Designer Sean Bekeschus has shared with us a concept, designed after his home city of Toronto. Sean's designs won him a scholarship to study in Italy in a master's of yacht design and construction program at the Institute of European Design (IED).
Project Canu is a 26 metre exterior design concept, intended to break with current paradigms associated with motor-yacht design. The overriding concept is that the yacht is an extension of the home, or moreover, a mobile architectural form in which structure and aesthetics should balance in harmony for a coherent design.
"With many current motor-yachts there exists no visual dialogue between the interior and exterior spaces which often results in an overall divided aesthetic", Sean explains. "For example, an athletically styled yacht envelops a rather classically inspired interior adorned with columns, cornices, marble inlays, etc… As an entirety, it becomes difficult to see how a specific design vision resonates thoroughly throughout this vessel and the design is confused. The concept of Canu instead, looks at how some architectural elements can be borrowed and appropriated into yacht design to develop a more interesting and provocative aesthetic in which a relationship exists structurally as well as aesthetically between interior and exterior spaces".
An interest was taken into several types of contemporary architecture that exhibit a strong balance of modernity but not at the expense of seeming too cold or mechanical. One notable example was the transformation of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) by Canadian born Frank Gehry. Here, Gehry revitalized the main façade by encapsulated the building with an organic glass paneled shell accompanied by an internal wooden support structure. Together, the glass and wood strike a contemporarily warm note and it is this effect which inspired Canu. In her design, Canu’s displacement hull supports an internal loadbearing wooden structure clad in structurally-supportive seamless glass.
These glass panels are affixed through the use of spider joints (another architectural detail). The wooden superstructure is evident through the glass (internally) and extends aft outside to an overhanging arbor providing optional shade and which also functions aesthetically with the design of the boat. A part from the structure of the boat, the choice of wood also plays a major aesthetic roll in the design of Canu for its warming characteristic and its nostalgic maritime feeling. The important scheme is that common elements share both interior and exterior spaces and afford a visual relationship between indoor and outdoor worlds.
The expansive aft deck offers 3 large independent settees, 2 of which (to port and starboard side) slide independently on disguised rails to form a variety of seating options (see floor plan). An electric telescoping table rises for alfresco dinning and lowers for more casual lounging. The overhead structure embraces the architectural concepts inspired by a contemporary wooden arbor but serves functional with three independently control sun awnings. A glass Jacuzzi tub with spill tray offers a panoramic view of this area from atop the flybridge.
The oversized flybridge is unique in that the glass panels serve as a safety baluster and offer an unimpeded panorama to guests while seated. Forward of the 2 person Jacuzzi is an architecturally inspired outdoor kitchen in striped wenge, with brushed aluminum accents and a wrapped Corian counter with molded sink. A countersunk grill (disguisable by an additional Corian insert), is accompanied by a disguised fridge, freezer, icemaker, and dishwasher. One feature of this outdoor kitchen is that it hides a flight of stairs that provide direct access to the cockpit below. Opposite the kitchen is a large outdoor settee for 8 persons. Forward of this is a 3 person sunbathing pad featuring storage underneath and adjoins the outdoor cockpit.
A key feature to the flybridge is the under counter ethanol fireplace offering guests aboard a relaxing ambient while watching a sunset or a popular social setting for later on at night. Ethanol fireplaces burn substantially cleaner than gas and wood fireplaces and are virtually smokeless (not requiring ventilation) and can easily and safely be house in a small metallic or glass enclosure.
Sean concludes "Another important design criterion for Canu is that the yacht should respect and integrate into its environment. This means that the vessel not only be more ecologically in tune to its surroundings but also be visually sensitive as to not overwhelm the environment in which it’s situated. From an ecological standpoint, a hybrid azipod propulsion system would be ideal for its improved fuel economy, reduced noise levels and vibration produced. Visually, Canu’s structure is quite low and unimposing. As a majority of her superstructure is clad in glass, her profile will change depending on the time of day, angle to the sun, as well as interior lighting, offering a dynamic presence that is less heavy".