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Into the Woods


August 26, 2020
By Patrick Knowles

“To dwellers in a wood, almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.”

—THOMAS HARDY

Ribbon Cut Mahogany in a boxed-pattern sketch face.

Writer Thomas Hardy had it correct, every species of tree has its voice, and every species of wood has characteristics unlike any other – from their texture and grain to its fibers and color. So much so, that even if you take a pair of boards from two of the same species tree, they will not look exactly alike.

I find that to be such a beautiful design challenge.

Wood is a phenomenally versatile build material one of the most intricate and dynamic materials utilized in yacht design.

Sketch of Stateroom in a Superyacht

A contrasting combination of Redwood Burl and Large Flake Lacewood.

When most people think of wood on a yacht, they immediately think of the teak deck, perhaps a lime washed oak or a polished mahogany, a deep maple or a contrasting bamboo. But why stop there? Rosewood, burl, ebony, kingwood and more can be used to layer tones and textures and form patterns and contrasts from the natural colors and grains.

Rendering of a Stateroom in a Superyacht.

Stunning juxtaposition using Macassar Ebony and Anigre wood.

Rendering of a Stateroom in a Superyacht.

A close-up of the combination of Macassar Ebony and Anigre wood.

Finding charm in the “imperfections”, the wood’s natural knots and grains, often leads to design inspiration as well!

Techniques for smoothing, painting, staining, texturizing or shining wood give a designer the versatility to form wood into numerous representations. It is a unique thrill to see a yacht owner realize that one species of wood can be transformed into a multitude of design aspects in one room.

Rendering of a Stateroom in a Superyacht.

A trio of wood species, Honduras Mahogany, Madrone Burl and Macassar Ebony are orchestrated in complex millwork detailing.

What paint and wallpaper lack in warmth and grandeur, wood achieves as a stand alone design aspect – a work of art in itself. It can feel beachy and casual or dramatic and ornate, and everything in between. The designer has full reign to run wild with wood as a bold neutral.
Rendering of a Stateroom in a Superyacht.

A trio of wood species, Honduras Mahogany, Madrone Burl and Macassar Ebony are orchestrated in complex millwork detailing.

This is no longer the wood design used in your grandparent’s yacht design, covered in lacquer at every turn. This is transformed and transformative, textured and raw, smooth and chic, contemporary and sleek. A gift from nature shaped into a lavish feature fit for any modern sea faring vessel.