Project Utopia breaks the naval architectural mould


September 21, 2011

Project Utopia floating island

Project Utopia floating island

Image Gallery (11 images)

The concept of a floating island is not new, having first surfaced in Homer's Odyssey and making countless appearances in literature from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, C. S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy Perelandra, Hugh Lofting's The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922) and the first artificially-constructed floating island makes an appearance in an 1895 novel by the father of science fiction, Frenchman Jules Verne.

Illustration from the Illustrated Jules Verne

Verne's L'Île à hélice (Propeller Island) might not have enjoyed as much popularity as some of his other works such as Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - published in 1870), De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865), Voyage au centre de la Terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth - 1864), and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days - 1873), but like most of the inventions he once constructed in his vivid imagination, it either has already or looks set to "come to pass".

Since Verne's first imaginings 120 years ago, activity has been quite on the man-made island front, with the first sign of new thought emerging four years ago in the form of WallyIsland from Italian yacht builders Wally.

Even more recently, a bespoke floating island manufacturer has emerged in the form of Yacht Island designs, which has so far given us The Streets of Monte Carlo, a 500 ft yacht that looks to "reflect the style and sophistication of the principality" and includes a fully functional go kart circuit that recreates the famous Monaco Grand Prix circuit along with other Monaco landmarks, and more recently, Tropical Island Paradise, a 295 ft (90 m) island with a top speed of 15 knots and its own waterfall and volcano.

Yacht Island designs looks set to be the primary producer of man-made floating islands, with services that range from concept creation through to the above-mentioned proprietary designs, plus several others awaiting release - Oriental Chuan which will be a modern interpretation of a massive Chinese Junk, and Eastern Promise, and Arabian-themed superyacht.

Everything prior to now though, has a yacht as its basis, with a design theme superimposed on a traditional naval architecture.

That's where the company's latest concept, Project Utopia, is so very different. Project Utopia has more in common with an oil rig than it does with a yacht, and in the word's of the consultancy, "breaks the traditional naval architectural mould which the market has come to expect and offers a truly unique outlook free from any conventional design constraints."

Designed in conjunction with BMT Nigel Gee, Yacht Island Design's Project Utopia measures some 330 ft (100 m) in length and breadth, spans 11 decks and has the equivalent floorspace of a present-day cruise liner - indeed, and I'm sure this will be a draw-card to any aspiring wealthy megalomaniacs, there is enough space to create an entire micro-nation.

First and foremost, the island's design is stable, being based on a four legged platform and designed for minimum motion in the most extreme sea conditions. Each leg supports a fully azimuthing thruster and with four such units, the design can redeploy between desired locations at slow speed.

BMT Nigel Gee describes the Utopia as "not an object to travel in, it is a place to be", perhaps indicating that you'd be best off having minions relocate the yacht before jetting in and doing the last stint via helicopter.

A large central structure bisects the water surface acting as the conduit for the mooring system, as well as housing a wet dock for access by tenders. In addition to tender access, the design features four helicopter pads.

The amount of space on board Utopia could be used in many ways - it is currently envisioned as a mix retail districts, theaters, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and a casino, but it could be refashioned for almost any purpose, and relocated anywhere of your choosing.

There's also an observatory deck 213 ft (65 m) above sea level with 360 degree views.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

the ultimate technology would be a city air ship. The clipper ship that Verne invented is coming soon. Edgar Cayce talked about massive air vehicles.

Stewart Mitchell

I worry about her stability in a storm.


Am I really the only one expecting to see Kurt Juergens and Sean Connery in a battle evil mastermind versus secret agent on the deck of this thing? My memory of the movie may be deceiving me, but I distinctly remember a simillar construction in that movie (though it was submersible...).


Titanic #2 8)))

Kirill Belousov

They do know that \"Utopia\" means \"no place\"? A bad omen....

Jason Holman

this thing should be equipped to provide it\'s own power with a wind and subsurface water current turbine creating electricity. then it could be a micro nation pirate server uploading pirated data via satellite.

it could also provide private blackwater style mercenary naval security for anyone within a hundred mile radius sending a distress call. send the high speed umanned drones out from the ship to stop any aggression on the seas.

lastly, it would make a fine astronomical observatory as it is far from light pollution.

----so many possibilities!.

Facebook User

Gizmag-- you forgot to include the \'Lilypad floating city concept\' which you also featured at one time, and which I think is the most appealing of these \'floating cities\'--all of which btw, I seriously doubt will ever see the light of day IMHO.


That design is unstable, but it could be the most modern \'unsinkable\' ship in the world. One rogue wave and it\'s gone.


Interesting but, I certainly wouldn\'t want to be anywhere below deck 7, I\'d be traveling under water.... at about 1-2 knots.... I might as well learn to walk on water, I\'d be faster.

Thoughtfully or Thoughtless?

More pie in the sky - vapor construction.

Mr Stiffy

Skipjack, you\'re thinking of \"The Spy Who Loved Me,\" which starred Roger Moore, not Sean Connery.


@Jeddy Mctedder: If you buy one you can specify whatever power source you like.

William Lanteigne

This is nothing but a cheaper version of the venus project. Which is in fact a better and more logical idea.


Great pictures. Thank you for psoting!

Ben Huynh-Realtor

I don't see how the five columns can displace enough water to keep it so high in the water.

The proposed mix of uses seems like it is is intended to be a floating resort of sorts.

If it can be a floating city, it can house the refugees from Kiribati, Maldives and other sunken island nations when the sea level rises.

Gabriel Goh

cost to build?

Mark Babcock

Call Me No, Doctor No.

Dave B13
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles