British Designer Alex McDiarmid based in Aix-en-Provence, France is proud to introduce his latest superyacht Meitou concept. Inspiration is again diverse and of a non-nautical philosophy, resulting in the breath-taking Meitou yacht concept, inspired by Japanese sword design, production, construction, as well as polishing.
Meitou Yacht Concept:
“The sword is the soul of the Samurai”
Tokugawa Ieyasu 1543 – 1616 1st Tokugawa Shogun
Meitou (名刀), literally meaning “Famous Sword” or “Excellent Sword” is not a type of sword but rather the status of a sword. The word Meitou is more of a concept than a specific meaning.
If it is used when speaking about swords it can mean a ‘fine sword’ or a ‘masterpiece’.
In Japan, this means the sword has a history and is of legendary status. The blade is normally a quality blade which stands out above all other swords in its endurance and sharpness.
The Meitou are a rare class of katana, also meaning “Celebrated Sword” or “Named Sword”. Everything a Superyacht should be.
For centuries, the Japanese samurai sword has been hailed as the finest weapon of its type in the world. Its fame derives from two qualities: its efficient functionality as a razor-sharp, durable killing tool, and its terrible beauty as a work of art. Everything a Superyacht should be.
Japanese Sword Making – A Cultural Icon:
The Kamakura period (鎌倉時代 1185–1333) is a period of Japanese history.
The period is known for the emergence of the samurai, the warrior caste, and for the establishment of feudalism in Japan. The Kamakura period is known as the “Golden Age of Sword making” in part for its highly artistic techniques.
The antique samurai sword is Japans most prized and celebrated artefact and is one of the greatest fighting weapons of all time. The Kamakura katana sold at auction for $418k but most are museum pieces, utterly priceless and banned from international export.
Perfectly engineered for close up combat, renowned for its deadly cutting edge, light and perfectly balanced it is technical excellence from the craftsmen of ancient Japan.
It is certainly an object of absolute beauty from both an aesthetic and a scientific point of view.
Lethal, yes, but the samurai sword has served as an object of sacred beauty in Japan for over a thousand years. Sometimes priced at more than $1M, it is highly appreciated by thousands of collectors around the world today.
“The sword-smith was not a mere artisan but an inspired artist and his workshop a sanctuary. Daily, he commenced his craft with prayer and purification, or, as the phrase was, ‘he committed his soul and spirit into the forging and tempering of the steel’.”
Nitobe Inazō 1862 – 1933 Author
Design Thinking: “Designed to Inspire”
The overall side profile and section of such swords are very simple yet very elegant.
A flowing form that lends itself very nicely to the profile and structure of a Superyacht.
If you look at the cross section of such swords you will see the starting point for Meitou superyacht concept.
A ‘V’ in section giving the cross section of a generic vessel. In section Japanese swords have the form of a yachts hull and superstructure.
Observing the construction of such swords we noticed the striking similarities to Superyacht construction with hull, sides, bulwarks and superstructure outlines clearly visible in cross section.
Evident from the outset was the pure craftsmanship of the very highest quality and materials often beautifully polished, engraved and decorated.
Alex McDiarmid made the following connection to Japanese sword design with Superyacht design & construction:
Ha/Cutting Edge = Silhouette
Kissaki/Point = Raked or Reverse Bow
Shinogi/Blade Ridge = Hull
Hamon/Tempered Line/Edge Pattern & Hada/Grain = Elliptical window lines along the upper deck
Shinogi / Blade Ridge, Yakiba / Hardened Edge & Ji / Sword Surface between the Shinogi and Harmon = Superstructure
Sageo/Hanging Chord = The Bridge
Tsuba/Hand Guard = Comms/Radar Mast & Retractable sun awning
Ito/Hilt Wrap & Menuki/Decorative Grip = The Stern
Nakagojiri = Aft
Nagasa = Waterline
These beautifully hand crafted swords mixed and continue to mix the highest standards of craftsmanship to give the user/owner a very personal product, much like owning a Superyacht.
The studio studied various types of sword blades and learnt about the three/3 Katana Sword Sets containing Katana, Wakizashi and Tanto:
- Katana 刀 “sword” interpreted as The Superyacht
- Wakizashi 脇差 “companion sword” interpreted as The Shadow Yacht (shown with Sakabatō, ‘reverse-blade sword’)
- Tantō 短刀 “short blade” interpreted as The Limo Tender Yacht
Each sword has a life of its own, a character that emerges slowly during production.
Each blade, each harmon, each sword is unique. No two are the same. Much like a Superyacht.
Could yacht design and building learn anything from sword making in terms of evolution or revolution?
Time will tell.
N/A – not applicable.
Luxury yacht Meitou is a concept as the name suggests and is solely “Designed to Inspire”.
Meitou superyacht is an explorative study focusing purely on design elements, design language and form and only in the studio’s inimitable style.