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ALEJANDRA evokes the style of the 1930's when J-Class Yachts still dominated
the international yachting scene.


Welcome to the website of Bruce King Design Associates, LLC.
Please use the links at left to navigate around the site. We hope you will enjoy your visit.

Bruce King and his design team have been designing some of the world's most noteworthy yachts since 1964.
Our credo is simple. W
hether 15 or 150 feet, we believe that to be successful, a yacht must be beautiful: a work of high art as well as high technology. A joy forever, a lovely vessel inspires deep feelings of pleasure, affirmation, and affection. She commands the loyalty and esteem that lead successive generations of owners to maintain and renew her perpetually, conferring a touch of immortality on her original patron, with whom she will be forever associated. In yachts, surely, grace is the primary virtue.



Bruce King

The appeal or enjoyment, as well as value, of pleasure boats comes primarily from two sources: first, the pleasures gained from the act of sailing and its independent life; second, the visual aesthetic pleasures of a yacht's appearance. There are many stylistic approaches, but design aesthetics generally take place at three levels.

The first, or fundamental, level is the establishment of of the basic proportions, combined with sizing and arranging the visual masses of the primary design elements. The visual masses are usually driven by utility requirements, as well as basic principles of design. If a design fails at this fundamental level - if it has bad proportions or if the visual masses lack balance - the highest level of aesthetic evolution will never be attained. Further development will be limited by damage control, visual diversionary tactics, or generally attempting to make the most of an unfortunate situation. Sadly, designers are frequently required to operate at this level.

Once the visual masses have been established, the second level of aesthetic design is to wrap them in curves and surfaces. One of the reasons boats can be such appealing objects is that their shapes are derived primarily from curved lines, giving them perhaps a greater connection with natural forms than most other man-made objects. When arranging the curves and surfaces of a design, I believe that lines must flow with direction and purpose. Spirals, cyma curves and conic sections impart motion and excitement, while circles, arcs, and straight lines do not. Parallel and flat sections generally lack interest. Twisting, winding and reverse curves create drama. Finding the right balance between drama and restraint is perhaps one of the most difficult issues facing the designer. There should be a balance between curved and straight, rounded and defined, feminine and masculine.

The third level of aesthetic design relates to intangibles. It is at this level that designer individuality is most apparent and a designer has the most power to elicit a strong emotional response from the viewer. The visual elements that make up a yacht design interact in concert: the total is always greater than the sum of its parts. It is this intangible essence of totality that determines the third level aesthetic value of design. Make one seemingly small change on a truly harmonious design, and frequently any artistic summits will vanish. The dimensional differences between good design and bad can be very small indeed. Many times they are no more than fractions of an inch. Often design errors are so subtle that many people are not consciously aware of them, but on an intuitive level one knows that something is amiss.

When working with buyers who desire a technically modern functioning yacht, but one whose styling reflects an earlier age, additional aesthetic issues must be addressed. Traditional yachts were usually built of wood. Certainly the joinery was wood - a vanishing art developed over time to minimize the dimensional instability of wood in conditions of varying temperature and humidity. Translating a traditional design to a modern yacht requires awareness of traditional joinery methods and an understanding of the technical reasons behind these methods.

We have always believed, where yachts are concerned, that technology and utility are only part of the story. To fulfill both the utility and technology requirements, and to do so in a manner encompassing as much visual satisfaction as possible, must be the goal of a skilled designer. Technology is fleeting; it is constantly changing. Aesthetic beauty is timeless, and it alone provides the motivation for preservation. It is hoped that as present technology gives way to the new, we will continue to be able to impart to our designs an appeal, both tangible and intangible, that will allow them to endure.


Copyright © 2006 Bruce King Design Associates, LLC: All Rights Reserved
Bruce King Design
Associates, LLC
171 Mills Road, Newcastle, ME 04553, USA
Email: bkda@tidewater.net