What are the most popular materials used in the naval industry to accommodate the most demanding shipowner?

The naval industry is a universe that affects multiple disciplines: from the systems engineering study of complicated structures, to the most sophisticated design capable of enhancing the value of the entire vessel, from all perspectives. In this context, therefore, functionality and styling, technology and beauty merge together to give rise to incredible masterpieces of marine art. In all cases, whether styling or practical, the layout of the settings (interior and exterior), the needs to which a yacht is subjected, requires particular attention in the choice of materials used.

Choosing the material in the naval industry is undoubtedly one of the first actions which the engineer or architect carries out before even beginning the project design. It is a known fact that the basic requirement that every material needs to meet is corrosion resistance, like stainless steel for instance, which is extremely versatile in the naval industry. In addition to using stainless steel, there are several innovative materials capable of fully accommodating the requirements set by the construction of yachts, mega yachts and pleasure craft.

So what are the finest materials to furnish the guest area and the crew area of a prize vessel such as a yacht? There are multiple factors to assess. This article contains an overview of the most popular materials used inside and outside the boat. You’ll also find out some curious facts about home automation, a sector that is particularly dear to shipowners today.

Nautical materials: what are the best ones for the exterior of the boat?

All nautical materials have to guarantee outstanding performance and comply with safety parameters, be resistant to the environment and certified by Ri.na, the Italian naval registry. For this reason, the vessel undergoes period inspections for technical checks concerning mainly:

  • Materials used
  • Technical aspects (plumbing and electrical)

As far as materials are concerned, the most popular in the nautical sector for external use, we can mention two different types that actually complement one another. Indeed, the coolness of steel is combined with the warm shades of wood, giving rise to a sophisticated game of clear contrasts. Specifically, we mean:

  • AISI 316 stainless steel
  • Marine plywood

AISI 316 stainless steel

AISI 316 stainless steel is an austenitic steel alloy comprising a percentage of chromium (between 16% and 18%), nickel (between 11% and 14%) and molybdenum (between 2% and 3%). This particular characteristic makes AISI 316 stainless steel perfectly suited to exposure in aggressive environments such as: marine areas, cities with high pollution levels and spaces rich in chlorine. On the exterior of vessels, polished 316 stainless steel is mainly used for the construction of parapets, handrails, technical accessories such as bitts, low, sturdy bollards in which the mooring cables are wound. Polished AISI 316 stainless steel can also be used for the entire external living area (tables and chairs) as well as for the sofa structure. In addition, stainless steel in the architecture sector has several advantages, such as:

  • Superior structural characteristics
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Little maintenance required over time
  • Excellent compatibility with other elements (welding, bonding, mechanical joining)
  • Possibility of obtaining multiple surface finishes

Marine plywood

Marine plywood is a special type of hard, light-weight plywood with extraordinary durability. This particular wood is extremely resistant to humidity and to the presence of salts and chlorine. Certainly, marine plywood is one of the finest materials, and its characteristics make it suitable for outfitting furniture and components for the nautical industry. To be considered “marine”, a plywood needs to have specific characteristics. Natural durability and superior resistance to fungal rot are for instance indispensable properties to classify plywood as marine. The most popular types for the production of marine plywood are:

  • Okoumé
  • Teak

Teak marine plywood stands out for its exceptional performance in terms of durability. This material is built with an internal structure in Okoumé and a face in Teak. Marine plywood ensures the specificity of its utilisation in the nautical industry, its bonding and construction with layers of Okoumé make it ideal for external environments with a high degree of humidity, also saline. In the nautical sector, teak marine plywood is used extensively to produce upholstery, furnishings and upper decks. This material is extraordinary either smooth or with slats, to insert the foaming within it to ensure flexibility for the vessel.

Naval industry materials: the differences between the guest area and the crew area

Like the above-mentioned materials, those used in the interiors also have to be certified by the manufacturer via RI.na. All furnishings must under all circumstances be:

  • Disassemblable
  • Accessible

This will facilitate inspection and not create too much inconvenience inside the vessel. In general, if you are designing the interior of a yacht, the entire outfit will undoubtedly have to be protected by soundproofing and fireproof panels, to comply with the parameters required by the certification and ensure safety inside the living space.

The most sought-after and popular materials used in the guest area

The various requirements of shipowners are increasingly more articulate, which is why architects, designers and engineers need to have the ability to stay constantly up-to-date, accommodating the need for extreme customisation in terms of furnishings and accessories.

Have you already discovered the Abimis kitchens for Yachts, the designer kitchens tailored to the customer’s specific needs and requirements?

The famous and so eagerly sought-after custom made, interpreted as a genuine social status symbol, capable of conveying the strong personality of the “wearer”, releasing emotions and intense states of mind. This philosophy can be touched up close in incredible boat interiors distinguished by ultimate luxury, made of:

  • The finest hard-wearing materials (marble, wood, AISI 316 stainless steel)
  • Sophisticated finishes
  • Creative decorations

The bathroom and the kitchen worktop are made with the finest lightened marbles, AISI 316 stainless steel is implemented for the perimeter skirting boards and for the vertical structural elements. As regards the flooring, this can be made of parquet floorboards or fitted carpet. The walls are in wood finish (ebony, oak) or marble, decorated in bronze or lacquered with the most particular shades of colour available. Not to mention the most sophisticated painting techniques on the walls:

  • Matt
  • Glossy
  • Metallic
  • In gold, silver or aluminium leaf

The silk-screen printed glass, frosted, or backlit, plays an important role, because it makes it possible to divide the settings suitably without weighing down the environment. Speaking of space, it is very difficult for there to be a totally smooth wall inside a yacht, as every centimetre can be used to obtain a recess to insert some electronic device or other: built-in latest-generation TV sets, ceiling-recessed loudspeakers, etc..

The most popular materials used in the crew area

While the finest top-quality materials are used in the main area, things change when it comes to the crew area. While parquet floorboards or fitted carpets are preferred for the guest area, in this case fake parquet flooring and PVC or linoleum is used. The walls of the crew area are not painted, but simply made of formica or laminate. In particular, in the kitchen area these are made of AISI 316 stainless steel to ensure maximum hygiene for food. Lastly, marble and its characteristic vein patterns is replaced by Corian in both the kitchen and the bathroom. Despite the fact that both settings have completely different usage methods, AISI 316 stainless steel is not only the material that can be found in every part of the yacht, but it is also the one that is the most frequently used.

Are you an architect or an interior designer planning spaces inside splendid vessels? Browse through the Abimis kitchens for yachts with a stainless steel core!

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