IT'S BEEN LABELLED as “the finest address anywhere in the world,” and a lucky few can live on board and explore the world with top oceanographers. The 289.3-metre-long, 86,000-tonne superyacht, M/Y Njord, is the largest of its kind; it has 118 residences (in 20 configurations), two penthouse apartments and 300 crew members. It also hosts an oceanographic laboratory, dive and expedition centre, restaurants, plus luxuries like a golf simulator, an art and craft studio, a wellness centre backed by Chenot, a whisky lounge and a billiards room.

Flying the Norwegian flag and envisioned by Ocean Residences, this gigantic ship will take its residents to world ports and twice a year sail to destinations as varied as Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Antarctica, Polynesia, and Greenland in curated trips around what residents want to discover. It could be a meteor shower over a country or flora and fauna in another–all done using bio-methanol, a net-zero carbon output fuel, wastewater sanitation, 100% LED lighting and waste heat recapture.

Two-bedroom to six-bedroom apartments cost $8.5-50 million, while the three-storey penthouse costs $100 million. Most apartments have been sold out. Each residence comes with private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, kitchens by Gaggenau, smart technologies, personalised housekeeping and laundry and stunning bespoke designs. The U.K.-based Linley (founded by Viscount David Linley, son of Princess Margaret), one of the world’s best interior designers and architects, is designing some apartments and penthouses along with public spaces like billiards room and whisky room. “When we were designing the apartments, luxury was of course paramount,” says Michael Keech, creative director, Linley, during a Zoom call from London. “But in fabrics that you use, the leather, the wallpaper, it’s very important to be as ecological as possible.”

A Njord property owner (it’s bought on a 50-year lease, as this is the life of the yacht) can always choose his own designers. “The owners of the yacht assume that each designer will create 10-20 apartments,” says Keech. “We at Linley have a lot of experience in yachts. Ours will be safer. We use the right structural and mechanical contractors as we have a relationship with them.”

Linley has proposed two design schemes, one for the penthouse and the other for the three-bedroom apartment, besides the public areas. For the penthouse, they have offered a Modern Art Deco apartment, one that showcases the breadth of their skillset, for living area, kitchen, master suite, winter garden and study on the lower level. “We are taking cues from classic ocean liners of the past like SS Normandie (a French ocean liner built in 1930s),” says Keech. “For the smaller apartment, we have used minimalist, modern, clean lines.”

Keech says Linley can move around and reconfigure whole apartments (except bathrooms and kitchens). “It all depends on how far the client wants to go, it’s like a tailor-made suit,” he says. “If the apartment has two storeys, with elevator, stairs, double-height ceilings, we can suggest options for square footage. There are no barriers to possibility.”

Linley’s interiors. The fabrics use dyes that are gentle on the environment and wool is cruelty-free and ethically produced in farms in the Highlands.
Linley’s interiors. The fabrics use dyes that are gentle on the environment and wool is cruelty-free and ethically produced in farms in the Highlands.

And sustainability is oozing out of every pore. “For timber and veneer, we use fast-growing wood like mango and eucalyptus from Asia,” says Keech. “If we use a rare veneer, we use laser machinery to get the most out of it.” For example, in the penthouse, Linley has cladded the walls with wood veneers and bedroom walls with cashmere for softness, tranquility and deadening sounds. “We use liquid metal, sprayed in a fine, atomised version on hardwood finish, so it appears like metal. It’s perfect for a yacht as it doesn’t have the weight of metal,” he says. Linley will also use stones like travertine, onyx and marble in very thin slabs of not 20 mm but 5 mm, which reduces material used as well as carbon footprint.

“We don’t mass-produce,” says Keech. “We are using a tiny fraction of resources available to us. We have green credentials built over 35 years. Ours are not pieces of furniture that get tossed away.” With materials from all over the world (silks and cashmeres come from India), each Linley piece is made in low carbon footprint workshops and factories all over the U.K., from Scotland to England. “Most of our furniture, jewellery boxes, humidors, are U.K.-made,” he says. “David always wanted to promote British craftsmanship all the while using materials from all over the world.”

The fabrics use dyes that are gentle on the environment and wool is cruelty-free and ethically produced in farms in the Highlands. Keech ensures that the vendors Linley works with produce with the least wastage.

Ultimately, it’s up to the customer. “We can use any furniture, not only Linley,” says Keech. “We can even custom-design a fabric, pattern and lighting with our team of designers. Furniture or interior design is bespoke, that is what we specialise in. If someone comes and says we want it to look like a Baroque castle, we can do a Baroque castle!” And for public areas, Linley has pulled a coup of sorts with a gravity-adjusting billiards table. “The floor in the billiards room moves to keep the table stable,” says Keech. “The ceiling moves so that the lighting stays right on top and does not cast shadows during the game. It’s modern and futuristic.” Keech says he’s unable to reveal more about the design.

The superyacht is being built in Germany. The date of completion is still open-ended, but it will be sometime this year. “There are points where the dates get pushed back but we are set to start developing our residential designs and, hopefully, more public areas,” says Keech. This is one vibrant design company at work.

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