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His incredible background never would have let imagined he will became one of the most talented superyacht designers of his generation. Sander Sinot is a name that shines in the industry, creative mind of some truly floating masterpieces like MUSASHI (Feadship 87.78m, 2011) and her sistership FOUNTAINHEAD. Recently behind the launch of AQUARIUS (Feadship 92m, 2016) LONIAN (Feadhip 87m, 2018) or the Pride Mega Yachts ILLUSION PLUS (88.5m) vessel delivered in 2018, Sander Sinot and his company Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design are a team of challenges.With more than 45 talented, international designers, the company takes its inspiration between European modernism and Asian fusion minimalism.
When we sat with Sander Sinot to compile this interview, he was in the middle of complex but fruitful negotiations with an Imperial client to build a very sleek, profiled superyacht. The kind of creation everybody remember on both inside and outside. Teaming with Andrew Winch and build at Nobiskrug shipyard in Germany, the very first collaboration between the famous Dutch designer and Imperial has a name: Project BLACK SHARK, a stunning 77-metre superyacht as sharp as a shark with a unmissable black paint and very impressive interiors. We took this opportunity, before the contract was officially settled, to discuss with Sander Sinot and learn more about him. Sharing his vision of the yachting industry and giving some few tips about his charter preferences, we invite you to discover him on another angle, like all his creations.
IY: How did you come to work in yacht design?
Sander Sinot: My educational background is in industrial design. I started my career in New York at the agency of Henry Dreyfuss and worked on industrial products, as well as airplanes, trains and speedboats. Upon my return to the Netherlands I built a successful design agency, combining branding with industrial design, interior design and architecture, working globally for multinational firms. Twelve years ago, I met with Henk de Vries from Feadship, which has led to a vast expansion of our business in the Yacht industry, as well as Residential, both for the UHNWI client group. To serve this demanding clientele with success we employ nearly 50 diverse and highly skilled employees allowing us to provide the highest level of architecture and design to our current and future clients.
IY: Has you varied background made you more fastidious with your yachts?
SJS: Absolutely. Not only does it help inform a yacht’s style, but it also makes me more knowledgeable about the use of certain materials, which not only work well from a functional and producible aspect, but also help bring the details together. You often see a beautifully designed profile but from the interior aspect, from inside out, there are still a lot of conversations to be had. So for us, it’s all about a complete design and a complete design philosophy. We understand that if you divide these things up, you can still have a nice interior and you can still have a nice exterior. But the match is seldom successful.
IY: Are your designs more practical than most?
SJS: Well in many ways, yes. But it also depends on the type of client. Every year, we make a concept for the Monaco Yacht Show that is quite different to anything that has gone before. We try to inspire the market and our clients with something new. On the one hand, that is – and should be – an icon on the water. But on the other, it should not be just an icon. It’s about striking that balance between the iconic art piece and the way the yacht is actually used. In that regard, we are in the middle.
IY: What do you look for in a shipyard?
SJS: They need to be an A-brand, with extensive building experience and they need to be daring enough to try something new. Enlarging the glass facades or windows in the hull or superstructure comes with technical challenges. Certain yards are willing to see those challenges as opportunities while others prefer to stick to proven technology. But to enjoy your work and to get the best possible results, you need to choose a partner who is happy to push the boundaries.
IY: Is that why you enjoy working with Imperial?
SJS: Certainly. Recently we did a project that went very smoothly. We had a great client who appreciates our style and gave us the freedom to pursue our direction. And that’s enjoyable because, once you have that ‘chemical click’, things really fall into order. You don’t need too many sessions; you don’t need too many explanations. Once you have your goal set, it’s easy to roll it out – and with Imperial ensuring the utmost clarity of communication throughout the process, it was even easier. We had a really good experience.
IY: If you could own just one yacht, what would it be?
SJS: I couldn’t pick just one but, in all cases, a yacht should feel like your home. You should feel welcome as soon as you enter it; it should be your favourite place in the world – so colour-wise and form-wise, it should not be over-designed. Of course, the details should be in order and of a very high quality, but it should not feel over-deep in materials and colours. There should be a certain serenity. Not necessarily monochromatic, but a natural palette of tones and colours, with some popping colours in art pieces – the beautiful reds of Rothko or the blues of Yves Klein. But for sure it should be your own environment where you can completely relax.
IY: Is that what yachting is about for you – serenity and relaxation?
SJS: Well sometimes, yes – but it’s really about your state of mind and the particular part of the day. For instance, sometimes you want to be active, sometimes you want to relax with friends and sometimes you want to party, so a yacht should be able to offer all of that; it should facilitate every desire. But I think being near the water, with your toys to hand; enjoying the water itself and not feeling like you’re contained in a floating capsule – that’s yachting at its best. Of course, every yacht needs interior spaces and it should always feel safe, but it should also feel open, so you never lose that sense that you’re in touch with the water.
IY: What kinds of toys do you most value on a yacht?
SJS: There’s so much variety in the kinds of toy you can have on board your yacht now but for me, it’s all about the SCUBA gear. It is far more beautiful beneath the water than most people realise – and in many ways, a yacht is a means of interacting with nature both above and below the surface.
IY: What’s your favourite cruising region?
SJS: I love the Caribbean. The British Virgin Islands is a special place because there’s so much variety in terms of sailing and diving. It’s a wonderful environment. But Croatia is also great because there are so many islands, so many beaches, such flexibility in cruising itinerary and it’s not crowded at all. If you go to the Cote d’Azur, there are a lot of boats and it can be very hard to find a little spot that gives you any real privacy, but in Croatia, you can still find a beautiful little bay between a couple of islands and have it all to yourself.
IY: What’s your favourite cruising season?
SJS: I can be very enthusiastic about anywhere and any time – cold climates too because, when I was a marine, I visited a lot of fjords and explored the whole coastline of Norway. In some parts of that area, there are very few people and the natural landscapes are extraordinary. You see beautiful colours of blue in the ice and the water is so clear, the boat feels like it’s suspended in mid-air. The visibility is just incredible. You have 150-metre views when you’re diving, so I think it’s hard to say what my favourite season would be. I think I’m the perfect charter guest because I just love the planet I’m living on!
IY: What kinds of design directions do you expect to see in the next decade?
SJS: I think yachts will become more open, so people can enjoy the scenery from the interior. Having beautiful big windows in your hull, in your lounges or in your guest bedrooms brings an extra charter quality because it reminds you you’re at sea. You’ll see much more of your environment – and not just when you’re at anchor but when you’re sailing.
IY: So you see glass as a structural building material?
SJS: Absolutely. We already do that on land – even in Japan where the buildings have to be earthquake-proof. But it’s also up to the clients to challenge themselves to become more knowledgeable about the possibilities. Glass technology today, with special coatings and layering, is incomparable to a few years ago. Windows of 12m x 3.5m are already possible and they’re strong like steel. But it still needs to be applied in intelligent ways. For instance, on the one hand, you don’t want to have too much glass because then you’re in a glass bubble. A bit of architecture is useful. For instance, it’s nice to have a place to hang a painting and it’s nice to be able to dim the light or turn it off without being faced with mirror-like glass all around you. People will always want that degree of intimacy, so there needs to be a balance between where you want to have the large windows with a view and where you want to have an architectural environment, so you can feel more intimate and embraced.
Our considerable experience with the main shipyards in Northern Europe and Italy allows you to benefit from our impressive superyacht construction knowledge: whether you are ready to build your ideal vessel, or need advice regarding the right shipyard, the perfect exterior and interior designs that suit your tastes, we would be delighted to accompany you in achieving your dream superyacht.
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