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Meet the sensational superyachts from the ShowBoats Design Awards 2017

Monday, 06 February 2017

Kitzbühel, Austria, 6th February 2017: Boat International Media, the global authority on superyachting, today unveils the prestigious winners of its eighth annual ShowBoats Design Awards, celebrating best-in-class design from the world’s leading superyacht designers. More than 50 exceptional superyachts were finalists showcasing extraordinary and innovative designs – from a 90m2 beach club on board to a staircase that seemingly defies gravity – as their entries for top spots in 19 categories.

New awards honouring innovation, recreational spaces and lighting design were added this year to reflect the sophisticated design tastes of the new breed of superyacht owners, with highlights including an open-plan deck large enough for a basketball court, a wellness space featuring everything from a hair studio to a hammam, and asymmetric lighting that creates the illusion of floating walls. 

Sensational superyachts including Sybaris with three wins, and Genesi and My Song each with two prizes were chosen by an influential panel of judges from the worlds of architecture, vehicle, industrial, lighting, interior and furniture design, including Mercedes-Benz’s Steffen Köhl and Gosling’s director Tim Gosling. Also judging the awards were leading naval architects, a superyacht captain and three yacht owners, whose combined expertise formed a diverse analysis of the 149 individual entries. 

Marilyn Mower, co-chair ShowBoats Design Awards and editor-at-large of Boat International Media, said: “The winners of the ShowBoats Design Awards this year are at the absolute top of the game with current design thinking and technology in the industry, and we’re delighted to continue celebrating the creative talents behind the most innovative, elegant and inspiring new yacht designs. Only a few years ago, these finalists represented the future of superyacht design themselves, and it’s been a privilege to witness these incredible design concepts brought to life.”


Best Exterior Design & Styling – Motor Yacht above 48m: Joy

Best Exterior Design & Styling – Motor Yacht below 48m: Genesi

Best Exterior Design & Styling – Sailing Yacht: My Song

Best Interior Layout & Design – Motor Yacht above 500GT: Cloudbreak

Judge’s Special Award: Galactica Super Nova

Best Interior Layout & Design – Motor Yacht below 500GT: Sexy Fish

Best Interior Layout & Design – Sailing Yacht: Sybaris

Best Naval Architecture – Displacement Motor Yacht: Galactica Super Nova

Best Naval Architecture – Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yacht: Gipsy

Best Naval Architecture – Sailing Yacht: AQuiJo

 Most Innovative – Motor Yacht: Genesi

Most Innovative – Sailing Yacht: My Song

Best Lighting Design: Sybaris

Best Recreational Lifestyle Design Feature: PLVS VLTRA Wellness Centre

Tender & Support Vessel Design: 9.5m Limousine

Young Designer of the Year – Student Designer: Thibaud Le Merdy

Young Designer of the Year – Professional Designer: Eric Laurent

Newcomer of the Year: PHDesign

Lifetime Achievement: Germán Frers


The increase in outdoor living spaces aboard modern yachts was epitomised by Feadship’s Joy, which was awarded Best Exterior Design & Styling – Motor Yacht above 48m thanks to her stunning, exaggerated decks. Shaded and open exterior spaces perfectly complement the glass-walled superyacht gym and family hang-out space large enough for a basketball court – two of the owner’s core requirements. The yacht’s unique look, designed by London-based interior design firm Bannenberg & Rowell, was described by one judge as “like a block of snow and ice that has been shaped by the wind”.

Wider’s 47m Genesi took home the same award for her size category, with the judges praising her clean lines and smooth surfaces designed by Fulvio de Simoni. Her 90m2 beach club – the largest in a motor yacht below 48m – includes a 7m floodable garage perfectly shaped for tender stowage that becomes a swimming pool when the tender is deployed. The yacht also came top in the Most Innovative Motor Yacht category, due to her pioneering hybrid propulsion system which eliminates the traditional engine room, opening up a new world of barrier-free interior layout possibilities.

“Elegant, intriguing and sexy deck lines” was the design brief for My Song, which took home the award for Best Exterior Design & Styling – Sailing Yacht. Designed by Nauta as a racer/cruiser for use in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, the goal was an eye-catching yacht with proportions so balanced that it is impossible to judge the yacht’s length from a distance. The almost 40m vessel, built by Baltic Yachts, also won the award for Most Innovative Sailing Yacht, thanks to her hidden sophistication including a fully retractable propeller and a ‘crush nose’ on her keel to reduce the impact and damage of a grounding. Another innovation saw her smallest parts meticulously rendered in carbon fibre to shave as much weight from the yacht as possible.

