In the search for a new replacement for the iconic former Royal Yacht Britannia, the British Government invited yacht designers to enter designs for a new National Flagship in May 2021. However, just over one year later in November 2022, the competition, and the entire National Flagship build, were called off.
In light of this, the award-winning London-based design studio Vitruvius Yachts has now revealed its very own, and previously highly confidential, entry to the national competition, which was impressively shortlisted as a finalist in the later stages of the competition.
Fitted with a host of sustainable solutions, crafted around inclusion and accessibility, and a proud showcase of the very best in British craftsmanship and design, Vitruvius’ 125m National Flagship design is truly one-of-a-kind.
As an exceptionally innovative design, which is labelled as being ‘designed for the people but fit for a King’, was in fact collaboratively penned by Team FestivAl: an impressive partnership between Vitruvius Yachts, esteemed yacht architecture firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, and aluminium ship and yacht specialists, Ocea.
Combining years of industry knowledge and yachting expertise, as well as a passion for creating something completely extraordinary, Team FestivAl certainly pulled out all of the stops when designing the potential new flagship for Britain.
Drawing on an abundance of current and historic British cultural and societal cues, including innovation, sustainability, accessibility and diversity, as well as manufacturing and craftsmanship, the team’s flagship design is an impressive amalgamation of factors that work to represent today’s Britain.
Philippe Briand, Founder of Vitruvius Yachts and recognised yacht designer, commented on the design process behind this magnificent superyacht: ‘To design a vessel – a flagship – that will become a benchmark in sustainability as well as demonstrating British excellence and heritage for current and future generations, while also being a symbol of inclusion and diversity, was an enormous challenge that kept me awake at night. The nature and intensity of the project kept me focused but also filled me with pride, not just in the design process itself but for what the flagship stands for.’
At 125m, the National Flagship design is packed with sustainable alternatives including eco-conscious power and energy-agnostic propulsion systems, interiors designed with recycled and recyclable materials, as well as a highly efficient hull design that minimises fuel consumption and maximises the opportunities for introducing zero-carbon technologies in the future. Continuing its sustainable nature, the mammoth vessel would also be built from recycled aluminium: a light metal to reduce the power, and therefore emissions needed for propulsion.
To reaffirm this green status, the team completed a study with the Water Revolution Foundation and the University of Bologna, which confirmed that over 30 years the vessel would emit 30% less greenhouse gas than any other yacht of the same size.
Alongside a commitment to green practices, the vessel also prioritises accessibility and inclusivity across all interior and exterior spaces. Inside, all routes and areas have been tailored to people of all ages and all levels of ability, with the interior easily able to change from a ‘national showcase and exhibition space’ to a lavish space for ‘state dinners and private functions’. A ‘multi-sensorial experience’ complete with language and audio descriptions in the yacht’s incredible central atrium is not only a magnificent design feature, but just one testament to Team FestivAl’s meticulous design considerations onboard.
‘The flagship collaboration was an incredible opportunity to act as an architect realising the design of a project that was hugely complex, because it aims to represent not the tastes of one person, but the essence of an entire nation,’ Briand added.
Designing something fit for a King is undoubtedly no easy feat. But for Team FestivAl, however, the final result is nothing short of a masterpiece.