Heatherwick Studio, Estuaire, catamaran, France, Loire, Nantes,, flexibility, organic form

Heatherwick Studio designed unique river boat as part of ‘Estuaire’ – an innovative project that has brought about the construction of major works of art along the banks of the River Loire, in France. The vessel will travel between the city of Nantes and the port town of Saint-Nazaire, reinforcing the connections between these towns and allowing up to 200 passengers to see the artworks from the river. The boat had to be designed for flexibility since it will be available for general hire, as well as organized art trips, and used as a venue for civic functions and meetings. It also seemed important to allow passengers to look in all directions, instead of facing forward as they do on a bus.

The boat takes the form of a catamaran, a shallow-draft boat with two hulls, which is stable and agile and travels comfortably at both high and low speed.

At the studio, they became interested in the idea that the hulls of boats and ships are often beautiful forms but they are hidden from view below the water, while the top part of a boat rarely tells you anything about the form of the hull. Catamarans are normally treated as a pair of skis with something separate placed on top. Instead, designers at Heatherwick Studio wondered if they might make a relationship between the top of a boat and its hull and developed the idea of growing the boat from its hull. It is a single continuous element, a closed loop that forms the boat’s two hulls and crosses over itself to create two storeys of open decks and indoor space.

Heatherwick Studio, Estuaire, catamaran, France, Loire, Nantes,, flexibility, organic form

Heatherwick Studio, Estuaire, catamaran, France, Loire, Nantes,, flexibility, organic form

Heatherwick Studio, Estuaire, catamaran, France, Loire, Nantes,, flexibility, organic form

 

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