Coming in just below the 500 gross-tonne mark, despite a generous length of 55m, Vripack-designed Al Waab, built by Alia Yachts, challenges the norm and sets new standards. It’s this rule-breaking boldness and Vripack’s holistic design that caught the judges’ eye at Boat International’s coveted Design and Innovation Awards that took place this year in Milan on 22 June, culminating in a hat trick of awards.
Scooping ‘Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m’, ‘Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below’ and ‘Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts’, the judges singled Al Waab out for her holistic interior, exterior and naval architecture. It’s a design approach that Vripack has long championed and places Al Waab at the forefront of yacht design.
“Al Waab pulled ahead as a solid, smart design that’s slightly more efficient than its fellow nominees,” commented the judges. “Further tipping the balance in her favour was the holistic element of her naval architecture, exterior styling and interior arrangement.”
Build and delivered in 2021 by Alia Yachts, for an owner, represented by SF Yachts, who sought a family home at sea, Al Waab is slender for her size, extremely fuel efficient and reaches a top speed of 14.5 knots. The Dutch design firm Vripack’s expertise comes to the fore with an optimised interior that accommodates a split-level master suite forward, six large cabins and a glass-walled convertible gym-cabin aft.
This is thanks to Vripack’s naval architecture prowess, whereby a voluminous bilge and compact technical spaces create greater interior space for guest accommodation.
Redefining yacht design one holistic step at a time
Commenting on the awards wins, Vripack’s co-creative director Bart M. Bouwhuis, says: “Since 1961, Vripack’s design ethos has been underpinned by our holistic vision. Creating world-class interior and exterior designs that are conceived with expert naval architecture in mind not only delivers a yacht that comprehensively answers an owner’s brief, but one that gains worldwide industry recognition too.”
Alia Yachts president Gökhan Çelik, adds: “We are so very proud of our wins at the Design & Innovation Awards. We worked incredibly hard with our partners Vripack and SF Yachts to produce this challenging design on time in the grip of a global pandemic. Having all the disciplines under one roof, we could coordinate everything and bring this project to life.”
Key design features include multiple drop-down terraces – with two in the master suite – a luminous glass staircase that connects the three decks, and a ‘breakfast nook’ where the family can share a convivial morning meal together. On the exterior, 286 sqm of deck space gift a life outdoors. Inside, a natural, muted colour scheme is accented with eye-catching details, such as a glittering gold-studded acrylic bulkhead, floor-to-ceiling windows and the advanced use of indirect lighting to seamlessly transition the yacht interior from day to night mode.
“Almost all the yacht interiors we see as designers and produce as an industry are visuals by day. But what about representation of life on board in the evening, which is predominantly inside?” says Bouwhuis. “Night mode lighting is super critical to an owner’s experience and something that we spent a long time refining on Al Waab.”
The overall effect was perfected using state-of-the-art software that uses real-time simulations to demonstrate how light interacts with the room. “This software proves that the purpose of lighting is not simply to light a room, but to support the interior design and atmosphere,” says Bouwhuis.