Yachting’s post-Covid transition has led to fresh and radical notions of how life on—and off—the vessel should be enhanced. This not only includes travel but also one-of-a-kind activities intentionally designed to be unrepeatable. The experiences range from private access to famous art collections to Michelin-star restaurants in Europe’s most popular cruising grounds to intimate “pop-up” restaurants that suddenly appear near the yacht on desert islands. There’s bespoke digital artwork and VR experiences that immerse the client into another reality—and even crazier ways to literally turn the owner’s dreams into reality.
What all these experiences (both real and virtual) address, say the designers, is the universal shortage of time—or rather, attempting to construct it in the most creative ways.
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“We make three days feel like seven,” says Anthony Lassman, founder of London-based Nota Bene. “Everything rests on time management, careful planning and transportation.” Lassman’s client list includes celebrity designers like Michael Kors, but most are UHNW individuals who pay Nota Bene an annual fee for insider access to the most beautiful spots on the French Riviera, Amalfi Coast, and remote Greek islands, often aboard chartered superyachts.
One recent yacht trip on the French Riviera was designed around both the clients’ wish list and Nota Bene’s knowledge of the area, beginning with visits to the Lerins Islands, Porquerolles and Port Cros, followed by a limousine trip from Toulon-Hyere to Chateau la Coste for a private tour of the pavilions designed by architect Frank Gehry. Then came dinner at the Michelin-star restaurant Helene Darroz and an overnight at the classic Villa la Coste.
Because of the clients’ love of wine and art, Nota Bene organized stops to several of Provence’s most hard-to-access vineyards, along with a private tour of the Foundation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles, led by the organization’s curator. That excursion was followed by a helicopter trip to meet the yacht in Saint-Tropez for the overnight trip to Corsica.
Sound exhausting? It was, says Lassman, but immensely fulfilling. “The goal is to extract the best an area has to offer in a limited timeframe,” he says.
Beyond the curated itinerary, another company employs a much broader definition for creating wild, one-of-a-kind experiences aboard a yacht—such as designing a loud, realistic virtual World War II battle near the vessel using augmented reality and other emerging technologies or, at the other extreme, hosting a nighttime fashion show aboard the yacht, with the models moving lithely on catwalks on specially built jetties surrounding the mothership.
“We are turning fashion into theater on the superyacht,” says Andrew Grant Super, founder of London-based Berkeley Rand. “The idea is to create a private fashion show that turns into an experiential one-off event for the guests, with private unseen collections and haute couture fashion brands collaborating with us.”
To create the unique look, the company will use swarm-drone lighting that dramatically changes the looks of the models, from bright technicolor to black-and-white silhouettes.
Or how about a pop-up restaurant on a desert island, so the owners can enjoy Michelin-caliber dining in a pristine setting? Super says the design of the 3-D-printed café can be tailored specifically to the yacht’s location. The restaurant in the image above is designed specifically for a remote sand shelf in the Maldives. “It was designed to match the unique curves of the yacht,” he says. The company also has a private floating nightclub concept to rival any Ibiza hotspot.
Other digital firms are focusing on creating bespoke artwork aboard the yacht. Immersive International specializes in installations in large public spaces, including the “50-50” traveling installation it unveiled at the United Nations +50 project last year in Stockholm. But the company also works with private yachting clients on more intimate and interactive pieces.
Immersive’s previous yacht projects have included creating content for a fully automatic nightclub, with artwork in rooms that transform over time. “The process uses 3-D software, photography, and AI integration to create time-based artworks that change over days and weeks,” says cofounder John Munro.
The firm has also focused on specific journeys for yacht owners by capturing scenes using 360-degree virtual reality, both above and below the ocean. It then transforms these images into an immersive memory tailor-made for the client.
Immersive is taking the concept a step farther with what it calls a “dream machines” experience. Individuals can share their dreams, and later in the day, an animated film is ready with interpretive content based on the individual’s narrative.
Talk about an intimate and bespoke experience—with free therapy thrown in on the side.
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