A shared vision for the future on water
A major European shipbuilding consortium has teamed up with one of the world’s most acclaimed floating projects companies to form Meyer Floating Solutions. Together, the new Finland-based ‘dream team’ will combine its expertise to focus on designing and manufacturing high quality, luxury floating real estate on a grand scale. Charlotte Niemiec reportsMeyer Group is a leading shipbuilding consortium with three modern, large-scale shipyards in the German cities of Papenburg and Rostock, and the Finnish city of Turku, while Admares Marine is the name behind eye-catching projects including nine floating villas at Marasi Business Bay and the Burj Al Arab Terrace extension – both in Dubai – and the world’s largest floating villa.
Both companies share the vision of a future on water. They expect the floating sector to grow exponentially, as it offers a whole new opportunity to develop high quality property in valuable locations. Moreover, because floating properties have a modular, easily-transportable design, building on the water is swiftly becoming more desirable than building by the water. With their minimal impact on the environment, Admares’ floating projects have proved a viable alternative to reclaiming land. The units are equipped with the latest green technology for power generation, sewage treatment and water production, and are able to operate independently in areas where city infrastructure is not available.
Over the next ten years, Meyer Floating Solutions CEO, Kaj Casén, envisions: “There will be real floating cities and the floating solutions market will be on the same level with shipbuilding. We, as a floating solutions pioneer, naturally want to be there supporting this growing industry to our maximum extent.”
“I’m a naval architect myself and always had the sea close to my heart,” Casén explains. “I spent most of my childhood on a boat with my family and a career in the marine industry was a natural choice for me. After spending the early days of my career in shipbuilding where we also delivered floating staff accommodations for a variety of different industries, we realised that there are tremendous opportunities to create floating products that are also architectural masterpieces for residential, commercial and hospitality purposes. I’m a big believer in this developing industry and want to do my best to allow new sustainable lifestyle opportunities on water for all people.”
A strategic alliance
Meyer Group quickly identified Admares Marine as the market leader in this developing industry. “At the same time, Admares Marine was looking for a strategic partner to strengthen its capabilities and maximise its potential in the market,” Casén reveals. “The new venture combines the strengths of both companies and allows us to compete for the mega projects being built on the water.”
For Meyer Group, the joint venture boosts its core shipbuilding business, which has always focused on manufacturing products offsite in a controlled factory environment – and will continue to do so. Compared to conventional construction work, this allows for shorter delivery times and minimises the impact to the environment.
“The traditional construction industry is a slow adopter of new technologies. With the two companies’ strengths combined, the joint venture accumulates unprecedented expertise in the field of developing and manufacturing floating solutions,” Casén explains.
Meyer Floating Solutions will inherit Admares Marine’s product portfolio and patents, giving the new company a head start on offering market-ready concepts, from standard floating villas and hotels to fully customisable overwater solutions. Admares will continue to offer its full service from design, manufacturing, transport and final installation at the destination.
The company expects to have a busy year ahead with multiple exciting overwater projects in sight. Its plans include a “first of its kind floating eco-resort without any need for land installations.”
“Additionally, we are working with the world’s largest overwater installation that hopefully will be announced later this year. Again, something that the world has not seen before. The enquiries we have on our table are mind-blowing,” Casén says.
Meyer Group has built cruise ships for international shipping companies at its production and construction docks for several decades, including more than 50 luxury liners. The group recently set a goal to develop a climate-neutral cruise ship concept by 2025 and to achieve carbon neutral shipbuilding by 2030. The newly formed Meyer Floating Solutions will also follow this path and has defined sustainability as one of its core values.
“Floating real estate solutions offer great potential in going into fully energy neutral solutions, where electricity is generated by solar panels and heat pumps use water to ensure both heating during winter and cooling during summer,” Casén affirms.
The entire lifecycle of the products is designed to minimise their environmental impact. Overwater buildings are designed with sustainable materials and manufactured in controlled manufacturing facilities, which the company says can reduce waste by over 70% and provide significant cost benefits.
Admares’ turnkey project at Marasi Business Bay included nine state-of-the-art floating water homes. Admares manufactured these unique architectural structures in its purpose-built facilities in Rauma, Finland, before transporting them to Dubai and finally towing them to Marasi Business Bay (see Marina World, January/February 2018, p25).
They are each equipped with the latest technology and are the United Arab Emirates’ first water homes with both pedestrian and boat access. Located at the heart of the marina taking shape at Marasi Business Bay, they are set to become the development’s main architectural trait. From the start of the project, Admares and Dubai Properties established a close collaboration that enabled the milestone achievement more than a month ahead of time. The finished products combine centuries of shipbuilding heritage with cutting-edge design and are set to transform waterfront living in the emirate.
Another major project is the world’s largest floating villa, which can be moved anywhere on water. It generates its own power, has its own waste treatment facilities and draws on green energy with minimum disturbance to the environment. It can also be moored permanently to a waterfront location, where it functions like a conventional building with normal access via road and walkways, with regular connections to land-based power and utilities.
The villa’s most spacious and luxurious rooms are the three Owner’s Suites, which enjoy stunning sea views as well as expansive outdoor terraces with sun loungers and waterfront Jacuzzis. Featuring wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceilings windows throughout, the modern architecture allows uninterrupted panoramic sea views – with the unique floating building featuring 6,000m² (64,583ft²) of floor space over three floors, with a separate service basement and technical area.
The company also delivered a terrace expansion to Dubai’s iconic luxury hotel, the Burj Al Arab. The building sits on an island of reclaimed land 280m (918ft) offshore. Opening to guests in May 2016, the 10,000m² (107,639ft²) terrace extension offers far-reaching views across the Arabian Gulf, while a second level provides 5,000m² (53,819ft²) of high-specification retail space, VIP areas, locker rooms, shower and other facilities, as well as technical spaces.