The ‘breakthrough demographic’ of superyacht owners today seems to be an integral part of the cosmic shift taking place across the superyacht sector. Lateral Naval Architects have witnessed this new demographic first hand. Having seen the average superyacht purchaser, charterer or other future ‘stakeholder’ shift to a younger generation, James Roy, Managing Director of Lateral Naval Architects describes this new and emerging client as having a “very different belief system and buying motivation”. So, how does this change the superyacht brief driven by a new definition of luxury desires?
The luxury brief of today, as described by the engineering studio, is to “engineer, design and build yachts which can operate in a ‘leave no trace’ manner”. This discussion of sustainability has always lingered across the superyacht sector, however, unlike many other industry members, Lateral Naval Architects latest projects, and principles, have put this very notion into practice.
“This shift will continue” shares James Roy. “To do that we have to make sustainability a core part of our business. Not just in how we execute our own work in a more sustainable manner and the resources we use, but also the fundamental technology we promote and the design choices we offer our clients, as well as our collaborative partners across the superyacht industry.”
The most wealthy, UHNW clients who visit the engineering studio have a social and environmental consciousness embedded into their decision making, both fuelled by cultural rhetoric surrounding the climate emergency, as well as their own unique opportunity to innovate. When describing this change over the past decades, James Roy described the superyacht industry as having “transitioned leaps and bounds” turning a once traditional superyacht sphere into a cutting-edge sector of change.
Having seen this take place at both a local and regional level, the example of the Norwegian Fjords, who from 2026 will restrict entry to carbon-free vessels only, is an impending example of how governmental regulations will push the maritime industry forward. “This has progressively changed in the last decade and via MARPOL tier 3 standards coming into force, shipping is being brought into line. The regulatory landscape is tightening further, not just on emissions of nitrous oxides, sulphur and particulates, but also carbon.” James shares.
Lateral Naval Architects remain committed to a zero carbon and zero emission future. Their commitment to net zero is an approach embedded in their latest models from AQUA to Bravo Eugenia, proving engineering luxury means something very different today than it used to be.
“Yachts are already targeted as visible demonstrations of ostentatious wealth and a drain on resources at a time when environmental concerns and sustainability are also on the global agenda”. So what’s the solution? To Lateral Naval Architects it is the opportunity for our industry to turn superyachts from “a headline with a negative focus, into a force for good”.
James Roy continues; “Firstly, superyachts are a tool for the re-distribution of wealth, both in their construction and their operation” shares James Roy. “Secondly, via the application of engineering to advance technology in the move towards carbon free operation, via this there is an opportunity for those clients who have the vision, to leave a legacy to the world rather than just build another luxury asset.”
With vision, ambition and legacy intrinsic to the world of yachting, it is our very ability to evolve, while also remaining relevant, that allows us to take on the new ‘luxury brief’; sustainability, the latest and greatest challenge of our century. Having moved away from opulence and comfort, something that is “both expected and demanded” from a traditional vessel, today’s luxury is remodelled as experiential and environmentally conscious, “noise-less, vibrationless and embracing alternative fuels”.
Each portfolio piece of the engineering studio’s represents an architectural masterpiece with unrivalled engineering, thoughtfully executed with sustainability in mind. In doing so, it waves the flag for a modern face of an otherwise traditional industry. Not only this, it proves the luxury brief of tomorrow can, and will be, as brilliantly beautiful as it is environmentally friendly. The future is both zero, and hopeful, in the eyes of Lateral Naval Architects.