Inventive Yacht Design

Emilio Bianchi

A ship’s interior goes far beyond the nautical.

Forget that nautical color scheme: The owner of Aurelia, a yacht by Dutch luxury shipyard Heesen, wanted his 120-foot sportster to make a statement. So he teamed up with bespoke yacht designers Bannenberg & Rowell to create an exterior that harkens back to British team Gulf Racing’s blue-and-orange motif and an interior that is reminiscent of classic racecars. Named for Lancia’s 1950 GT, the Aurelia’s automotive inspirations were applied carefully and consistently “without being overpowering,” says designer and managing director Dickie Bannenberg. “You have to look hard to spot the references.”

Sporty Seats: David Linley’s Aston chairs reinterpret the leather recliners of an austere gentlemen’s club. Fluid curves evoke the oversized grill of James Bond’s car of choice, the Aston Martin, in a sleek reinvention of the everyday armchair.

Quilted Insets: For the ceiling of the 590-square-foot main saloon, Bannenberg & Rowell created a plush, upholstered aniline leather cover that echoes Bentley’s signature diamond-patterned seats.

Chic Cabins: Velvet cushions and cashmere throws from Italian couturier Loro Piana outfit the beds in the three double guest cabins, each inspired by a different designer: Bertone’s orange Lamborghinis, Pininfarina’s classic red Ferraris and the British racing green of Zagato’s Aston Martins.

Textured Touches: The custom-made knurled stainless-steel handles on the dining room’s stained walnut bookshelves (pictured above) stand out against lime-green leather drawers. The tatami-steel mesh found above the drawers and throughout the yacht mimics a woven radiator grill and is one of Bannenberg’s favorite details.