This year marks not one but two special milestones for Laurent Giles, one of the leading lights in yacht design and naval architecture. In 2017, the UK-based studio is celebrating both its 90th anniversary and its 1,400th project.
One of the longest-established independent yacht designers and naval architects in the business, since the company’s 1927 formation by Jack Laurent Giles, the brand has been known for venturing into exciting, new territories of design.
Having, graduated from Cambridge University, Laurent Giles chose to pursue a “scientific yacht design” approach that was a departure from the field’s more conservative past. He made a name for himself with America’s Cup designs for Flica II and a number of top RORC competitors. As the size of private motor yachts grew, so did the experience and portfolio of Laurent Giles in this exciting new world of design; these were the forerunners to today’s superyachts.
By the early 60s, the company was experimenting in new GRP construction techniques to reduce weight and improve performance. In 1962, the team worked on the ground-breaking project for motor sailer Blue Leopard (built by William Osbourne). Still out sailing today, this yacht was built using a four-ply cold moulded shall on a combination of laminated frames with aluminium floors, main frames and bulkheads, and decking made from a ply-balsa sandwich. At this time, Laurent Giles also pioneered the all-aluminium offshore racing yacht with the Gulvain project.
Over the decades, Laurent Giles has worked with such prominent yacht builders as Lürssen, Abeking & Rasmussen, Nobiskrug, Fincantieri, Benetti, DML, Pendennis and Viareggio Superyachts. This year will mark the company’s 1,400th project, an impressive milestone for any design studio.
“The passion and innovation instilled by Jack is embedded in the company’s DNA that bears his name and we continue to innovate, push the boundaries and strive for perfection and perfectly understand our clients every desire as Jack did,” said David Lewis, Managing Director, of the company’s legacy.
Keen to carry on the company’s pioneering spirit in terms of materials and construction techniques, and so is exploring hybrid propulsion, electric pod drive systems, hull optimisation and hydrofoils in future projects. One of the most notable concepts currently on the drafting table at Laurent Giles is the recent motor sailing superyacht, the 110-metre Atlas concept, a striking design with a vertical bow and extended rear platform with vast deck spaces.