Today's WSJ takes a tour of Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko's 394-foot insanely luxe yacht, coined "A".
Designed by none other than the world renown Philippe Starcke, "A" features a fingerprint security system, an all-white, 2,583-square-foot master suite wrapped in bomb-proof glass, three pools (one of which can be switched from salt to fresh water), a crew of 35-37 working staff (all donning Starcke designed uniforms of course), and much, much more.
"With its radical shape—more sleek submarine than boxy pleasure boat—and reams of custom parts and finishes (including bath knobs costing $40,000 apiece), 'A' is a conspicuous marker of an ocean-going plutocracy that's largely been untouched by the recession. The boat, designed by Philippe Starck and completed in mid-2008 for more than $300 million, has spawned a flotilla of copycats emulating its low-slung hull and design scheme. Numerous companies involved in its construction went bankrupt, done in by the novelty of the project and the level of customization required.
For all its fame, 'A' remains a bit mysterious. Its owner, a 38-year-old banking, steel and fertilizer czar, is intensely private and requires all his construction crew and staff to sign strict confidentiality agreements (he declined comment for this article). He and his wife only rarely entertain on board, and few public images of the boat's interior exist..." (Read More)