Igor Lobanov – the yacht sculptor

Last year Igor Lobanov, a young Russian designer based in London, entered the superyacht scene with two spectacular designs. At the Monaco Yacht Show 2007 the 105m White Night was displayed by Lürssen Yachts and the 100m Liza by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. SYT speaks to the creative mind behind these refreshing designs.

SYT: You started out working in the automotive industry. What made you decide to design yachts and planes?

The job I was offered in yachts was more interesting than the one I could get in car design. I was owner representative on Sigma (SF99) for about 3 years.

SYT: Was it always your intention to start your own studio?

I didn't think about having my own studio until I saw the work of some famous designers and realized that I can do no worse.

SYT: Lürssen displayed your 105m (344ft) White Night model and Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems your 100m (328ft) Liza design. Was there a lot of interest in these two projects?

People are split in two clear parts: those who are bored of traditional design and others who are skeptic about new concepts.

I have seen and heard both opinions, for example: "White Night is obviously the work of a young designer, but Liza is a real boat" or the opposite "White Night is striking fresh and new, but Liza is more ordinary"

Why shall we argue about that? Some people like conservative elegant things some others desperately want to see new things and both are right. But we keep indeed receiving a lot of interest in both projects.

SYT: White Night/Dark Angel is a very special design. What inspired you when you were designing her? Are there also yachts on which your Liza project is inspired?

I would like to say (if I can) that Liza is designed in a way I see Tim Heywood designs his yachts: clean shapes, good proportions, not too many pure decorative details. Of course one can find something from Ice, Pelorus and Carinthia VII in her.

White Night has been inspired by the arch of a bridge. I had the feeling about this yacht that she had to be very "computer designed", very geometric with flat surfaces. I had a clear vision in my head, which I then turned into couple of sketches.

SYT: Are any of your designs currently building? And if yes could you provide more details about them?

Two of my designs are presently under construction, but I’d prefer to not tell more yet.

SYT: What is your goal in designing yachts?

No real goal, nothing dramatic. I just like doing “sculptures” and enjoy making beautiful shapes. So maybe I am a yacht sculptor…..?

SYT: Any new designs you can share with us?

We are working on 40m vessel, which will also be suitable for rivers. The client asked us to design something "never seen before". And we keep collaborating with shipyards. Our last project is 85m yacht for a Dutch shipyard.

By Merijn de Waard



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