When Lifestyle Meets Design with Bannenberg & Rowell
As the rise of explorer yachts epitomize a shift in the culture of travel, brokerage, shipyards, and now the design world naturally follows suit, answering to the unique lifestyle trends of today’s superyacht clientele. British talents Bannenberg & Rowell, famed for their interior and now exterior presence, discuss the changing landscape of superyacht design; as on-board desires evolve, and in turn, make their mark on the design world like never before.
With trends in brokerage evidencing a younger, fresher and more explorer-driven client demographic, the once traditional notion of 'life on board' becomes redefined, with design at the forefront of answering to, and being dictated by, the charter trends of today.
How are interior demands shifting for superyacht owners and does this respond to a change in the culture of travel?
As a notoriously reluctant trend spotter, even I can recognise the increasing demand for a lifestyle with the maximum sense of connection to the sea, resulting in the rise of beach clubs; terraces, balconies and permutations of opening shell doors in the hull.
Is it a result of a change in the culture of travel? Maybe. But perhaps the desire for privacy overrides the travel factor (apart from the lovers of the busy port scene…) and the realisation that a yacht makes this gloriously possible.
Does destination or cruising ground affect design (materials, arrangement, sustainability), and if so, how?
You have to design for all eventualities and unless you were to spend your entire time cruising the Antarctic, our approach reflects this. Lifestyle is the driver here, not destination - particularly for layout. Sustainability is still depressingly low on the list (if present at all) of owner wishes. We can push it to a degree but the impetus needs to come from everyone.
As a British Designer how would you define your signature style, as the European design world remains stronger than ever?
I wouldn’t tag us with a British style particularly. Clients are increasingly sophisticated in terms of being exposed to design from all over - Europe and beyond. They stay in the newest hotels, shop in the most curated retail environments and are driven in the most carefully considered examples of automotive design. Our design has to measure up accordingly. People probably say they can recognise our studio design handwriting which I think is a good thing. But it has to be versatile handwriting and it’s currently doing something neo-classical on a new project.
You worked on the exterior design for Feadship’s 70m Joy, but also had some involvement in the interiors, what kind of owner demands were being answered to there?
B&R created the interior layout for Joy but the actual interior designers were Studio Indigo. We worked closely with a young, but very experienced owner who was very savvy in terms of space planning and his requirements. The interior accommodation is very family orientated and comparatively dense in terms of usage: intimate spaces designed around family interaction.
What kind of challenges are you faced with in exterior design that differ from interior styling?
Although I’d be the first to make the case for the homogeneity of a studio and its approach to design, there’s no doubt that the detail and quantum of exterior design issues is very different.
Just seeing the nature and volume of queries raised by a German yard we are currently working with leaves you in doubt about the 3D puzzle that has to be borne in mind throughout the design process; the speed with which you have to execute that puzzle; and the interface with engineers, Classification society and Flag State. Oh and whilst not forgetting the cost implications for everything you do.
We look forward to seeing the development of Bannenberg & Rowell as they continue to distinguish themselves in style, approach and originality to both interior and exterior projects.
"Is it a result of a change in the culture of travel? Maybe. But perhaps the desire for privacy overrides the travel factor (apart from the lovers of the busy port scene…) and the realisation that a yacht makes this gloriously possible."