June 17, 2021

AL WAAB – Update – A True Home at Sea


Almost all the yacht interiors we see as designers and produce as an industry are visuals by day. But what about representation of life on board in the evening, which is predominantly inside?” says co-creative director Bart M. Bouwhuis. “Night mode lighting is super critical to an owner’s experience, and something that we spent a long time refining on Al Waab.”

Key to the brief was the owner’s request to avoid bright direct light and to opt for beige and grey tones in place of white. Vripack responded with diffused lighting throughout the vessel, including deep sunken spotlights that shine muted indirect beams onto the floor. The owner also required warm tones, verging on yellow in hue. This is best exemplified in the sky lounge, which will serve as the family’s evening retreat. The sundown setting refined by Vripack mimics the feel of an intimate setting. Its dark and moody ambience is akin to a members’ club.

All the lighting on board is hidden and elegant in its approach,” says senior designer Robin de Vries. “Everything is concealed and indirect. Even subtle lighting on the window mullions frame the view with soft twinkles while reflecting light back into the room.”

The one exception in the open plan layout is the back wall cabinet that serves to conceal the staircase. It features a stunning light installation that spans three decks and features integrated crystals that sparkle and pop under the lights.

During the design process, we carried out a lot of testing on the amount and colour of light that is reflected or absorbed by the interior decor materials,” adds Bouwhuis. “Matt finishes and textured fabrics absorb a lot of light. White materials reflect light and produce glare. Getting this balance right is crucial when looking to provide depth and warmth in an interior.”

The final combination of materials selected include matt bamboo on the ceiling to provide a diffused glow. This also helps to absorb the abundance of natural sunlight flooding through the large floor-to-ceiling windows by day. The floor is part stone, part carpet, for both reflection and absorption. The central stairs include lighting on the underside of the treads proliferating a muted glow as guests ascend.

The overall effect has been perfected using state-of-the-art software that uses real-time simulations to demonstrate how light interacts with the room. “It has enabled us to play with the lighting and position the final selection exactly where we want it,” says de Vries. “This software proves that the purpose of lighting is not simply to light a room, but to support the interior design and atmosphere.”