Adventures ahead: inside Van der Valk’s 34m explorer Lady Lene
Following her launch at the Van der Valk shipyard in Waalwijk, the Netherlands, in October, the industry's attention has homed in on the latest explorer superyacht to emerge from the seasoned Dutch builder: the 34-metre Lady Lene.
Even a cursory glance at Lady Lene reveals that this all-aluminium tri-deck superyacht has been built for top performance. Equipped with a fast-displacement round bilge hull, a wave-piercing bow and a Hull Vane transom wing, Lady Lene can reach top speed of 18 knots and cruises comfortably at 14 knots, with her power provided by twin MAN 1650hp engines.
With exploration a key part of the vessel's identity, her eye-catching and rugged exterior design comes from the drawing boards of Guido de Groot, with naval architecture by the Dutch duo Ginton Naval Architects and Diana Yacht Design.
However, it is with the interiors where this yacht's story really starts. Here, we speak to Carla Guilhem, founder of her eponymous six-person strong interior architecture and design firm (which was recently responsible for penning the interiors of the breathtaking Zaha Hadid-designed 'One Thousand Museum' residential skyscraper in Miami) who collaborated with Guido de Groot on Lady Lene's inner spaces in her first-ever significant yachting interior design project.
What was the owner's brief?
The owners were looking for a yacht that really felt like a home. They did not want that high-chrome, Las Vegas-style look with strong wood which you find on some yachts.
Because I had worked with them before on residential projects, the family knew that I could deliver what they were looking for, as I was coming from a completely different area and so had a totally different approach. The owners speak Portuguese, and do I, meaning that we could easily communicate throughout the project.
Describe the concept behind the interior design.
You can see a lot of round corners in Lady Lene's exterior design. This was the starting point of my inspiration for the interior design because these round corners reminded me of 'Art Deco' curves.
The revival of this 1920s/1930s style was our main concept for the design, and we eliminated all of the real angles that we saw on the yacht. In this way, I also think it is much more comfortable for those on board because you don't have any corners or sharp edges, which also means that the yacht is wheelchair friendly.
What were the key materials you used?
This concept came with associated materials such as the fluted wood, which they used a lot in the 1920s and 1930s. We tried to use a lot of very natural oak, and everything was from the same pallete.
We used a stone called silk georgette: it is a marble from China, which is not beige or grey, but has a warmer, but still light, tone. It is not an ultra gloss white, but offers something warm, comfortable and not too modern.
This was because we didn't want the style of the yacht to be in any way aggressive: we wanted it to feel cosy. Our main materials were oak, this special marble, a lot of leather and suede, and some metal touches which were not gold but a champagne colour that helped to integrate everything.
Describe the interior in three words
Calm, timeless and welcoming.
What element of the design are you most proud of?
First, the sensation of the colours. Secondly, that everything blends together so well. As a design, it is very fluid and flows well when you walk around. I am proud of the circulation on board: it doesn't feel like you are passing from one room to another when you move around in the space.