Writing yacht history.

MY "Skat"

Completion 2002


One takes an ambitious owner desirous of a spectacular ship, a naval architect who actually knows how to design such a ship, and a designer who can give formative breath to exactly the vessel the owner yearned for. Then one needs a shipyard which can build everything and a team to flawlessly realise the ideas of the owner, the architect and the designer within the yacht’s interior. Only when all these conditions are in place can a ship like the “Skat” be created, unique in the annals of luxury yachts. “Skat” is Danish for “Sweetheart”. And she has been treated like a sweetheart from the very first day. Her lines were drawn by naval architect Espen Øino, the interiors are the design of Marco Zanini, formerly the partner of Ettore Sottsass, and the shipyard was Lürssen, one of the world’s best addresses for building luxury yachts. A major portion of the interior fittings were entrusted to Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau. Colours are signals, sometimes philosophies of life. Perhaps the muted grey, the defining colour of the house, the aeroplane, and now also the yacht of the owner is just such a world-view. A grey which adapts to the environment instead of overpowering it. In “Skat”, this grey virtually pulls thematic power through all the rooms, and through the more technical areas. Mated with a strong blue and the eminent red which culminates in the seat classics of Arne Jacobsen and which is also incorporated elsewhere as a design element. To realise this concept, Marco Zanini settled on grey WilsonART laminate and combined it with narrow teak frames. Grey-blue granite is moreover seen in the galleys, bathrooms, pantries, wet rooms and as material for the working surfaces. There are no status symbols aboard this yacht. No imperial anterooms, no ornate pieces of furniture or ornamentation suggestive of five-star hotels. Some rooms seem smaller than they really are, they convey the feeling of peaceful oases, to read, to relax. But on the practical side, each object on board is very judiciously defined as to function. Where all is so clear and precise, the defined direction for “Skat” was that of as much light as possible, for that reason the aft glass gallery with its bay windows, which even lets in light from above. Of importance was not only the precision to the technical craftsmanship of the interior fittings but also their precise logistics. The parlour on the main deck was first built and approved in its entirety as a 1:1 mock-up in the workshop. This allowed the owner and designer to make any necessary revisions beforehand, in good time prior to beginning installation on the ship. The owner had high requirements for his technical equipment. It was thus decided to organically integrate the ship’s technology to the greatest extent possible, from single cables to the entire signalling technology. DWH worked on the following areas: the entire crew quarters; cabins, the crew mess, galleys, below-deck storage areas, main galley and laundry. On the bridge: captain’s quarters including office, cockpit and radio room. In the public areas: main parlour, main dining room, lounge, library, guest office, the corridors, sauna, fitness room, beach club and the stairway extending over five floors. Exemplary of the accomplished technology is a wall in the guest office made from a plurality of planed, finely-sanded lamella, varnished to a grey mirror finish and integrating a door through to the chart room. And yet at the same time, this wall “breathes”, which is realised here by means of a separate exhaust for the room in the form of a return air grille measuring 2 x 2 metres. The structural distinctiveness to this: our staff designed a special control for the pushlock mechanism which integrates fully into the design, virtually invisible from the outside.

Text: Rainer Baginski
Photo: Bernadette Grimmenstein, Klaus Jordan, Bill Muncke