German builder Abeking & Rasmussen’s 72m Cloudbreak, whose young owner is obsessed with outdoor sports and wanted a purpose-built yacht for all kinds of adventures, was awarded Best Interior Layout & Design – Motor Yacht above 500GT. Interior designer Christian Liaigre used angled walls, unusual strip lighting and a dramatic stair column to present surprises at every turn. The judges were also impressed by the uniqueness of a fireplace lounge, ideal for warming up after skiing or diving, along with smart features such as a corridor that allows guests direct access to the gym from their cabins.

Within the same category, Heesen Yachts’ Galactica Super Nova was awarded the Judge’s Special Award thanks to a groundbreaking staircase designed by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design. Open steps floating off a lighted support column and surrounding a glass elevator give the appearance of defying gravity, while the stainless steel elements of each step end in dramatic arcs. The judges also awarded her the Best Naval Architecture – Displacement Motor Yacht, the most complicated category to judge, requiring a mathematical analysis of each boat’s dimensions, weight, propulsion and fuel efficiency, plus evaluation of the rigorousness of the design process.

The non-traditional interiors of the finalists in the Best Interior Layout & Design – Sailing Yacht category set the judges the task of evaluating contemporary, minimalist and avant garde design ideas on their own merits. Thanks to a cohesive and elegant design from Newcomer of the Year winner, PHDesign – which jumped to the challenge of showcasing and lighting a modern art collection with great attention to detail – the award went to Sybaris. The 70m sailing yacht also won over the judges to receive the Best Lighting Design award, a newly introduced category that recognises just how much lighting can make or break a yacht interior, whilst taking its exterior from merely functional to exciting. The judges were particularly impressed by the sophistication of the yacht’s lighting plan, which in some cases uses asymmetry to give the illusion of extended spaces and floating walls.

 When it comes to relaxation, PLVS VLTRA’s 75m2 wellness space features everything from a hair studio to a hammam, making it the perfect spa getaway. When the yacht is anchored, a folding deck puts the wellness space in touch with the ocean to create an idyllic relaxation space. This smart collaboration between the interior design company Winch Design and naval architect Amels meant the yacht was awarded the Best Recreational Lifestyle Design Feature award – a new category that uncovers and celebrates those spaces that give a yacht its joie de vivre. 

AQuiJo, the 86m sailing yacht from Vitters Shipyard & Oceanco, took home the Neptune for Best Naval Architecture – Sailing Yacht for moving into entirely new territory. A ship by virtue of her equipment and gross tonnage – certainly comparable to a large motor yacht in size and displacement – she was created to circumnavigate the globe. This rare yacht was designed by Bill Tripp who specialises in marrying style and comfort with speed and safety. As the leader of the naval architecture panel aptly put it: “She’s an amazing piece of work.”

The ShowBoats Design Awards also celebrate up-and-coming designers in both the student and professional categories, and this year’s entrants were tasked with providing an outline drawing of an 80m superyacht and more detailed designs for two tenders. The award for Young Designer of the Year – Student Designer, which is intended to encourage and assist talented young designers in becoming part of this exciting industry, was awarded to France’s Thibaud Le Merdy and his design concept Comète, which stood out for its sophisticated combination of modernity and elegance. Meanwhile, the award for Young Designer of the Year – Professional Designer went to France’s Eric Laurent and his design concept Hearsay. Above all, the judges complimented Laurent on his hand-drawn renderings, which were the most accomplished among this year’s entries. 

Finally, the Lifetime Achievement award went to the extremely talented Argentinian Germán Frers. After growing up in racing dinghies and crewing some of the world’s most powerful yachts, it was no surprise when Frers followed his father into naval architecture. Frers moved to Italy in 1989 to design Raul Gardini’s America’s Cup challenger, creating Il Moro di Venezia, the fastest challenger of the new America’s Cup class of yachts. The Frers team joined Prada for the 2000 Cup and the Frers-inspired Luna Rossa also won the Louis Vuitton challenger series. In recent years Germán’s star has shone in the stratosphere of superyachts, including Indio in 2009, 2013’s multi-award-winning Inukshuk and Unfurled, which was named Sailing Yacht of the Year at the World Superyacht Awards 2016. His design portfolio is extensive and his designs continue to inspire others across the industry, making him the worthy winner.

  About Boat International Media

BOAT International Media is the world’s leading media group servicing the superyacht industry, publishing the world’s best superyacht magazines and luxury books. It organises high quality events, and provides digital media services and data to owners and professionals in the large yacht industry. Boat International Media produces more than 1.2 million magazines each year that sell in more than 57 countries worldwide and are published in 3 different languages.

 About ShowBoats Design Awards

The Awards honour the creative talents behind the most innovative, elegant and inspiring new yacht designs from the boards of the world’s leading yacht design studios. In addition to the best sailing and motor yachts interior, exterior and naval architecture designs, prizes will also be awarded to the Young Designer of the Year as well as a special Lifetime Achievement Award which will be presented to a designer who has made an indelible impression on the yachting industry.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 06 February 2017 )