Photos By Martin Morrel
Eye to the Soul
Heesen launches a technological powerhouse in a pretty package.
Moored stern-to during boat shows, the transoms of yachts on display line up like books on a bookshelf. But once you’re onboard, the interior design takes center stage and the sweeping lines of a superstructure and carefully limned arch of the windows are literally overshadowed. Which, for Heesen’s 55-meter (180-foot) Quinta Essentia, is truly a shame.
Even hidden by the narrow clearance between the tightly docked megayachts, the exterior of this 55-meter yacht—the first semidisplacement design for Heesen—hints at the interior. Dobroserdov Design accented Quinta Essentia’s traditional megayacht white with a custom Awlgrip shade of merlot red. The color, which matches that of an Italian Montemaggio Merlot, the wine produced by the owners’ vineyard, highlights the exterior lines of Omega naval architect Frank Laupman’s design. This contrast between white and splashes of color continues throughout the interior.
Another feature on display was the 12-by-six-foot swimming pool on the main deck aft. Though it’s in an area that’s rarely used while the yacht is moored stern-to due to its close proximity to the dock, the ten-person pool can be the center of attention. It features a waterfall in which water from 3,000 holes in a stainless steel pipe rains down like a curtain, the thin sheet of water providing a screen either for privacy or to show movies on.
Her name, Quinta Essentia, translates from Latin as the ‘fifth element.’ While the first four elements (earth, wind, fire, and air) may be familiar, the intangible fifth refers to the soul. The interior design echoes this theme: Five colors, each representing a different element, are repeated throughout the yacht. Each of the guest cabins is assigned a color: purple (air) in the twin, red (fire) and brown (earth) in the two queens, blue (water) in the lower-deck VIP that can split into two cabins, and silver (soul) in the master.
Encompassing more than 70 square meters, the full-beam master is the largest aboard any Heesen and would be equally at home aboard a larger vessel. With an open-plan layout, the sleeping area, with its offset bed, and small sitting area flow into each other. Light floods the cabin making the white and silver design sparkle. Full-height, curved-glass doors lead to fold-out, over-water balconies with glass bulwarks, another first for Heesen. These “windows to the soul” were in the design brief the owner presented to Heesen.
The saloon on the main deck features two discrete seating areas. Farther aft, two white sofas feature a bright watercolor bouquet. The only linear furniture in the rectilinear communal area points forward to the second lounge. The royal purple sofa circles a table embedded with lights depicting constellations and faces a flush-mounted TV. Full-height arched glass doors lead to the side decks.
On the bridge deck, windows almost completely encircle the skylounge. Two more full-height windows arch around two white semicircular sofas, which face a TV and an ethanol-fueled fireplace that burns in colors. Nestled in the starboard-side arched window is a white grand piano. In a change from typical megayacht layouts, the round formal dining area sits just aft of the sitting area, encompassed by 180 degrees of opening doors. Directly above the table, a round skylight lets light in from the sundeck.
Up there, besides an open-air table, the majority of space is enclosed and designed for relaxation and self-improvement. There is an aft-facing gym as well as a sauna and massage rooms. The forward area is dedicated to an observation room, which has walls lined with raffia set in resin. Another circular layout features a white curved sofa facing the forward, exterior Jacuzzi.
England-based designer Ken Freivokh drew up the original interior designs, which were stark and modern, but Italian designer Michela Reverberi was later brought in to increase the warmth and color. Throughout the yacht, from the main saloon to the master bath, the walls are covered in a pearl-white lacquer with a depth that took 20 coats to achieve.
One design of Freivokh’s that remains is the atrium. His characteristic futuristic luxury is seen at its most extreme around the elevator. Aboard a megayacht the spaces used to move people between decks can be overlooked. But on Quinta Essentia they’re a work of art. The glass stairs that circle the elevator are freestanding and attached only on the outside. More impressive are the walls, which Bernard Pictet hand-engraved with liquid lead; each square meter took 20 hours to complete.
With such a meticulously planned yacht, the tender had to be special. Custom built by Vaudrey Miller in New Zealand, the 25-footer stows athwartships in the first floodable tender bay Heesen has built. The flush surface that is created between the boat and the dry dock allows the guests to board and disembark more easily and in privacy.
This is Heesen’s first 55-meter and also a fully custom project; the yard typically builds semicustom yachts. Founded by Frans Heesen in 1978, the Dutch shipyard has been expanding its production capabilities in recent years. Additions include climate-controlled production sheds that can accommodate longer yachts. Twelve yachts, including four started on spec, are currently under construction. Its yachts are semicustom only in the broadest sense: The hullforms with that distinctive pelican bow flare are preengineered, which reduces build time, but the interiors are entirely bespoke. But what really sets these yachts apart is their speed.
And these repeat clients chose Heesen specifically for that reason. Their previous Heesen, the 47-meter (154-foot) Celestial Hope, had a top speed of 25 knots to keep up with their racing sailboat TP54 and remain ahead of any regatta. Despite weighing nearly 800 gross tons, Quinta Essentia has a top speed of 24 knots although she reportedly reached 25 knots during sea trials. But this all-aluminum vessel is also efficient with a 4,500 NM range at half those speeds.
From its first floodable tender garage to the unique custom-blended exterior paint, this inaugural 55-meter Heesen shows what custom boatbuilding can achieve. All the high-tech developments and custom design aboard show that, on Quinta Essentia, beauty is more than skin deep. In fact it goes right to the soul.
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This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.