A closer look at the 34m Lady Lene with designer Carla Guilhem

Written by Alexander Griffiths

Van der Valk’s very special go-anywhere motor yacht, Lady Lene, is getting close to her delivery date. She’s a punchy 34-metre all-aluminium tri-deck explorer that can accommodate up to eight guests on round-the-world voyages.Lady Lene yacht launchedPhoto: Floris van BergenLady Lene is a true work of collaboration that has brought some of the best minds in the industry together. Diana Yacht Design and Ginton Naval Architects took charge of her naval architecture, equipping her with a fast-displacement round bilge hull, a wave-piercing bow and a Hull Vane transom wing to ensure that wherever tantalises attention, Lady Lene can get there. She’s not slow either, as she is equipped with twin MAN engines that can propel her to a top speed of 18 knots.Lady Lene yacht launchedPhoto: Floris van Bergen / Van der Valk ShipyardHer styling pays tribute to her rugged capabilities and her design team, YachtCreators and Guido de Groot Design, penned a bold, slightly utilitarian but far from unstylish motor yacht. She’s eye-catching and inspires confidence for even the most intrepid explorer.Lady Lene yacht launchedPhoto: Floris van Bergen / Van der Valk ShipyardStaying true to form, Lady Lene has an interior design that brought teams together in unison. Carla Guilhem, founder of her eponymous interior architecture and design firm, spoke about her work styling the explorer yacht, which her team did in collaboration with Guido de Groot.Lady Lene yacht interior designLady Lene yacht interior designThis may be the first time that Carla Guilhem has put her signature to a significant yacht design, yet her work spans cityscapes, a recent and notable design of hers is the Zaha Hadid-designed ‘One Thousand Museum’ residential skyscraper in Miami.

“The owners were looking for a yacht that really felt like a home. They did not want that high-chrome, Las Vegas-style look with strong wood which you find on some yachts, Carla Guilhem said.” Because I had worked with them before on residential projects, the family knew that I could deliver what they were looking for, as I was coming from a completely different area and so had a totally different approach.”Lady Lene yacht interior design

Inspiration was drawn from the golden-age of yachting which snuggled into the great Art Deco period of the early twentieth century. Lady Lene features many round corners to her exterior, and Guilhem sought to convey this nostalgia inside. Lady Lene yacht interior designLady Lene yacht interior designLady Lene yacht interior design“The revival of this 1920s and 1930s style was our main concept for the design, and we eliminated all of the real angles that we saw on the yacht. In this way, I also think it is much more comfortable for those on board because you don’t have any corners or sharp edges, which also means that the yacht is wheelchair friendly.”

Lady Lene yacht interior designLady Lene yacht interior designTo keep true to this periodic revival, it would have been anachronistic to equip her with modern materials and those not representative of the 1920s. For this reason Guilhem opted for fluted wood, natural oaks and a Chinese marble known as silk georgette. The palette then is one of neutral yet earthy tones that welcome guests and which imbue a sense of calm. The palette and styling are also timeless.Lady Lene yacht interior designWhen asked what element of the design she is most proud of, Guilhem responded:

“First, the sensation of the colours. Secondly, that everything blends together so well. As a design, it is very fluid and flows well when you walk around. I am proud of the circulation on board: it doesn’t feel like you are passing from one room to another when you move around in the space.”

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