BIG SHADOW and its bold design

The 65-metre yacht support vessel concept BIG SHADOW stands out for its bold design. Innovative new features include a unique helicopter hangar able to accommodate an Airbus H145 without folding the rotor blades – a feature never before seen in the superyacht industry. It is developed by Kirsten Schwalgien Design (KSD) -a multi-award-winning design and architecture studio based in Barcelona. Founded by German designer Kirsten Schwalgien in 2011, the studio specializes in exterior and interior superyacht design, private residential projects, hotels and exclusive commercial spaces.

Collaborating with the Dutch shipyard Damen on behalf of an experienced superyacht client. BIG SHADOW is based on the latest Damen Yacht Support 6511 platform. “The roll-in hangar allows the owner to transport their helicopter with maximum speed, ease and efficiency. It’s a feature which I expect to see more of in the future,” explains Kirsten Schwalgien.

Since the 2010 delivery of the first Damen Yacht Support Vessels, Oberon and Umbra, more than 17 vessels ranging from 45 to 70 metres have hit the water. Gaining popularity among yacht owners every year, Damen has established themselves as the market leaders with their groundbreaking Yacht Support Vessel range.

With a volume of approximately 1,380 GT and a beam of 12.7 metres, BIG SHADOW lives up to the yacht support vessel standard of providing all the space needed for the ultimate ocean adventure. Up to 11 crew are accommodated onboard, as well as a fully-equipped stock of toys and tenders. Regarding her technical performance, BIG SHADOW delivers a top speed of 18 knots and an impressive autonomous range of 5,000 nm at a cruising speed of 14 knots.

Describing the design philosophy behind BIG SHADOW, Schwalgien continues: “The vibrant fluorescent yellow accent colour gives the boat a recognisable presence. Tapered bulwarks elongate the entire design, while the sheer line and the superstructure converge to push the visual weight of the boat aft to achieve a more dynamic shape and sharper lines. BIG SHADOW has her own character, defined by a contemporary, aerodynamic shape, much-improved functionality, and a distinctive design.”


With contemporary lines and maximum functional features, KSD has designed a yacht support vessel that maintains its own identity while complementing the mothership. “Utilitarian, dynamic, and with an edgy silhouette – yacht support vessels are not pretending to be in the same class as a superyacht, but they can certainly hold as stand-out boats in their own right,” Schwalgien states.

BIG SHADOW was developed in collaboration with the owner’s representative, Richard Pearce / Waterproof, who played a significant role in bringing the first Damen support vessels into the yacht market. “What started as just a commercial platform with free deck space has now evolved into an important part of the yacht industry,” says Pearce. “Current shadow vessels have increasingly specific requirements, whether it be for helicopters, extra accommodation or even medical support. Yacht support vessels and the crew they accommodate play an equal part in the owner’s yachting experience. With vessels like BIG SHADOW, it’s clear that the attitude towards shadow yachts is changing, and the design aspects will be more focused on.”

Good Design Award 2020

A new typology of boats needs a new design language – both in terms of exterior and interior design. It is fantastic to see yacht support vessels get the attention they deserve with a Good Design Award for BIG SHADOW.”

For BIG SHADOW, Kirsten Schwalgien Design has been awarded the Good Design Award 2020. Held annually by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, the prestigious Good Design Awards celebrate the best in innovative industrial, product and graphic design.

In addition to BIG SHADOW, KSD has collaborated on various superyacht projects, including the custom-designed tenders of the 100-metre Feadship superyacht MOONRISE and the exterior design of the 115-metre superyacht LUNA. Current projects include the development of a 130-metre motor yacht, as well as the construction of a new 65-metre support yacht at Armon Shipyard. KSD confirms that the project is scheduled for delivery in November 2021.

With a wide range of clients hailing from all corners of the globe, KSD’s portfolio is defined by avant-garde thinking and innovation. Notable projects include customized superyacht tenders for the 100-metre Feadship superyacht Moonrise, the exterior design of the 115-metre superyacht Luna and the high-profile residential project Loft BuresQ in Barcelona.