Alfred van Elk: ‘Feadship is a leading yacht building company, with an international reputation. They have their own design department, and they approached me as an external specialist to help develop a concept yacht that incorporated the notion of sustainability. Feadship wants to use this project to show what it is capable of.
What was my role? As creative director I was responsible for steering the team and developing a vision. Of course I am also a lecturer (at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague) and feel comfortable with leading a team. As a lecturer I try and stimulate people, make them enthusiastic and make suggestions. But I also need to be able to tale a step back in the process and leave it to others to pick things up. This all happened smoothly in this case. We had to think about the core essence – sustainability – for a while. Because let’s be honest: the best yacht in that sense is maybe no yacht. But that would have been the easy way out. We did pose it as a valid question among ourselves. We did a lot of research around the topic and gathered a lot of image material about current developments in this particular market. We ended up looking at Biomimicry, which is a beautiful concept within sustainability. Biomimicry is about sustainable innovation using nature as a source of inspiration.
The concept yacht ‘Breathe’, developed by us, uses natural energy sources available in the immediate surroundings, such as sun, wind and water currents. The design comprises systems and solutions derived from nature, which gives this yacht its special sustainable characteristics. In addition to the requirement to design something sustainable, we wanted to come up with something unique. This is a way of working that suits me and which also suits others I have noticed. Therefore the result is not a trendy, temporal thing, but an inspiring yacht that is durable.’