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Yachting Interview: Fine Living on the High Seas

Daniela Boutsen’s home base and design office is just a two-minute walk from Monaco’s world famous port. So the idea of applying her aviation expertise to luxury yachts was, quite literally, not that far-flung a notion. What’s she most interested in? Balanced proportions and harmonious colours.

Luxembourg - Engel & Völkers Yachting Luxury Yachts Daniela Boutsen.jpg

You’ve built up an illustrious reputation for the interior design of private jets with your design firm. For around 18 months now you’ve also been offering your services to yacht owners. How did this come about?

When it comes to designing the interior of aeroplanes there aren’t just simply aesthetic matters of taste to consider. There are many safety-related regulations to adhere to. These parameters are of course incredibly strict and the interior, including any furnishings and objects, need to be able to withstand turbulence when in the air. Flying cutlery isn’t the only thing that poses a genuine risk here. And even though the regulations at sea aren’t quite as strict, there are still many parallels with luxury yachts. So my experience does come in very handy.

Luxembourg - Engel & Völkers Yachting Luxury Yachts Boutsen Design.jpg

What particular challenges does a yacht pose when it comes to furnishing its interior?

The challenges are all to do with the natural elements in which a boat finds itself. Saltwater, the sun and wind are all tough on materials. Whenever we make use of woods, we always place an emphasis on the highest level of resistance to the weather. Stainless steel cannot be allowed to oxidise, and the textiles and paints used must be absolutely lightproof so that they don’t fade. I place a high priority on selecting top-quality fabrics and the very best treatments. That’s why I always find out from my suppliers beforehand precisely how they have been produced.

Luxembourg - Engel & Völkers Yachting Luxury Yachts Boutsen Design Yacht Exterior.jpg

Do private jet and yacht owners differ from one another?

Most definitely! I would say that a yacht is something a little more emotional – a real affair of the heart. Yacht owners are usually much more closely involved than is often the case with aircraft. A boat enjoys the status of being a ‘personal toy’ more often. Some clients are so keen on details that they even make decisions on the stitching for the onboard towels themselves. I enjoy this close interaction as we slowly but surely move forward towards the perfect finished result.

Luxembourg - Engel & Völkers Yachting Luxury Yachts Boutsen Design Jetstream.jpg

Where do you find your inspiration?

I come from an art background and Kandinsky, with his aesthetic formula “point and line and plane”, was my teacher as it were. I am extremely interested in ensuring balanced proportions and harmony through colour, with the ultimate aim of creating an optical equilibrium. But I see my job as a service provider rather than a designer. The key thing for me is to cater to the wishes of my clients and adapt to all the specific conditions both on and below deck.

For more information, visit boutsendesign.com.

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