Most superyacht owners tend to dress their interiors in fairly conventional attire: neutral beiges and grays, with light woods that look so contemporary and standard appointments that don’t go against the trends. but rather stay within a defined comfort zone. The kind of upscale executive suites or hip McMansions that are so safe and contemporary they’re totally forgettable and boring. Sometimes it is the resale value of the yacht. Other times, it’s the owners themselves who only let the smallest part of their personality show.
Then there are owners who want to show their world through their yachts. Sometimes they choose heavy reds, blacks and golds, with zigzag patterns in the rugs. The decor is rich, heavy, dark. Other times the cabins are dressed in wood, filled with nautical motifs, like a 1930s yacht.
Once in a blue moon comes a yacht like Tintin, a 112-foot Westport that was delivered last year with a fancy, well-designed interior that’s about as far from conventional or tacky as one could get from the Pacific Northwest shipyard which, until these years, has taken a fairly conservative bent to interior design. Or rather, owners have tended to be more conservative than, say, owners building custom or semi-custom yachts in Europe.
“The owners are art connoisseurs, so we started with their art collection and worked from there,” says Sylvia Bolton, Westport’s chief interior designer. “It was a real pleasure to work with such competent people.”
As you might expect, tintin was themed around the famous comic book series The Adventures of Tin Tin. The series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé tells the story of a reporter and adventurer who travels the world with his dog Snowy. While the boat is named after the character and there are a few images of Tin Tin, the most famous with a huge black and white portrait of Lauren Bacall in the main salon, the interior is more of a loose collection of pieces whimsical and bright. It has a fun vibe, rather than being a museum of Tin Tin artifacts.
“The idea was for every room to be lived in and on every corner to bring smiles to owners and guests alike,” says Bolton. A life-size Great Dane, covered in Tin Tin Sunday comics, looks like a huge papier-mâché sculpture, while below is a life-size knight in armor with a small doll resembling Stewie Griffin from family guy looking through the open visor of the helmet. Then there’s the custom paw print rug, which Bolton designed himself, and glass-shaped clouds that serve as a whimsical chandelier above the dining table.
Light and airy is probably an understatement for the living room and the interior as a whole, but there is also a sense of order with all the different elements.
“We used the Memphis Design movement as a model,” says Bolton, referring to a 1980s art design movement that is now making a comeback. In fact, hailing from Milan rather than Memphis, the idea was to counter the straight lines and “good taste” of the 1970s with shiny, whimsical and often explosive objects. The yacht is a neater interpretation of it, but still falls within the same genre.
The whimsical effect continues through the boat to the clouds in one of the guest suites, to the white polka dot patterns in the shower, to the dragon on top of the teak kettle in the galley the country.
Beyond the colors and artwork, Westport didn’t do much customization inside, apart from a set of three doors in the saloon that were designed to look like a 1930s ocean liner, complete with the round porthole. . They cover the owner’s wine cellar as well as a storage unit.
The owners are also animal activists so obliged that everything inside had to be vegan. This resulted in some of the faux leathers and, of course, the paw print carpet.
The wheelhouse most closely resembles a conventional yacht, while the whimsy begins again on the flybridge, with its teak deck, aquamarine upper helm, tables and even upper radome. The natural turquoise water color of the jacuzzi also blends with the tops.
Unfortunately for previous owners, or perhaps fortunately for new owners, tintin was recently sold by Fraser Yachts. It’s unclear whether the new owners will redo what is a very personal interior, or continue to enjoy the fun ride.
“We wanted to create an experience,” says Bolton. “The concept was much more than a conventional yacht. We wanted the owners to walk around the boat and smile.