Originally designed by the pioneering yacht designer Tom Fexas and built by the renowned Cheoy Lee Shipyard in China, the Robert Bruce yacht was already a product of collaborative global craftsmanship when it hit the desk of Lucy Marczyk at Nexus Designs. The brief called for a refurbishment of the Saloon/Lounge, Galley and Skydeck areas without losing the distinct heritage of Fexas and Shipyard’s original work, encompassing interior design, furnishings, accessories, fixtures and fittings selection. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Marczyk has taken her lead from Fexas’ old meets new design sensibility, mixing modern materials and iconic furnishings to bring together a new collection of craftsmanship.
DESIGN Nexus Designs PHOTOGRAPHY James Geer
The original design’s global spread of influences was an inspiration rather than an obstacle for Marczyk’s interior design. “Australian design always reflects a synergy of global influences, so this mix was not unique for us” she says. Drawing from both Fexus’s original design and the hand-craftsmanship used in the build of the vessel, Nexus Designs have tactfully mixed core existing elements such as the traditional piano high-gloss timber joinery, gold detailing and mother of pearl inlays with high tech solid surface bench tops and a timber-look high quality vinyl. New floor, wall and ceiling finishes in a neutral palette help lighten what was previously a dark and moody space, while outside on the Skydeck the white and beige tones continue to the upholstery and furnishings, consolidating the easy, timeless sensibility of the design.
This modern refresh is further celebrated through the furniture selection, which unites retro Italian styling elements with a strong emphasis on functionality. “The glassware we selected looks like crystal, but is a new aged non-breakable acrylic by Mario Luca Giusti, and the Dinosaur Designs serving pieces are handmade in resin” says Lucy. “In the sky lounge we used The Masters Chair by Philippe Starck, which are an industrial design piece that I think Tom Fexus would have appreciated.”
Starck isn’t the only notable design name onboard the Robert Bruce, with the shell-like form of Patricia Urquiola’s Husk Chairs perfectly suited for life on the high seas. Marczyk describes them as ‘a mini vessel within the vessel’, pointing out their structure is reminiscent of a boat hull and removable covers (of which there are a set for the dignitaries and a set for the fishermen onboard) cater to the contrasting guests the yacht is expecting aboard. Whoever the visitor, we’re sure the revitalised Robert Bruce will provide plenty to admire in its luxurious yet modern design.
“It was the boat builders and craftsman that I found fascinating, their detailed skill and passion inspired and influenced the design. Examples of this are the custom designed drinks and snacks caddie in the saloon, and the teak pantry roller doors and joinery in the galley which they executed like true artisans. We saluted Italian design in the fine dining accessories, furniture and colours. “
– Lucy Marczyk, Senior Interior Designer for Nexus Designs
Standout contemporary furnishings mixed with a muted neutral palette.