The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Not just long in size, the Atabeyki/Blohm + Voss M-147 project is also long on innovation.

By George L. Petrie — February 2004


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• Part 1: Atabeyki
• Part 2: Atabeyki
• Part 3: Atabeyki

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In its press releases, the German shipyard Blohm + Voss uses the cryptic designation M-147 when referring to a project that may one day become the world’s largest megayacht. But around the yard and throughout the yachting community worldwide, she is more frequently referred to simply as the Atabeyki Project; and rightfully so, because her design concepts are the brainchild of the renowned Paris-based designer Hermidas Atabeyki.

If built to her current design of 147 meters (more than 482 feet) LOA, M-147 could rightfully claim to be the world’s biggest privately owned yacht. But to portray the project simply on the basis of size would be a gross injustice, for the real story behind M-147 is not her dimensions; it’s the visionary design concepts she has been endowed with that may become the next big thing.

The story begins with Atabeyki, an industrial designer who earned his degree from the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, then returned to France, where he worked as a designer for Renault for six years. After opening his own studio in Paris, he did projects for several major European car companies, including Lamborghini. Then about five years ago, Atabeyki expanded into other areas, everything from tram systems for mass transit in several European cities to a line of sunglasses for Vuarnet.

About the same time he began focusing on megayachts and came to the realization that virtually all existing designs embody the same concept of space allocation. Almost universally, yachts have their living spaces clustered in a center core, encircled by walkways. Interior flow patterns are invariably fore and aft, i.e., from the galley, through the dining area, through the saloon, and out onto the aft deck. Along the side decks, guests must pass outboard of those same spaces. Whether inside or out, guests and crew inevitably traipse through or past someone else’s space.

Atabeyki was convinced that there was a better way. Though entertaining and socializing are important elements of yachting, he believes it is equally crucial that the owners and guests have a variety of spaces where each can enjoy a measure of privacy. Atabeyki’s vision was to design a yacht that offered several thematically different spatial elements instead of long continuous decks—in other words, replace the fore and aft flow with a series of spaces oriented vertically and laterally.

Next page > Part 2: Shimmering sunlight filtering through the pool will illuminate the entry foyer four decks below. > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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