(CNN) — They've never not been in style, but superyachts are having a a bit of a moment.
Demand has been steadily growing over the years, with the global fleet jumping from 3,906 crafts in 2009 to 5,646 in 2019, according to the Superyacht Group.
Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a spike in purchases, with superyacht marketing company Northrop & Johnson seeing sales for July 2020 reaching double that of the previous year.
The rising popularity of these large and rather magnificent vessels ultimately means that yacht designers are having to up the ante while coming up with new and imaginative concepts to ensure that their projects stand out from the rest.
"The days of all big yachts looking the same are long gone," Stewart Campbell, editor of Boat International, told CNN Travel last year.
"Owners are really pulling out all the styling stops and challenging shipyards and designers to come up with boats that are truly unique. "
A number of new and innovative superyacht concepts have been unveiled over the last few years, including a vessel that transforms into a submarine, a game changing Trimonoran design and a yacht designed to look like a huge swan.
Here are 10 of the most exciting yacht concepts that could be taking to the waters in the not too distant future...
A rendering of Avanguardia, a new megayacht concept from the Lazzarini Design Studio that looks like a swan.
Lazzarini Design Studio
Italian designer Pierpaolo Lazzarini of Lazzarini Design Studio has been behind some of the team's most innovative designs, but Avanguardia is arguably his most daring yet.
Translating to "vanguard" in English, the megayacht concept forms the shape of a gigantic swan thanks to its detachable "head," which works as a control tower.
Due to an extendable crane/bridge positioned in the bow, the "head" can be lowered down to the center of the vessel while it's at sea.
In fact, Avanguardia's length will increase by around 20 meters, taking its total length to 157 meters, when it's brought down.
If that wasn't impressive enough, the control tower can also be removed from the vessel and used as a completely separate boat.
The rest of the yacht is divided into five main decks, with the rear deck comprising a personal port for two jet capsules.
The yacht concept also has two onboard helicopters and two helicopter hangars.
As for speed, its twin fully electric side engines and central MTU Rolls-Royce jet engine, will allow it to achieve a maximum estimated cruising speed of about 18 knots, according to the design studio.
While Avanguardia is currently just a "stylistic exercise," the Lazzarini Design Studio are hoping to find a buyer to put up the $500,000,000 required to build it.
Project 175 is arguably one of the most eye-catching new concepts due to its neon uplights.
Dixon Yacht Design
It's described as a "statement yacht," and this new concept from Dixon Yacht Design is certain to make a splash if newly released renderings are anything to go by.
Measuring 54.92 meters, the low-profile flybridge design, currently known as Project 175, has an advanced hybrid propulsion system.
But its most eye-catching feature is undoubtedly its neon uplights, which showcase its sleek form when the sun goes down, while giving off the vibe of a floating nightclub.
The designers say they've tried to simplify the sail set up as much as possible by selecting "tried and tested" control systems with "proven in-service reliability."
This includes a ketch rig plan that provides a "flexible and manageable distribution" of the sail area and a lifting keel that reduces the draft from 23 feet to 15.5 feet.
Inside, Project 175 is fitted with a glazed saloon, a formal dining area, five guest cabins and a jacuzzi.
Anders Berg, the naval architect behind the concept, tells CNN Travel that the concept has generated an "encouraging response," from the industry, but there are still many important details that need to be worked out.
"The process to develop a new concept project requires us resolve many of the technical and ascetic disciplines at an early stage," he explains."
"It's not just a pretty picture; there is considerable amount of accurate design input, from developing the hull and appendages (keel/rudder), to space planning the interior within the structural confines and resolving the sail plan and sail handling systems."
Berg stresses that due to the complexities of the project, it may take between 24 and 30 months to build "depending upon the shipyard capacity," once all of the finer details are resolved.
This gamechanging yacht concept features a Trimonoran hull, which is a blend of a monohull and a trimaran hull.
This impressive concept is said to be the first of its kind to feature a Trimonoran hull -- a blend of a monohull and a trimaran hull.
