Design of Jobs’s Yacht Discussed in Philippe Starck Interview

Venus Steve Jobs Yacht StarckSteve Jobs's yacht, Venus (via Yahoo News)

The luxury yacht built for late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs is “the elegance of minimum,” according to its designer, Philippe Starck. In an early November interview with Superyacht Times, Mr. Starck details how Mr. Jobs’s design philosophy directed the creation of the 80 meter yacht, Venus.

Mr. Jobs first approached Mr. Starck with a request for a yacht design in 2007. The design of a luxury yacht is a long and complicated process, and so, during a short first meeting, Mr. Starck told his new client that he would design the yacht “as if it is for [himself],” allowing Mr. Jobs to focus on more pressing matters in his personal and professional lives. Mr. Jobs agreed and, aside from limitations on the length and passenger capacity, Mr. Starck was given nearly complete control over the design of the yacht.

The basic design of the yacht’s exterior was completed quickly, in only two weeks. From there, many years of interior design and tweaking occurred. “We never retouched the project which means that from 2007, to the launch, it is basically still the same,” Mr. Starck said.

Due to the trust that Mr. Jobs placed in Mr. Starck’s skills and tastes, the pair met just once every six weeks for nearly five years until Mr. Jobs’s death, going over the design “millimeter by millimeter, detail by detail.”

Those who have watched Apple’s evolution under Mr. Jobs, and the company’s pursuit of ever simpler designs, will not be surprised to learn that the Apple CEO applied the same standards to the design of his personal yacht. As Mr. Starck recalls:

Venus is exceptional. In the design, there is no reason for aesthetics, no reason for ego, nor for trends. We designed it by philosophy. And we stuck to that absolutely. As I said, the yacht’s design was finished in our first meeting. Then we did the details. We always wanted less and less, which was fabulous. With the design done, it was all about refining it. Re-polishing it. We came back on the same details until they were perfect. We had many calls about parameters, the result is the perfect application of our joined philosophy.

Jobs Yacht Venus BridgeThe bridge of the Venus.

While the public has only seen glimpses of the yacht’s interior, such as the impressive collection of iMacs on the ship’s bridge, Mr. Starck promises that the rest of the yacht mirrors what many would expect of a design inspired by Mr. Jobs:

Inside, we used loose furniture, but left it very open. The owners have to live their own life, so it was mostly done by them. It is the minimum of everything. There is not a single useless item inside…. Not a single useless pillow, or a useless object. In that sense, It is the opposite of other boats. Other boats try to show off more and more. Venus is revolutionary. It is the extreme opposite.

Mr. Jobs did not live to see his yacht sail, passing away about a year before it launched. His family and friends will now get to enjoy his creation but the Apple co-founder did thankfully get to see the final design before his death, rewarding Mr. Starck with “the best gift someone can give a designer:” telling him that the yacht was “better than in all [his] dreams.”