With their exceptional design and often unique style, special surfaces have become an indispensable feature of the interior of luxury yachts. Developing and creating such surfaces requires expertise, innovative spirit and superior craftsmanship.
Light, proportions, comfort… it takes strong creative instinct to come up with the interior design for a yacht or a villa. Even the smallest of components have to blend seamlessly into the whole – not a single minute detail can be overlooked. Yet it is the overall composition that creates the desired ambience, one of the most important parts of which is the surface of the premium furnishings. Surfaces give the design a personality and determine the atmosphere in the room, turning luxury into something that the yacht owner can really see and feel.

A passion for innovation

The dusty pink, opalescent mother-of-pearl finish that lends an exclusive dressing table a certain softness and elegance. Fragments of eggshell in the surface of a bedside table, treated and polished to a brilliant shine, or an element for the luxury spa area with a pattern that looks deceptively like real precious marble – the Specialists at List GC spend weeks working on ideas for the creation of the very finest surfaces.

Yvonne Wieser, graduate master school of painting, is one of them. She applies paint by hand calmly and carefully – dabbing, stippling, brushing, smoothing – with attention to detail and a passion for perfection. Ultimately, this is the only way to succeed in creating surfaces capable of replacing real marble, for instance – something which is not an inconsequential task on a yacht, where the total weight is equally as important as how something looks. The same applies to parts that are curved, for example, where the properties of marble would make it impossible to fashion the material into the desired shape.

“In many cases we’re simply given the designer’s ideas as a sketch on a piece of paper,” says Yvonne Wieser about her work. “And then we try to fulfil their exact requirements, sometimes despite a detailed brief.” Good ideas and a pragmatic approach are essential here, as are ambition, perseverance and internal liaison with the project managers and engineers. “Once we’ve cleared the first hurdle – i.e. the pattern on the sample surface looks like the designer wants it to – we set about reproducing the surface in real life. This requires the utmost concentration and perfectionism. After all, our customers are expecting a perfect and uniform overall result.”

Yvonne Wieser, graduate master school of painting at List GC: “Creating special surfaces requires the utmost concentration.“

Yvonne Wieser, graduate master school of painting at List GC: “Creating special surfaces requires the utmost concentration.“

Perfection means placing the most exacting demands on quality

The exquisite materials found on board luxury yachts may sometimes be subjected to harsh conditions at sea. Weather, temperature and the salty sea air can all have an effect on quality. Even indoors it may happen that air conditioning, shading and open doors or windows can lead to fluctuating temperatures. This is why the very latest technology is employed to keep perfect surfaces perfect and identify flaws at an early stage. List GC subjects new materials and complex surface treatments to ageing tests and stress tests before using them.

They are placed in a dynamic climate chamber, which simulates various temperatures and humidity. Can the sample withstand temperature fluctuations? How does the material react to fluctuating humidity? The effects of long-term exposure to solar radiation or extreme temperatures are examined using a suntester. This quickly shows whether surfaces could fade, turn yellow or become porous. Other tests, such as salt spray (or salt fog) tests, are also run in collaboration with external testing institutes.

In-house R&D for a competitive edge

It’s not uncommon for List GC to be commissioned to make special surfaces as part of its high-end interior design projects. When this happens, the company often employs specialist companies to help turn the special design ideas that make a luxury yacht so unique into reality. Since opening its own production facility in 2017, however, List GC has been gradually developing its own expertise in special surfaces too. List GC now partially produces a number of special surfaces in-house at its premises in Bad Erlach.

This all came about because of a yacht project with very specific requirements, where, in order to meet the high safety and fire prevention standards of the PYC on board a new luxury yacht, the Specialists at List GC had to be inventive and challenge themselves.

Thomas Bauer, graduate master school of painting at List GC: “We have an in-depth understanding of the working methods, processes and technical requirements that the yacht sector demands.“

Thomas Bauer, graduate master school of painting at List GC: “We have an in-depth understanding of the working methods, processes and technical requirements that the yacht sector demands.“

“We are familiar with the challenges the yacht sector presents, as well as the working methods, processes and technical requirements it demands. And we are also aware of yacht owners’ high expectations”, explains Thomas Bauer, also a graduate of master school of painting. “We therefore decided to produce the special surfaces we needed ourselves. We fine-tuned the initial samples with the designer to their complete satisfaction. Following an intense development and prototyping phase and by working closely with the project team, we were able to create exactly what the designer had imagined and wanted. We’re proud to say that the hard work all the Specialists involved in the project put in paid off. Now we make the special finishes for furniture, ceiling panels and dome profiles ourselves in-house.”

Following the positive results in this project, List GC plans on broadening it´s expertise in the field of special surfaces in the future. This gives List GC greater flexibility and autonomy in the production process while making the process more cost-effective too – something which in turn offers customers real added value.