Insight: Speaking with Sander Sinot

Written by Laura Nicholls

There’s certainly something about Sander Sinot. Speaking with a smooth Dutch accent and emanating a noticeably relaxed and humble persona, Sinot nonchalantly drifts over the details whilst conversing about the intricacies of some of the most complex superyacht projects the industry has ever seen. These details are the stuff of dreams and are clearly put together through a passion and integrity to create something that will not only turn heads, but also make a difference.Sander Sinot Photo: Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design

The way he conducts business is through his eponymous design house which, after over a decade in the industry, has been behind the likes of Lonian, Illusion Plus, Aquarius and the soon-to-be Black Shark and Cosmos. With nearly 50 employees under one roof, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design is one of the largest design studios around. With this in mind, the curiosity to see what Sander is like as a boss takes over. “It is not just me; we are a design house. I see ourselves as a brand that stands for the quality and creativity we give. I like flat management and we work in a very specific manner to ensure we are efficient and effective with good communication. The first six months of a yacht is intense because that is when we develop GAs and interiors. Here, the designers and CGI specialists make the renders, then, if approved, it moves to the technical specialists, FF&E and project management teams. It works well!” Lonian yacht cruisingPhoto: Clint JenkinsLonian yacht foredeck and bridgePhoto: Clint JenkinsThere are more intricate qualities in the way Sinot operates his business and for the past five years, he has devised a particular theme to help focus some of the studio’s design concepts aside from those created especially to the client’s needs and wishes. The themes: zen, nature, balance, art of life and aqua, have noticeably energised and inspired the designer’s output and are all an extension of Sinot’s dreamy and extensive imagination. Now, “2020 is the year of poetry.” Illusion Plus yacht stateroomPhoto: David Churchill, George Guest and Timothy SaundersIllusion Plus yacht cruising Photo: David Churchill, George Guest and Timothy Saunders“The poetry theme will look at materials, the inner value of something and how we spend our lives with a mixture of elements that people don’t normally think about. A yacht will, of course, have speakers and a sound system, but we approach this by asking how poetry is applied to music. There will be poetry behind everything, so our pieces in the room around will all have a story to tell. Most owners like that,” he adds. Responding to our interest in knowing when we will see the first results of the new theme, Sinot reveals that the concept is still in development. “These ideas always grow once you start, there is a foundation upon which you can build. It’s hard to tell when something is coming - it is unpredictable.” Aquarius yacht at anchor off Porto Cervo Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesIt is intriguing to see how Sinot does not shun his natural call for creativity, especially when it comes to the official showcasing of the theme in question. As done previously, Sinot’s intentions with each theme are relayed spectacularly through passages of descriptive and thought-provoking text, accompanied by striking artistic imagery and high-fashion photography. “These themes give designs more of a reason – such as how a painting that uses a lot of colours does so to tell the whole story,” he concludes.Aqua super yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignClearly a character who prioritises a visionary outlook, Sinot was born to be a designer. Having started his design career in New York at the agency of Henry Dreyfuss, Sinot hit the ground running, working on design formulas for industrial products, planes, trains and speedboats. Sinot’s time in New York with the legendary industrial designer still influences his work today as the Dreyfuss studio was the first design agency to use CAD systems and consequently inspired the studio to be one of the first in yachting to start churning out computer renders over two decades ago. The exceptionally high-quality renders from Sinot are not only thanks to the founder being “a fan of tech”, but also to his certainty that an early investment in such technology would pay off - which it has. Aqua super yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignThe latest radical new set of renders to come from Sinot’s studio are of the 112-metre hydrogen-powered Aqua, which dominated the Monaco Yacht Show as another rendition of Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design’s continuously impressive performance at industry shows. After five months of development, the team of designers and engineers curated a liquid hydrogen and fuel cell technology power system which converts liquified hydrogen into electricity for the propulsion system and hotel services, all based on existing energy-saving systems and technology. “My interest in Aqua is due to a combination of objectives. Throughout the whole yacht, we have put in innovations for ourselves as a design exercise. Even issues like finding the shortest possible route that food can move from the galley to the table in order to maintain the temperature are factors that I don’t believe everybody considers,” describes Sinot.Aqua super yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignAqua super yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignAqua is one of the largest and most complex concepts to come out of 2019 and for Sinot, is the yacht he would have himself. Although agreeing that taking on certain challenges is healthy, Sinot reflects on what he and his team had to overcome to create such a spectacular superyacht. “Everything had to work together: not just for aesthetics, but the technical platform. For some reason, we are now in the market to accommodate more 100m+ yachts, which is a different league."yacht Aqua at duskPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignAqua super yacht concept by Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignPhoto: Sinot Yacht Architecture & DesignSinot is right. For the section of the fleet which is measuring up to triple-figure digits, these ladies are in a league of their own, as is the 77.25-metre Pi (originally named Syzygy 818) from Feadship which, with her wealth of glass and slick sword-like profile, was a fascinating new addition to the world fleet in 2019. For first-timer exterior designer Jarkko Jämsén, his work and alliance with Sinot’s interiors have been showcased as an iconic evolution of superyacht design. After having visited the owner at his house in Japan, Sinot cultivated an interior design for the new superyacht that reflects the Japanese culture and moves away from being entirely glamorous.” “This is more of a ‘beach house style,’” he explains. Syzygy 818 yacht runningPhoto: Tuukka KoskiThe designer’s unfading affection for Japan is illustrated in aspects such as the superyacht’s free-standing bathtubs and surfaces, all carved and shaped from the wood of the Japanese pine Hinoki and cedar tree and left in their bare, natural form. “Besides the fact that they smell nice, they are very light woods to work with. We must respect that nature makes the most beautiful materials and so sometimes, you just don’t have to do much with the materials, they are already beautiful in their natural state,” he adds.  Sinot is visibly passionate about his work for Pi and his admiration for Japan and the Japanese style. “I am a very big fan of their culture. I think they have the best artisans and craftsmen in the world. I once had a large collection of samurai swords and if you understand how they are made, it’s unbelievable. It takes months and months to make - the opposite of mass production, it’s dedication. The Japanese are masters in culture and nature.”  Syzygy 818 yacht cruising After prying more into his design preferences and what he considers to be some of the fundamental aspects of design, Sinot shares more of his inner workings and thought processes. “Good design is when it is not a design. It should not just exist; it should be a manifestation of something for not only a functional reason but also an aesthetically pleasing reason. For example, with this chair I am sitting on, you can sit on it in many ways and push the boundaries of the design. We didn’t design this chair, but I like it! If you have a nice house, boat or objects you naturally want to share them with others and have them enjoy it with you.” In a final attempt to further identify the man behind some of the industry’s greatest designs, the conversation continues to flow, and soon enough, that ‘certain something’ about Sander first described manifests itself: “Maybe I am a complex person, but I like simplicity,” he says. 


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