The Who’s Who of Hot Yacht Designers
Looking for a creative mind to design your new-build project? There is a dizzying array of designers ready to realize your dream superyacht, each with his own approach and style. We took a look at some of the most exciting superyacht designers and the concepts fresh from the drafting tables to offer you some inspiration.
The Patriarch – Andrew Winch Designs
After founding his company with his wife Jane in 1986, Andrew Winch has become one of the most prolific superyacht designers in the world. Some 75 superyachts, both sailing and motor, have been built from the designs that emerged from his Thames-side London studio. His mantelpiece has collected 30 industry awards for his designs’ outstanding qualities. Over the years, his devoted clients increasingly requested Winch’s designs to extend beyond their superyachts into private homes and jets, which he calls “penthouses in the sky.”
More than 50 in-house designers work at Andrew Winch Designs, making it one of the largest in the business. As creative director, Winch comments: “Our portfolio illustrates our design team’s diversity, unlimited talent and fervor for design.” Winch has worked for some of the most-high-profile clients imaginable — although he remains resolutely tight-lipped on the subject. From motor yacht behemoths like the 133-meter M/Y AL MIRQAB to the sleek, vibrant 33-meter S/Y INOUI and intricately detailed classic ketch S/Y SHEHEREZADE, Andrew Winch can adapt his style to any owner’s tastes. Some of Winch’s recent high-profile projects include Lürssen’s 90-meter M/Y PHOENIX 2; the 91.5-meter Oceanco M/Y EQUANIMITY; and Feadship’s 99-meter M/Y MADAME GU and 62-meter M/Y SEA OWL. Size doesn’t always matter in Winch’s book; his custom tender designs with Hodgdon Yachts for SEA OWL earned a Boat International Media World Superyacht Award last year.
Winch’s novel 80-meter tandem concept collaboration with pedigreed Dutch yacht builder Royal Huisman last year garnered serious attention. Based on the same design philosophy and low, sleek lines to bring guests closer to the water, the DART 80 can either be built as a motor yacht, a sailing yacht, or — for the owner who just can’t decide — both. Winch’s current projects include an 81-meter motor yacht with Turquoise Yachts, slated for completion in 2018; a 74-meter CRN new build and the interior of the largest Amels project to date: the 83-meter semi-custom LIMITED EDITIONS 272, both due to hit the water next year. There also are a brace of Lürssens, the 74-meter PROJECT THOR and 112-meter PROJECT PALO ALTO, under construction from Winch’s interior and exterior drawing boards. Why choose an Andrew Winch design for your next project? Aside from his serious yacht design acumen, working with Winch means you can adopt him into your every living and traveling space to create a seamless approach to your surroundings. And the familiarity that a designer can gain from working with you on multiple projects is priceless.
The Multitaskers – Hydro Tec
As superyachts become more technologically complex and structurally challenging, beauty in design originates as much from engineering as aesthetics. And this is where Hydro Tec steps in. Occupying the rare niche of “creative naval architecture,” husband-and-wife founders Sergio Cutolo and Silvia Himsolt and their team blend practical, technical savvy with a holistic creative design approach. Starting out in 1995, Hydro Tec evolved from only engineering into a full-service design, naval architecture and engineering company.
The broad skillset of the Hydro Tec team means it can offer customers a complete yacht design package, from the hull shape to onboard engineering to exterior fixtures and systems design. One of Hydro Tec’s most outstanding and rewarding projects, says Cutolo, was the 50-meter M/Y AIFOS, for which the company was hired directly by the owner to carry out the naval architecture and engineering. The engineers and designers worked tirelessly to achieve the remarkable feat of keeping the 50-meter superyacht less than 500GT without losing guest space or the ability to reach speeds of 24 knots. Although Hydro Tec can adapt to the requests of any owner, the current explorer yacht trend has graced the drawing board in recent years, featuring robust and adventurous projects. The recently completed 33-meter Darwin M/Y STORM, the first of its series and Hydro Tec’s fifth launch this year, is setting out for distant horizons with a satisfied owner who brought significant experience and demanding quality standards to the project.
