Chiara Del Core 19 may 2021 Design 0 comments

Nautical interior design: a guide to living the sea

There is a clear distinction between sailing enthusiasts and those who prefer the world of motor boating. Usually those who appreciate one category do not support the other, but from a design point of view some characteristics unite both types.

The indispensable element to consider for a correct design of the interiors of boats, of whatever type they are, is represented by the particular context in which one operates. In fact, unlike the interior design of residences and buildings with various uses, in this case it is necessary to take into account the behavior of the sea. All the furnishings that will characterize the spaces of the boats must be optimal and safe in situations of continuous movement. For this reason, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms must be equipped with fixed furniture and well anchored to the floor. Even the complements and accessories useful during the stay on the boat will be studied ad hoc to avoid falling and to remain functional over time.

As far as style is concerned, in recent years we have moved away from a purely marine taste, in favor of interiors with a contemporary and more modern flavor that closely resemble those of the environments located on the mainland.

A brief and useful differentiation

As already mentioned, the boats differ in the two main categories: sailing and motor. The former convert the energy of the wind into driving force, while the latter work thanks to the equipment of an engine. However, even within the two macro categories it is possible to make differentiations; the first characteristic that determines the type of boat is represented by the size. They range from small sailing boats, dinghies, to semi-cabins intended for daytime navigation, to large cabin cruisers that can accommodate spacious and comfortable interiors equipped with all the comforts to stay there day and night.

Different structure and spaces for sailing and motor boats - Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
As far as motor boats are concerned, the same rule applies: there are open boats intended for short journeys, motorboats with cabin, sports boats designed for competitive purposes, catamarans and very generously sized yachts. It is important to point out how each type of boat has been designed over time according to the intended use and how the exteriors fully reflect the interior spaces which, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, must be functional and practical.

The organization of the internal environment

In a very similar way to the design of residential environments, even on boats the distribution of the furniture strictly depends on the space available. If sailing boats are equipped with fairly restricted internal areas, which in any case vary according to the shapes and characteristics of the lower deck, the sizes and organizational possibilities change for yachts and catamarans.

Despite this, it is necessary to consider that, despite today's trend is to recreate the classic domestic environments on board through furnishings and accessories that refer to the contemporary style, you are in a different context where safety is the basis of any choice. For this reason, the planning of the interior spaces will be strictly conditioned by the typical movement of boats and each piece of furniture must ensure personal safety even in situations of heel and rough seas.
The entrance to the internal area of the boat can take place in two ways: on the level of the outdoor space, in the case of yachts and catamarans on two or more levels, down a ladder in the case of sailing boats. The first functional area is represented by the "dinette", the classic living area of our homes, equipped with a central dining table and seats that follow the shape of the boat and are anchored to the structure so as to ensure stability during navigation. Since this is the area that is most experienced during the day, it is essential that there are suitably sized windows and portholes, in order to filter as much natural light from outside.

Yacht interior environment intended for the living area
Photo: Arcadia A105 - Credits Alberto Cocchi

The kitchen completes this environment, a space that must be functional and practical for its particular use on the move. In addition, it is a good idea to size and design the kitchen block according to the expected frequency of use: if it is used for a few days, it can be a simple support, but if it will be used for longer crossings it will need all kinds of options. Here the gas hob must ensure a high level of safety, through knobs that block rotation and lock pots, to avoid dangerous situations in the event of unexpected wave motion. In a contiguous position there is the sink with dish drainer and anchored shelves that guarantee the safe positioning of dishes and food. As for the refrigerator, the most used is the well model with upward opening; there may be a gas oven especially in the case of boats destined for longer voyages.
Cover image by Ferretti Group
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