The notable Southern writer Pat Conroy once said that “A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.” Setting the perfect table on a superyacht is like setting the scene for a great dining story.
“Dinners are defined as the ultimate act of communion; men that can have communion in nothing else, can sympathetically eat together, can still rise into some glow of brotherhood over food and wine.” – Thomas Carlyle
Designing the perfect table-scape for any meal on a superyacht depends on multiple elements. For instance, is it breakfast, lunch, dinner? Are you gathering everyone for cocktails or afternoon tea? Is this a formal or informal meal? Serving family or friends? Are you celebrating a special occasion?
The perfect tablescape is truly an art. It is also an opportunity to extend the interior aesthetic onto the dinner table, to manifest one’s personality and flair for the dramatic and/or to simply dress a table with the backdrop of the luminous sea as the main focal point.
Whatever one’s tastes and skills, here are some simple guidelines to follow for designing the superyacht table – from the simplest of meals to the most fanciful soirees:
“The key to a good meal is simplicity and the right seasoning.” Buddy Valastro
The yacht’s interiors, yacht owner’s design sensibility, as well as the season and occasion are the most helpful criteria when it comes to choosing a design direction for the superyacht table-scape. For the fall season, perhaps choosing the set of china with golden and reddish hues lay the basis for the table. Playing upon the underwater motif can lend just the right magic to the evening, and of course flowers and creative centerpieces can set the design direction. Whatever way you choose, start with one main focal point and then build out the essentials below. Now ready, set….GO!
Tablecloths and napkins lay the foundation for a dramatic or simple tabletop. Linen can be dressed up or down, and it is one of the most durable, elegant, and luxurious fabrics – especially linens lightly dusted and woven with lustrous metallic flecks. Playing upon the nautical theme, layering using natural materials like seagrass, bamboo, abalone shell, and rattan, are also great alternatives to the more traditional fabrics. Depending on the table (perhaps for some themes or occasions the table is already decorative enough and placemats or runners can replace full linens) the right tablecloth and napkins are the first step in creating just the right ambience.
Tableware, Glassware, and Silverware
Tableware and glassware can range from traditional to contemporary, whimsical to serious, however, no table is complete unless the right components are there: a charger plate, dinner plate, side plate, bowl, butter plate, and dessert plate.
Have fun with it! Glasses can be mixed and matched, along with decorative and utilitarian glass pieces like decanters, water pitchers, and vases.
Finally, brilliant silverware along with accessories of ice buckets, breadbaskets, serving bowls, wine chillers, and platters provide additional opportunity to decorate the superyacht tablescape.
Now here’s where the real fun happens. Fresh floral displays, candelabras, ice sculptures, maritime themed decorative objects like shells and coral – at just the right height, depth, and scale, as well as just the right level of drama or subtlety – is the piece de resistance to creating an alluring table and unforgettable experience.
When choosing candles and soft lighting, using very low tea lights or very tall candlesticks so that guests can see each other across the table is key. If it’s dining on deck or outside, make sure to use hurricane lamps.
“When we sit at the table, there is more going on than satisfying hunger. It is sad to think of those who eat simply to satisfy their hunger and who do not permit themselves to linger under the many spells offered by a good meal – the satisfaction of our hearts, our minds and our spirits.” Leo Buscaglia
Sitting down for a meal is more than just satisfying hunger. It’s about enticing and igniting the senses, while satiating them in every way possible through the quintessential sensory experience. Setting the table is only one part of the equation. Creating a moving experience through table design? That’s where the real story begins!