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ArtExplorer Is the World’s Largest Catamaran, Has Very Noble Purpose
Most millionaires commission superyachts for a variety of reasons, the urge to show off and indulge presumably among them. French entrepreneur Frédéric Jousset is doing for an entirely different reason.

ArtExplorer Is the World’s Largest Catamaran, Has Very Noble Purpose

ArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museumArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museumArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museumArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museumArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museumArtExplorer cat concept: part luxury superyacht, part floating museum
Frédéric Jousset’s name might not ring familiar to many, but he is a well-regarded and respected figure both in his line of work and in the art sector. Coming from a family with deep roots within the Parisian art scene, he pivoted towards the arts from an early age, even though, professionally, he made his fortune as the chairman and co-founder of Webhelp.

In 2023, Jousset will become the owner of the world’s largest catamaran, which he calls ArtExplorer, a project that will combine the luxury and amenities of a regular superyacht with a very noble – and a tad surprising – purpose. When it launches, ArtExplorer will also become the first vessel of its kind in the world, a floating museum that will travel from port to port, helping Jousset accomplish what he considers one of his life’s missions: democratizing the arts.

For the time being, ArtExplorer lives as a concept, as rendered by designers Axel de Beaufort and Oki Sato. As Jousset tells Boat International in an interview in late 2020, a shipyard for the vessel is yet to be named. But he is determined to bring this project to reality, to invest heavily into it, and, in the process, ensure that everyone within a short distance of a coastline has access to the art it will carry.

For a project this ambitious, details of ArtExplorer are scarce. The final design was made public in the summer of 2020, after a public contest. Jousset says his first superyacht charter, built for what should have been his honeymoon but turned into a birthday party after getting cold feet and calling the wedding off, made him realize how much he loved sailing. His love of the arts goes farther back, to his early years – and was most notably evidenced in his surprising and highly mediated decision to donate €1 million ($1.2 million) to the Louvre when he first attained millionaire status in his mid-30s.

“I was looking at the stars and thinking how much I loved sailing, and then I started to think about how much I loved culture and what I could contribute,” he says. “I could add another museum, but it’s nothing new. Private foundations have been done, but I thought that no one has thought of the sea, of using a boat as a platform.”

ArtExplorer is half superyacht half museum, in the body of a 46-meter (151-foot) catamaran that will be as elegant as it will be luxurious. As a museum and docked, it will accommodate up to 2,000 guests every day, and its reach will be expanded through the use of a digital platform and local communities.

“A quayside festival will accompany each of its stops,” reads the official description of this boat unlike any other. “Also featuring digital technology, it will welcome all kinds of visitors in a fun atmosphere and will, above all, give a prominent place to all local partners: communities, associations, cultural institutions.”

ArtExplorer will be part of a much larger initiative, Art Explora, which will include the digital platform, a network of partners and volunteers, and other mobile museums on land. Because you can’t hope to travel the world and make art accessible to almost everyone without thinking of the impact this would have on the environment, the cat will also be sustainable. A “sailing boat,” the description says. Jousset says he chose a catamaran because they’re known for their stability, speed, and maximized space.

When not in use as a museum or center for immersive cultural experiences, ArtExplorer will be used both for charter and as a private superyacht for Jousset’s own pleasure. He wants to use it himself, to travel and entertain friends, for one month a year, reserving another month for maintenance work, and two more for use as charter. The rest of the year, it will function as a museum.

The cat will be built “to the highest superyacht standards,” but its purpose will be to establish, within 20 years, what Jousset likes to think of as the “equivalent of Greenpeace for art and culture,” the Art Explora platform.

A better look and more details on this highly ambitious project should come at the La Biennale di Venezia in 2023 when it’s scheduled to make its debut.

 
 
 
 
 

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