Designer Adriana Monk describes the ideas and solutions that went into developing the interior of Skorpios, the ClubSwan super maxi that won the Rolex Fastnet Race in August. No official images of the interior have been shot. Instead these photos were taken by Monk during the build. Her words have been curated by Justin Ratcliffe exclusively for SuperYacht Times.
What started out as a regular racer-cruiser turned into a state-of-the-art race boat
It was naval architect Juan K, who contacted me after analysing the results of virtual race simulations. This extraordinary yacht had the potential of winning world records. My task was to create an unconventional interior for this beast by designing a “space-ship” interior to enjoy extreme racing in a high-tech capsule; a practical yet peaceful space whilst individually addressing the basic human functions needed to perform at the very top level of the sport. Photo: Justin Ratcliffe / SuperYacht TimesAs a product designer I embraced the challenge of combining performance and sophistication by pushing the boundaries of extreme form and function. This meant simplifying, reducing weight and introducing new and innovative technologies and materials all with safety as a primary concern.The vessel has very few hatches and natural light had to be augmented with resourceful illumination solutions to add different moods and a level of perceived comfort and safety to this peaceful haven. The grabrails throughout the interior have hidden wiring and integrated strip lighting. Even the light switches, embedded in the grabrail endcaps, are designed to be intuitive and easy to use and locate.I believe in honest use of materials suitable for their purpose and performance. Where possible I like to leave the actual technical construction materials visible to save weight and expose the beauty and sophistication. For example, bulkheads and hull sides are left to show off the high-quality construction and workmanship of the carbon-fibre structure.Another innovative material application brings the experience from outside to inside. The floor panels are tiled with padded, non-skid floor mats that express the racing design aesthetic, are sound absorbing and soften the impact in the event of a fall.One of the most unique materials is the acoustic textile that we designed with a unique three-dimensional texture specifically for this project. The result of a close collaboration with the textile designer, we wanted to have the sound absorbing effect of a recording studio.Finally I developed a room divider as a piece of artwork with the yacht’s logo embedded into the interior panels that separate the living quarters from the technical space forward.This unique race boat has two concepts in one package: a thorough-bred racing machine with a comfortable space inside. The main task is to achieve an extreme racer that will perform at its best whilst still providing a relaxed and safe environment.In offshore racing conditions, the boat will be heeled at 20-30 degrees over long periods. These radical parameters require architectural design adjustments that always address safety, the need to work efficiently and be comfortable in a 60-degree range of motion.The minimal horse-shoe shaped galley was designed to provide an ergonomically safe environment for the dining experience with pivoting benches and a central adjustable table that can be flipped from side to side to accommodate a very wide range of angles enabling eating and sitting on the leeward side.Throughout this project my mindset has always been to think out of the box and question the norm, to be creative without compromise within the stringent parameters. Thanks to the precious input from the team of experts involved in this project, I was able to create many unique features.The owner was pivotal in defining the requirements of this interior. The style and design are a pure consequence of his needs and requests. Regular design reviews with the owner throughout the development of the project provided the team with feedback and valuable input before manufacturing was given the go ahead. We used a VR headset and 3D animation to take the owner through the range of motion that can be expected during racing.Working with professional sailors from the pinnacle of endurance offshore sailing was another asset. We brainstormed intensely and explored all possible and impossible solutions. Learning from their vast experience and particularly their insight into living in a heeled and constantly moving environment was instrumental in developing concepts and exclusive ideas with the aim of improving life on board such an extreme vessel.Photo: Justin Ratcliffe / SuperYacht TimesIt has been a privilege to be asked to collaborate on this exclusive project. Something like this has never quite been done before, so it is wonderful to have a client with such a pioneering spirit. Together we have conceived one of the most innovative and extreme sailing vessels and hopefully we have created something memorable and meaningful.