in the west. The newfound wealth that is emerging will first focus on the smaller yachts up to 40M before venturing into the larger superyacht market. RMD`s prediction is that the Chinese market will start to show vibrant activity from about 2017 dependent on world events and economies in the future."
The styling of the hull was designed by Rainsford Mann Design with detailed naval architecture by Azure Naval Architects and is currently available for sale through Fraser Yachts. For more information on Illusion, click here.