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Unfolding art

An aspiring superyacht designer shares his motivations behind novel and eye-catching creations for sailing and motor yachts alike.

Written by Esther Barney
Photography by George Lucian Design

14 November 2017


Superyacht concepts are created to inspire and to wow the world, to serve as both inspiration and a foundation from which to create an exciting new build project’s design. Aspiring Monaco-based yacht designer George Lucian, of George Lucian Art, has released his latest vision, Project Origami, an intricate 100-metre sailing yacht with folding parts and a rig inspired by traditional Asian junks. Here, he shares some of his inspiration and thoughts on superyacht concept design from Project Origami and Dare to Dream, a motor yacht with an accompanying airship, which was released last year.

What first inspired you to create this particular design?
The inspiration came from the shapes of traditional Asian ancient sailing vessels and from some modern military ships.

You mention that there are elements of traditional Asian sailing vessels in the design. Can you expand on which ones in particular?
The sails, especially their division into smaller areas, and from the origami art, the shapes of the hull.

What is your favourite part of the design?
The helicopter folding platform, which is a part of the hull that opens up completely to create a wall of glass for the guest quarters, a helicopter touch-and-go pad, and an enormous beach club and entertaining area.


Project Origami features folding surfaces that offer dual purpose – including window protection in the hull that converts to a helicopter landing pad on the aft port side. What other innovative features have you considered?
Of course, I love the unusual shape of the hull. But also the crow’s nest, which is on the top of the mast, for guest to enjoy incredible views. Also, the swimming pool, which is the width of the whole hull and has glass walls, creating a very special effect on the profile of the yacht. The mast is secured to the yacht from the middle of the swimming pool, which is an unusual design feature.

You mention that the yacht design is particularly environmentally friendly – how so?
The sails can generate electricity, acting as solar panels when deployed, and all the other modern systems on board that would reduce emissions and environmental footprint.

Where did you get inspiration for the sail plan from for Project Origami? Did you work with any sailing or rigging specialists?
The sails draw inspiration from junks, which are ancient Asian sailing vessels. I did not work with a sailing specialist; therefore, I am sure that the creation of the sails and operation would be a challenge.

Have you talked with any naval architects or surveyors about the construction/cruising feasibility of the design?
No, I did not. But I am very much aware that the construction of the vessel would be a big challenge for anyone who would dare to build it

Last year you released designs of another 100-metre yacht that had an airship attached, called Dare to Dream. It received a lot of attention at the time. Do you see any similarities/themes between that design and this new one, a sort of “George Lucian style” of design?
Yes, my first concept went viral, being published in more than 100 publications all over the world including CNN, Fox News, AD, GQ, and a lot of yachting magazines. I do see a lot of similarities between the two concepts in terms of the design and styling. I can say that this is my “style”, as the other yacht I have designed and not published yet follow similar lines.

To what extent do you feel that yacht concept design should be grounded by practical and technical considerations, or should it be a mostly creative exercise to inspire?
I create my designs as a way of expression and, even if I do keep an eye on the realistic side, I do not let myself be fully constrained by this. I think concepts are meant to stimulate the imagination of the public and maybe set trends of the future. If a client would like to build the concept, the final result would be very much adapted, but at the same time, it would keep a lot of the original concept features.

As a young yacht designer, what is the most challenging thing about breaking into the business and getting your designs taken seriously by yards and brokers?
I think there are a lot of challenges, like competition, technical constraints and brand. Nevertheless, I produce my designs as a form of expression and as an art, and I do not point them towards a specific target. If anyone would dare to build them, he or she would be very much welcome. For now, I can only say that the open public was very generous and passionate regarding my designs, therefore I am certainly going to continue.

What are your inspirations outside of yachting when it comes to design?
I follow very closely everything what goes on in the art world, architecture, interior design, and military concepts, and so I do take a little bit from all of these fields.


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