Here’s a project that VPLP holds dear: the Atelier des Tropiques. It all started more than two decades ago when French sailor and painter Titouan Lamazou first mooted the concept of an ocean-going artist’s studio. ADT, its current codename, has been through multiple mutations, being the Navire Orientaliste in the 1990s, a motor catamaran designed by Jean Nouvel from plans by VPLP in the noughties, and a 44-metre schooner in 2010. “But we’re still faithful to the initial idea,” insists Titouan Lamazou. Today, the plan is for a 28 m catamaran which has a 13 m beam and carries a wingsail of 240 square metres. Systems for harnessing renewable resources, including more than 600 square metres of solar panels, will provide for all her energy needs.
So she’s basically a floating residence for artists which can put on exhibitions and travel far and wide. “For us, it’s all about driving forward a concept that we hold dear,” explains Marc Van Peterghem, who has been following the project since the beginning. “It has allowed us to push the envelope in the floating-home- that-moves genre. She’s a seagoing boat with simple aesthetics.” Inspiration for the design comes from the traditional Polynesian pirogue, craft which featured a house supported by two hulls. In the case of the ADT, however, the house is a 100-square- metre studio with three cabins for the artists and bunks for the crew. “Much of the interior will be lifted from the Lagoon SEVENTY 7 series manufactured by our partner Beneteau,” adds the painter and winner of the first Vendée Globe back in 1990.
When it comes to propulsion, the ADT is essentially a hybrid design. The automatic wingsail integrates seamlessly with the diesel-electric engine to make the most out of the wind and waves. “This ship is a glimpse into the future of sailing,” says Titouan Lamazou. “Not only is she a creative tool, she represents a new and environmentally friendly approach to living on the sea.” Construction of the Atelier des Tropiques is scheduled to start in the autumn.