Marble has for generations been a favoured choice among the elite when it comes to high end worktops, bathroom vanity and surface finishes. The unique and natural design, coupled with its softly smooth to the touch texture has long gained it praise, despite its porous and delicate nature, high maintenance upkeep as well as it’s costly repair bill. However, when it comes to luxury yacht interiors, the snag list associated with this high ticket material gains a few more cons as weight and salt water are added into the nautical mix.
Refitting any interior requires skill, vision and style but when it comes to a superyacht interior refit these qualities need to be honed to the very highest level because every creative concept needs to satisfy not only the most demanding of clients but also to comply with weight restrictions, ballast limits, and a salty humid environment.
The in-house interior design team at ptw Shipyard is well accustomed to successfully creating and producing spectacular refits for the most discerning of clients so we spoke to Jason Lee Hardy, Head of the Interiors workshop at the Tarragona port shipyard, about Solid Surfaces, and his design team’s opinion on this innovative alternative to marble worktops and surfaces.
Can you explain what are the disadvantages of using marble on superyachts?
There is little doubt about the opulent and stately feel that marble brings to any design. It is a truly unique natural stone hailed for its rarity, natural beauty and lustre. Its porous composition makes it lighter and softer than other stones like granite but unfortunately this also renders it more susceptible to wear and tear, and makes it less robust in the face of rigorous use or constant exposure to the elements. It can be prone to chipping and this luxury material is expensive to repair or replace when damaged. Jason adds that, though lighter than other stones, it still adds additional weight to a vessel, which is a serious consideration when it comes to ballast and running costs on a Superyacht.
So what is a Solid Surface?
A Solid Surface, Jason tells us, is an easy-to-maintain, non-porous, mould, mildew and bacteria-resistant custom cut surface that is ideally suited for marine applications. The trademarked product is thermoformed, resulting in a light-weight, seamless bespoke finish that easily conforms to any shape or size.
Why is the Solid Surface a popular alternative to marble?
The importance of stability and durability of materials used by the in-house design team at ptw Shipyard for any superyacht interior design refit project is never overstated because of the high-salt and humid conditions these high-end luxury vessels endure on a seasonal basis. The highly creative and experienced team knows that only the highest quality material will withstand the test of maritime.
Solid Surface products are UV-stable, which is essential for summer sailing, and can also stand up to the harsh marine environment, thereby offering a more practical and cost effective alternative to marble without compromising on style or concept. In addition, the non-porous, stain-resistant, durable and renewable material is easily cleaned, simply maintained and is a pleasure to use. Any damage, including severe impact, can be quickly repaired and restored to the original integrity of the smooth, hygienic and solid surface.
Are there any restrictions to using Solid Surfaces on a superyacht?
By using detailed CAD-designs, the Solid Surfaces can be easily shaped, carved, and thermoformed into any seamless finish. Even when installed in tight or limited space, this innovative product delivers an elegant and appealing finish, with a sensational look coupled with outstanding functionality. In a Superyacht refit project, where attention to detail is crucial, this renewable material allows a truly bespoke look and facilitates any contemporary interior design creation which is perfect for the luxury yacht market.
Solid surfaces can be used both interior and exterior of superyachts giving an elegant finishing.
Can you choose any design or location for a Solid Surface?
The Tarragona based interior design team knows that Solid Surfaces can deliver any unique, on-trend look and offers their clients a range of shapes and stylish details from simple straight edges to bevel, receding or extra thick edges. The innovative manufacturing solution offers deep, intense and durable colours with proven long wear performance. Each manufactured piece is stunning, open and accepting to any design creativity. Whether you are installing custom-fit countertops or creative dining solutions, Solid Surfaces are perfect for all superyachts work surfaces be they for indoor or outdoor use. Moreover, their striking and translucent colours can also be transformed to create customised feature lighting throughout a yacht. The beauty of the product is its ability to produce a consistent and cohesive palette which would be unachievable using material such as marble, which cannot be thermoformed.
How easy is it to keep the Solid Surfaces clean and hygienic?
Simply wiping the Solid Surfaces with a regular cleaning/sanitising product is the best way to eliminate bacteria and viruses from its surface, and has minimal impact on human health and the environment by limiting the overuse of biocides and disinfectants. Its nonporous surface prevents dirt and stains from penetrating the material while marks and stains stay on the surface and can easily be removed. Seamless integrated worktops, counters, sinks, and coved backsplashes means there are no crevices to trap and grow mould, germs and viruses simplifying cleaning, sanitising and routine maintenance. In addition, as a low-VOC material, Solid Surfaces are free from dangerous chemicals and hence supports better indoor air quality and Green Building certification.
As Jason and his team well know, Superyacht interior refit designs pose a unique challenge that the creative and talented in-house team at ptw Shipyard thrive on. Each project requires a complementary need for functionality and luxury design that is particular to the Superyacht and Megayacht refit market. From experience Jason’s team has established the virtues of Solid Surfaces as a versatile, non-porous, heat resistant, hygienic and seamless blend of crisp, clean lines and cool hues with a pleasing translucent finish, which fits perfectly into the spaces found on board. They are happy to recommend it to their clients as a valid alternative to marble.