It was dreamed up by designer Baran Akalın and G. Jelle Bilkert from Dutch firm Anwigema, who had been working on the Trimonoran for over 20 years.
The Trimonoran is powered by a hydraulic propulsion system and consists of three slim hulls, thus providing Escalade with 30% more space than a similar vessel, according to Akalın, along with more stability and less water resistance.
"The hull provides top speed and stability with less power/energy because of the hull shape and hydrofoils under the body," says Akalın.
"Her body also allows [for] smoother sailing than standard hulls. The hull cuts the waves very politely."
The yacht's opulent interior was devised by British designer Celia Sawyer.
While this concept had not been picked up by a shipyard at the time of writing, it's drawn a lot of interest from potential buyers and Akalın and Anwigema are currently working on a detailed production project to determine the pricing for the vessel.
The duo are confident they'll find a client for Escalade once the vessel has been through the appropriate testing, and estimate it will take around 12 to 15 months to bring it to life.
Gresham Yacht Design's new concept Thor Explore has been designed "from the inside out."
Gresham Yacht Design
This concept is designed "from the inside out," which is a rather unusual practice when it comes to yacht designing.
UK-based studio Gresham Yacht Design have gone all out with the Thor Explore's interior, incorporating large nautilus windows along with a floor to ceiling aquarium.
But the glass floor, which turns opaque at the "flick of a switch" when guests require privacy in the main saloon, is arguably its most impressive feature.
The 100-meter exploration vessel also has a sunken seating area, an onboard beach club and a fully certified helideck.
While a build cost for the vessel hasn't been calculated, the team at Gresham Yacht Design confirm that Thor Explore is in the advanced stages of the design process.
If it were to be picked up by a shipyard and built from scratch, construction could be completed in somewhere between three to four years "depending on the finish desired."
A rendering of AQUA, an eco-friendly yacht concept that runs entirely on liquid hydrogen and fuel-cell technology.
Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design 2019
A collaboration between Dutch yacht-design company Sinot and Lateral Naval Architect, AQUA runs entirely on liquid hydrogen and fuel-cell technology, which means its only emission is water.
Measuring 112 meters, the eco-friendly concept is designed to operate at a top speed of 17 knots, with a range of 3,750 nautical miles.
Aqua's technology system is dependent on two 28-ton vacuum isolated tanks stored at temperatures as low as -253 C (-423 F).
The liquified hydrogen is transformed into electrical energy by proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
"For development of Aqua we took inspiration from the lifestyle of a discerning, forward-looking owner, the fluid versatility of water and cutting-edge technology, to combine this in a 112-meter superyacht with truly innovative features," designer Sander Sinot said in a statement back in 2019.
"Our challenge was to implement fully operational liquid hydrogen and fuel cells in a true superyacht that is not only groundbreaking in technology, but also in design and aesthetics."
While there has been immense interest in the AQUA concept, the team at Sinot confirm to CNN Travel that it remains available and has not been built.
The Carapace concept can operate on both the surface of the sea and underwater.
Courtesy Elena Nappi
This impressive hybrid vessel can move on the surface of the sea and underwater.
Italian-based naval architect Elena Nappi, who devised the concept after years of nautical experimentation research, says she wanted to combine the relaxation provided by luxury yachts and the "privacy" of immersion navigation to represent a "new class of mega yachts."
"The world of luxury submarines is one of the last frontiers in the field of experimentation, and perhaps the hybrid will be the language of the future," Nappi said in a statement last year.
"Very often yacht owners are looking for original solutions to be able to offer their friends and their family something special, and certainly that of a diving cruise of this type is something unprecedented in the super yacht market."
Carapace, which measures 78 meters is powered by a diesel-electric and fuel cell system and holds three deck levels, with amenities such as VIP cabins, a bar and health club.
While Nappi is keen to see this design become a reality, she stresses that it will be a long while before the vessel is brought to life, even if it's picked up by a buyer.
"If we make a comparison with the automotive sector, it is not hard to understand that the road to this type of boat is still very far away," she adds.