Currently under construction with Mondomarine, Hydro Tec is working for a longstanding client to build a second, larger superyacht, due for completion in 2017. The M40, a 40-meter custom explorer, will feature a number of exciting, innovative elements based on the client’s feedback and past experiences, from the location and capacity of the wine cellar through to the custom-designed tender with lines that resemble the mothership. Those with a spirit of adventure accompanied by a taste for comfort and luxury could find inspiration in the next collaboration between Mondomarine and Hydro Tec in the M57 EXPLORER. This 57-meter concept is the current flagship design for the explorer series, preserving the elegant lines of more diminutive launches from the Italian builder, but with the added stability and dominating presence of a more robust platform for up to 12 guests. Unlike many explorer yachts, the exterior space maintains the feel of a sporty superyacht with three pool and Jacuzzi areas and a beach club, an observation deck and optional helipad. Yet the technical capabilities of the M57 will open up a world of exploration for any owner with an insatiable wanderlust.
The Purist – ER Yacht Design
Ivan Erdevicki’s design career started 35 years ago at the age of 10, when he would fill his schoolbooks with drawings of yachts and boats inspired by cruising vessels near his coastal hometown in what is now Montenegro. And so his own career followed suit, taking the would-be naval architect and designer first to study at California’s UCLA and then to Maine, the home of boatbuilding in the United States, at the Westlaw Institute of Marine Technology. Setting up ER Yacht Design in Vancouver, Canada, 15 years ago, he has since branched out across the Atlantic to London, offering the full suite of interior and exterior design, naval architecture and engineering.
The company’s designs currently span six to 120 meters for clients as far flung as China, Mexico, the U.S., Canada and Europe. Recent work includes the restyling of a 38-meter explorer trawler-type yacht and collaboration with Jaguar on a six-meter composite-hull tender. ER Yacht Design is currently remodeling and upgrading a 60-meter ice-class expedition yacht and designing a 25-meter aluminum power catamaran. Erdevicki distills his complex and multi-disciplinary design philosophy into a few simple words: “In pursuit of perfection,” which he achieves through a unique feeling of balance and harmony of form. The focal point of his designs is light, and the ability to “follow its natural form and direct its intensity and movement,” which is not usually seen in the design of something tangible and dynamic like a yacht, he adds. This thoughtful, almost-abstract design approach is offset by the naval architecture background that ensures Erdevicki’s work remains grounded in practicality.
A purist at heart, Erdevicki continues to create his first sketches with pencil on paper, commenting, “The most beautiful and valuable things are created by hand. Technology is all well and good as an aid, but there is no technology that can substitute for human creativity.” ER Yacht Design’s latest concept, to be built at German shipyard Nobiskrug, ADAMANTINE is an 86-meter six-deck concept that mixes naval-style strength with the elegance and refinements of a superyacht. Its angled, interlocking tinted windows give the impression of sparkling, faceted diamonds, while its profile is powerful from every angle, producing an effect that is masculine, but not overly aggressive.
The Speedmasters – Roberto Curtò Design
Founded in 2004, Roberto Curtò Design is an Italian full-service design, naval architecture and engineering company that has created more than 60 yachts and RIBs in the last decade. Curtò says the central philosophy for the company is simple: “listen, think, do.”
The studio’s approach ensures each vessel’s design is harmonious. It develops the interior layout in conjunction with the exterior styling, then combines the engineering requirements. The team has worked for some of Europe’s most renowned marine, naval and design studios to offer a unique mixture of skillsets and expertise. Roberto Curtò Design’s recently launched Dipiù 900SS — a striking 9.6-meter tender that reaches speeds of up to 50 knots. The fully carbon-fiber boat was recently nominated for the Barca Dell’Anno 2016 award.
