VriThink! Ground-breaking yacht-building ideas
SNEEK _ Few in yacht designing match the heft of Vripack’s portfolio. Active in anything from fancy yachts to work boats, Vripack recently unveiled a design for a ferry that will link the Dutch mainland with Texel, a North Sea resort island. Its remarkable design is the fruit of VriThink! _ a new online Vripack initiative that explores design ideas from the worlds of music, fashion, art, travel, food, architecture etc. to inspire yachting sector designers. To see how that translates to the real world, check out Vripack’s ferry due to enter service in 2015.
The 135m ship holds 1,750 passengers and hundreds of cars but, crucially, shuns the ho-hum functionality of public transport. Riding this ferry is an initiation of sorts, says Vripack Designer Robin de Vries. “When you step on board, we want you to feel like stepping on the island.” Passengers on the ride from Den Helder (50kms north of Amsterdam) to Texel, are treated to a world of wind, sea life and big skies. Large glass surfaces accentuate the open sea and draw light to the interior’s seating areas and central buffet. There’s a kids’ play area where clouds are projected onto the ceiling and digital fish scoot underfoot. There are family seating areas but also laptop tables.
Integrated into the ferry’s large windows are structural arches _ like you see in airport departure halls. “That’s one example of how we look for design solutions outside yacht-building!” says Vripack Designer Jeroen Droogsma. Another: for signage ideas, inspiration was drawn from the color and shapes of body tattoos. The ferry’s openness renders “a new ferry experience, one of sweeping vistas and color schemes of dunes and air,” says Droogsma. “Outside yacht-building, people experiment with new ideas, materials and colors. Especially in the car sector. Our search for inspiration and trends, for instance, takes us to the Amsterdam and London subways. To look at how graffiti colors and shapes work.”
The VriThink! site shows creations _ wooden chairs and glasses, technical fabrics, designer tables, artsy photos etc. _ that are unrelated to yacht design but may well “inspire others as much as ourselves,” says Droogsma, a Trend Forecaster for VriThink!
The idea of casting the design net wide was born in recent years of economic slump that, in Vripack’s view, had a chilling effect on brave new ideas. “We found it very hard,” says Droogsma, “to find forward thinking information and materials, to know what’s next in innovation. We aim to gather creative inspiration from around the world, share it and inspire super-yacht designers and owners,” says Droogsma.”
Vripack was founded in 1961 by Dick Boon who drew small motor and sailing yachts. By 1971, he was not just designing but also building yachts of up to 15m. By 1987, Vripack returned to its core business of design. It has created over 7,000 designs and is involved in the entire building process of innovative, high quality yachts for private customers and shipyards worldwide.