When I first laid eyes on the design proposals known as Oculus (above) and Infinitas (below), my jaw dropped. You may be experiencing the same reaction if you’re seeing them for the first time. But if they look familiar, it’s probably because both designs were recently featured on CNN.com and went viral as a result, garnering Kevin Schöpfer and his team at Schöpfer Yachts quite a lot of attention.
Schöpfer Yachts may have only been founded last year, but it’s making the most of the media blitz. It’s also making inroads into the yachting business by partnering with Sparkman & Stephens, to ensure the designs can be properly engineered and built as well as to find shipyards that can bring them to fruition.
In speaking with Schöpfer, an award-winning architect and designer, earlier this week, I learned that at first he planned to branch out solely into interior yacht design. But the more he thought about the décor of yachts, the more he realized there was a lack of unity with the profile. So, he decided to aim for “a consistent level of design that takes the outside and brings it inside.” He also wanted to “break the mold” when it comes to traditional rectangular lines and instead employ rounder, smoother forms.
Oculus, at 250 feet, is aptly named, drawing inspiration from the eye and jawbone of large oceanic fish and mammals. (Don’t see the jaw? Look at the aft deck.) Rounded elements continue inside, particularly in the form of a cylindrical dining room, a round theater, tube-like elevator (rising through a staircase, naturally), and even a “translucent tube” forming the owner’s suite. Schöpfer decided that traditional master suites were too compartmentalized, so the owner’s lounge, bath, and bedroom – occupying the entire second deck – flow from one to the other, in a more rounded shape.
It’s interesting to note that Schöpfer conceived Oculus before approaching Sparkman & Stephens to gauge its interest in collaborating. “I try to align with the best” no matter what the project, he explains, “and they seemed to be at the top.” He adds that when Sparkman & Stephens agreed to work with his team, they began sending drawings to the naval architects and made modifications based on the recommendations they received.
Meanwhile, Infinitas, at 300 feet, was created from the start with the Sparkman & Stephens team. Schöpfer says the goal was to push the alternative look further, not just outside but also inside. In looking at the profile, you may see elements of the symbol for infinity. Schöpfer settled on that concept after deciding to emphasize open interior spaces and to “flip-flop the way a yacht is typically used.” Instead of having a wide alfresco deck lead into the saloon and then the dining room, Schöpfer placed a pool deck between the rooms. A “sky bridge” additionally overlooks the pool, equipped with a glass floor and ceiling, letting natural light spill all the way down.
Preliminary estimates to build Oculus, accommodating 14 guests, and Infinitas, accommodating 16 guests, are $95 million and $115 million, respectively, figures that Schöpfer determined with the input of Sparkman & Stephens. I say “preliminary” because Schöpfer realizes the costs will change according to how much owners will want to customize the designs.
Customization just might happen: He says the reaction thus far from potential owners has been positive, and discussions are ongoing. It’s also been strong enough to encourage Schöpfer and his team to begin work on additional projects. These include one in the 150- to 180-foot range and one in the 250-foot range.
drawings: Tangram 3DS LLC