Roberto Curtò Design’s roots lie in the realms of yachting and boating; it has released a concept for a 49.2-meter motor yacht, the MY50, which promises to reach speeds of up to 28 knots and boasts a masculine, modern profile. The exterior of the MY50 is all about soaking up the surroundings with minimal obstructions to its panoramic views and plenty of space for lounging in the sun on the beach club with a bar at water level. It accommodates up to 10 guests and features a full-beam owner’s cabin with superb views to the bow, Jacuzzi and sauna.
The Crossover Creative – Guido de Groot Design
Guido de Groot’s path to becoming a superyacht designer was not a typical one. The Dutchman first realized his childhood dream of becoming a car designer for Citroën after studying transportation design. It was not until 1986, around the age of 20, when he came across the build project for the fourth M/Y HIGHLANDER at the Feadship de Vries yard, that he started drawing yachts. Eleven years later, in 1997, de Groot set up his own yacht design company in Leiden, Holland. He has not, however, lost the influences of his formative years as an auto designer; many car design references can be found in his often-sporty custom and semi-custom superyachts.
Since establishing the company, de Groot’s team has grown to eight, many of whom share an automobile-industry background. This team designs the interiors and exteriors of yachts built by some of the leading shipyards around the world. Early adopters of computer-aided programs for design, the de Groot team has a versatile portfolio, ranging from traditional to futuristic. Past notable projects include more than 30 collaborations with Mulder shipyard; Feadship’s 48.2-meter M/Y CAROLINA; the 36-meter sloop S/Y GITANA, built by Perini Navi; a number of superyachts with AB Yachts, including 41.6-meter M/Y MARIA PIA; the 37-meter Horizon M/Y ESPRESSO; and several recent projects with Van Der Valk. “I see the trend in clients’ requests moving towards spending time closer to the water, with folding-out balconies and terraces,” says de Groot, whose recent concepts have been exploring new shapes and hull forms, though some have more classic lines. The hybrid-propulsion system of the Intec Marine 90 (28-meter) and 140 (43-meter) models boast low emissions and a much quieter experience for guests.
Guido de Groot may have started his career in cars, but he has more than earned his stripes as a member of the superyacht design elite throughout the last 18 years.
The Rising Star – Christopher Seymour Designs
Christopher Seymour cut his teeth at the historical boat builder Norman R. Wright & Sons in Queensland, Australia. He quickly advanced his technical skills and also excelled at design, which soon saw him producing designs for Australian superyacht builders — which include PROJECT 58. His design style is as versatile as the tastes of his clients — ranging from the traditional to the radical — Seymour has created concepts to provide bold inspiration for any owner looking to stand out from the crowd.
Equally focused on engineering and creativity, the concepts in Christopher Seymour Designs’ stable mix advanced hull forms to the latest propulsion systems. He has crafted a range of concept designs to inspire clients, from his sailing yacht designs, including AMOR FATI and Y146, to his latest motoryacht portfolio, which includes MALIBU and DOUBLE CENTURY.
“We want to create something magnificent, respected and admired for what the vessels are, not because of who owns, built or designed them, but on their own merits,” says Seymour of his team’s philosophy.
The 75-meter ONE QUEST is a bold, striking concept with a strong, angular profile and distinctive reverse bow to increase the superyacht’s length at the waterline for efficiency and ride comfort for guests. The split-level interior layout provides a range of private areas for relaxation, while the ample deck space, infinity pool and waterside recreational areas amplify the feeling of closeness to the water. Seymour’s boldest, most boundary-pushing concept is the DOUBLE CENTURY, a 200-meter gigayacht that stretches across nine decks, reaching up to 27 meters above sea level. Accommodating more than 50 guests, the concept has every onboard entertainment option imaginable. Double helipads and hangar storage for an EC135 helicopter offer impressive transportation capacity, while storage for cars and submersibles in the garage means the exploration doesn’t stop when the anchors are dropped. Smart power plant options — including a gas turbine with twin pod units — mean that bigger doesn’t have to be slower. Christopher Seymour is one to watch; great things are predicted of his visionary work. With a creative flare that excites those with a passion for the sea, his concepts are set to turn heads around the globe.