"The first electric car was built in 1884 and is only on the market today, so it is impossible to think that a harness like this could be put on the market before 100 years."
A rendering of HIDE, a new concept by yacht designer Anna Borla that's fitted with huge reflective glass panels.
Courtesy Anna Borla
The thing that makes this innovative yacht concept stand out from the rest is the fact that it's actually designed to camouflage into its surroundings.
Yacht designer Anna Borla has equipped the 49.9 meter (164 foot) vessel with large reflective glass panels that mirror every backdrop it encounters, offering privacy to guests, as well as "giving importance" to the natural surroundings.
In addition to its clever exterior, the superyacht, which can accommodate up to eight people, has an impressive top deck with a pool and a removable canopy.
Borla also hopes to add photovoltaic solar panels to the roof of the wheelhouse to facilitate a hybrid propulsion system and has chosen furniture made from recycled textiles.
She [HIDE] is a perfect combination of luxury, relaxation and performance, with an eye on sustainability," Borla told CNN Travel earlier this year.
According to the designer, the vessel will operate at a cruising speed of around 14 knots and a maximum speed of 18 knots.
If HIDE were to be picked up by a buyer, Borla believes the vessel would take around two years to construct.
Officina Armare unveiled this battleship-style megayacht concept in 2019.
Courtesy Officina Armare
Milan-based design firm Officina Armare recently unveiled a new megayacht concept that draws inspiration from both naval ships and spacecrafts.
Dubbed Project Centauro, the 110-meter (360-foot) vessel is powered by two MTU engines paired with steerable water jets and has an estimated cruising speed of 18 knots.
With room for 14 guests, the vessel also holds an entertainment area, as well as an indoor pool, observation lounge and a large beach club that connects to the main deck via a staircase.
According to the team at Officina Armare, Project Centauro would take around two years to build should it be picked up.
Codecasa Jet 2020
Italian shipyard Codecasa are due to begin building this 230-foot superyacht concept at some point this year.
Courtesy Cantieri Navali Codecasa
Italian shipyard Codecasa are in the process of constructing a 70-meter (230-foot) superyacht concept that looks like a floating jumbo jet.
Designer Fulvio Codecasa incorporated many of the features attributed with aircraft while devising the Codecasa Jet 2020 in order to set "a unique example" and potentially bring about "a new trend in the industry."
The enormous vessel is fitted with airplane-style rounded windows, as well as a bow designed to mimic the nose of an aircraft.
There's also a forward section that bears a strong resemblance to a cockpit.
Codecasa's other features include a huge sundeck, a swimming pool, a sky lounge and a beach club that has its own elevator.
The vessel is also set to come with radar antennae installed inside carbon fiber domes "in the typical style of the AWACS airplanes," according to Codecasa.
The shipyard were due to begin building Codecasa this year, but it appears that the Covid-19 pandemic may have put this on hold.
Once it's delivered, Codecasa aims for the vessel to become its flagship.
The designers of Ice Kite have incorporated kite sailing into the yacht to improve its fuel efficency.
Red Yacht Design
A collaboration between Red Yacht Design and Dykstra Naval Architects, this eco-friendly superyacht concept can be pulled along by a 1,700-square-foot kite.
While combining kite sailing, where possible, with a low resistance hull made of aluminum and carbon fiber and two diesel engines, Ice Kite can achieve far greater fuel efficiency, and it also looks pretty spectacular.
Unlike the other concepts, Ice Kite has been specifically designed for a client -- an unnamed German entrepreneur.
Red Yacht Design say the owner put in a commission for a yacht that would feel integral to the sea.
The design is largely made up of glass, in order to provide some of its enclosed spaces with more natural light.
Ice Kite will be fitted with a helipad, a pool, a 12-person dining area and a hot tub.
The yacht, which offers a 17.4 knot maximum speed, also comes with a 26-meter support vessel to carry any extra equipment the owner needs.
Although Ice Kite is still in the design phase, Red Yacht Design say the owner has received an offer from a Dutch shipyard to build both the yacht and its support vessel.