From Kamenické Šenov to the ocean. Czech glassmakers create light installations for the superyachts of billionaires

Published: 18.01.2024 Related countries:  Finland Finland , Denmark Denmark , Sweden Sweden , Norway Norway

Although the Czech Republic does not have a sea, local craftsmen can still handle the production of lighting for luxury yachts. Palaces on the water are decorated with luxurious Czech chandeliers.

The Czech glass company Preciosa, based in Kamenické Šenov, is known primarily for its innovative light installations, which it uses to brighten up the spaces of luxury hotels, restaurants, airports, as well as private buildings. Since 2013, he has been focusing on an area that is not entirely typical for the Czech Republic – lighting objects for luxury yachts. Despite the fact that our homeland can be proud of only modest lakes and ponds, the company managed to build a strong reputation during the decade, thanks to which it currently realizes installations of gigantic dimensions for billionaire superyachts and luxury cruise ships. In 2013, in Preciosa, North Bohemia, they decided to veer off the beaten track of Czech glassmaking and stepped into unknown waters - literally.

They started developing the Maritime program here, which is focused on designing and implementing light installations of all sizes and lighting for luxury yachts. "Despite the fact that the Czech Republic does not have access to the sea, we decided to expand the portfolio in this direction because we wanted to target an exclusive international clientele and we perceived that luxury yachts and overseas ships can represent a very attractive market," says the head of the Maritime program Michal Dvořák. And the clientele is really diverse and the richest. In the past, Preciosa produced, for example, a light object for the Eclipse yacht of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, as well as for the ninth largest yacht in the world known as the Norwegian Bliss, for the 180-meter-long yacht Azzam, which was owned by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Ál Nahyan, for yacht Kenshō of German billionaire Udo Mueller and for several ships in the Disney fleet.

Thanks to this, today the Maritime program makes up a significant part of the company's turnover. Of the approximately one hundred billion, this is eight to ten percent. Dvořák describes private yachts as palaces at sea. And just as all important palaces boast huge crystal chandeliers weighing several tons, such a superyacht also needs a light object that will completely disarm newcomers. However, the technical solution of such an object entails a lot of specifics due to its location on the ship. It must meet all the requirements and standards for stability in the event of overloading in rough seas and must be resistant to possible vibrations from the ship's engine so that it does not ring disturbingly during the voyage. "That's why we collaborate on projects not only with interior designers, but also with the architects of the given ship, the shipyard itself and other people who participate in the realization of the interiors.

Right at Preciosa, we combine traditional glass craftsmanship with the latest technologies. In recent years, we have introduced interactive and kinetic elements into our designs, which make individual light installations truly unique," adds Dvořák. The Preciosa team then tests the marine environment in its own Innovation Lab research and development center, where it can test the effect of salty air or waves on lighting installations and individual components. At the same time, the Maritime program also managed to incorporate the concept of artistic sintered boards, for their production recycled glass from the factory is used. And how long does it take for one such installation to be created at the client's request? For most projects, it takes one to two years, but in rare cases, implementation can take up to five years. At the same time, some objects are really large - recently, for example, in Kamenické Šenov, they worked on the creation of two eight-meter glass sculptures.

Each of them weighed around 2,375 kilograms and consisted of more than 2,700 glass components. "This is a project that was inspired by the changing ocean level. The unique combination of glass and light thus creates a wonderful visual experience. We developed the object in cooperation with the owner of a premium design studio and the owner of the yacht himself," explains Dvořák. It is precisely with renowned design studios that focus exclusively on the interiors of luxury yachts and overseas ships that Preciosa cooperates most often.

Their largest concentration is in Great Britain and Italy. The largest private yachts are built in Germany, Holland and Italy. "This year we completed a unique glass sculpture on a yacht for a Czech client, but we cannot mention more details," concludes Dvořák.  

Team of CzechTrade Scandinavia