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From left: Fredrik Johansson; the Owner’s Suite aboard The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.

From Hotels to the High Seas


Fredrik Johansson of Tillberg Design of Sweden hits a high-water mark with the eye-catching look of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which makes its maiden voyage in February 2020.

What is it about designing yachts that captures your imagination?

I believe that, just like a sports car, a private yacht is something of a childhood dream. It’s the feeling of freedom to go where you want in the world at your own pace.

What is the design direction for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection?

We wanted it to look very much like a private yacht on the horizon, and to present itself with a real head-turning Maserati effect. The guiding star for the interiors has been to create a spacious, modern and refined ambience with a very strong and consistent identity. All the furniture is custom designed, and the detailing is all about discretion, precision and crisp, sophisticated elegance.

How did you recreate the feeling of a Ritz-Carlton property in the yacht’s design?

It was of course important to create a visual link with some of the stylish Ritz-Carlton properties in the world. We loved the crisp and contemporary look of The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, Miami Beach and L.A., and we have drawn inspiration from them.

Yachts have lavishly designed suites and restaurants. How do these spaces differ from a traditional hotel or restaurant?

Most yachts have this very exclusive — but still very informal — casual elegance, paired with a great sense of privacy. The lifestyle onboard is also very relaxed. There’s no check-in or check-out, no dining at certain times. When designing for a yacht, everything has to cater to a very personalized experience.

How do you create a sense of intimacy on a yacht?

We’ve made sure to keep distances short, and there will be plenty of little escapes and private corners of the yacht. If you want to socialize, there will of course be areas to do that, but the privacy aspect has been very important.


Explore the Suites

What aspect of the yacht’s design are you proudest of?

I actually think it’s the entirety of it all — the fact that we managed to optimize the exterior design in such harmony with the interiors. If I had to choose one area onboard, it would probably be the Observation Lounge. The crisp interior décor — and the way the panoramic wrap-around glass walls can fold back and turn the indoors into outdoors — is going to make it a stunning place to be in.

Your firm is nearly 55 years old. How do you stay an industry leader for so long?

Very few can do what we can do. Our daily work is to manage very complex projects from start to finish and to combine fresh creativity and innovation with a deep understanding of our clients’ needs. If you pair this with extensive know-how within the technical, regulatory and maintenance aspects, and also make sure to deliver punctually throughout the process, you have a winning formula! Nevertheless, we are working hard to constantly improve ourselves.

How do you explain the enduring popularity of Scandinavian design?

Many Scandinavian designers have a passion to design beautiful things that also work really well. I think it’s somewhat inherent in the Nordic lifestyle that the best designs are well-proportioned and well-finished, but also very economical, practical and in harmony with nature. This philosophy probably has an impact even when we design an ultra-luxurious private residence — or a yacht.

What is your guiding principle as a designer?

Whenever we create something beautiful, we have to remember that in the end we are designing for real people — for someone who may be on the dream journey of their life.

Reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are now open for the 2020 inaugural season. Visit to plan your next yacht journey today.


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