Creating a custom Feadship is simple, and conversely, complex. For the first time in Asia-Pacific, selected visitors to SYS had an opportunity to turn their own DNA into a superyacht. The Feadship Carte Blanche Experience allows customers to turn their preferences, demands, or requests into a stunning superyacht.
The “experience”, conducted by a leading designer from Feadship’s Studio De Voogt, was introduced at Monaco and Ft Lauderdale last year, and extended to Dubai and Singapore in 2018. If you missed out, a further refined 2.0 version is available at upcoming Monaco Yacht Show 26-29 September. This famous Dutch shipyard group, whose component Van Lent and De Vries roots go back to 1849 and 1906 respectively, is trying to explain what a custom superyacht really means to them and their clients. “Many of the greatest Feadships ever built had their genesis at a meeting where we started sketching the owner’s ideas on a blank sheet of paper, says Marketing and Brand Director Farouk Nefzi.
“The term custom has lost its value in the superyacht world. Most superyachts are variations on a pre-designed platform, and clients only have options within set parameters. “At the recent boat shows, we are making the difference between custom and customisation crystal clear, via a memorable carte blanche experience”. How does it work? On day one at SYS, Associate Editor Bruce Maxwell settled into a comfortable lounge chair facing a wide blank screen controlled by senior De Voogt designer Ruud Bakker. For the next 15-20 minutes, a spectrum of subjects flashed up, ranging from architecture, cars and cuisines to art, activities, colours,
animals, destinations and a few more esoteric items.
In each case, the potential owner was asked for one personal preference. By the end of the first session, Ruud had sketched an initial superyacht profile. We thought ours was too angular, and in the next session, this was honed into a smoother, more curvaceous shape. Details were added, such as the number and design of the portholes, plus bow and stern set-ups. One very important question was how much money we intended to spend, so after quickly checking bank balances online, we opted for a fairly modest US$50 million or so, thus allowing Ruud to focus on a slightly smaller vessel than if he were dealing with a Middle East sheikh or American IT boffin. The third element allowed us to contemplate a virtual exterior tour of the vessel that Ruud had designed, based on our perceived DNA. This included the name provided, Clea, in line with our earlier boats – a mythical mistress, last book of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet – but hastily changed to a grander Lady Janet once we discovered that the profile sketch would be provided in a smart brown leather wrapper to take home.
A follow-up appeared via email a few days later, in the form of a website login to a one minute video of our own custom Feadship carte blanche experience. How was this received by clients who actually did have US$50 million in the bank, we asked Ruud? He laughed. “Some of them say that if all this can be done in under an hour, how come it takes a year or more for the real thing? The technical details do need a bit longer to put in place”. To “customise”, then, is to change something that already exists in order to fit the needs or requirements of a potential owner. “That is not what Feadship does, as every Feadship is unique”, says Farouk. If one visits the Feadship website, the process is further explained under headings such as Leave it to the Experts, Carte Blanche Design, Harmony, Box Volumes, Leitmotiv, Character, Design Theme, Bow, Stern, Windows, Sea Swimming, Balcony and Pure Custom Creation. Thinking back, there was a time in the 1980s, when the modern superyacht era got underway, that people would say you could always tell a Feadship because of its distinctive De Voogt profile.
That began to change as dozens of designers in the De Voogt office in Amsterdam grappled with the complexities of more and more radical requested features, requiring thinking “outside the box”. Even non-nautical designers, such as Philippe Starck, were allowed to try their hand. Today’s endgame, it seems, is a back-to-basics redefinition of what a custom superyacht should be. Other yards may disagree, but nobody disputes that Feadship has long been a leader in its field. If they feel that a completely fresh approach is needed for every project, so be it.
For more information: www.feadship.nl/services/design/carte-blanche-experience