Respecting the Mission while Realizing the Dream
An interview with Bas Mulder and Marc van der Werf
Like Frank Mulder, Bas has little interest in futuristic avant-garde or experimental design concepts. The concepts he presents are always feasible. “If a client comes in to discuss one of our concepts, there is no question that it can be built,” says Project Manager Marc van der Werf.
Q: How do you start a project?
BM: If the boat is for a specific client, we begin with a brief for a full understanding of the mission. We listen as much as possible. Some know exactly what they want and some don’t. Our job is to realize their vision and also give them a surprise. By that, I mean to deliver on all their points and then create something new for them and that will look fresh in three years when the yacht may actually be delivered. The hull lines have to come first then we bring in the superstructure. As a studio, we had been leaning toward organic shapes in the 1990s and by that, I mean softer shapes. But with some of our latest concepts, we are looking at different styles and round, vertical or square shapes. It’s still soft but with a few hard edges.
MW: We design a bit minimal and try to make timeless rather than trendy lines.
BM: The bare essentials should be attractive. Balances are important to me. Get that right and the styling lines go on top. Because we are naval architects, the question from Day One is how will it perform.
Q: Speaking of smaller boats, you have been working on interesting dayboats and tenders as well as small cruisers. Talk about that.
BM: We are designing production boats as small as six metres. We work with so many yards and we learn a lot from that by observing their production methods. Production details are important; we need to think about how it gets built. We learn solutions that help the builder make a better boat. Small production boats can have a big developmental budget and it is practical to develop details that really work. We are working on six- and ten-metre electric boats now and a RIB in Holland.
MW: Sometimes we have more projects on than people… Besides the production boats, in 2024 we have underway a 90-metre event boat with an extreme beam, a 50-metre triple water jet yacht in Turkey, a 30-metre, and two major refit projects.