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Revealed: The story behind Heesen’s 55m Project Gemini

Design
Written by
Justin Ratcliffe

At Heesen, a lot is happening. Currently, the Dutch yard has 15 yachts under construction, both semi and fully-custom, ranging from 50 metres to 80 metres. Two of these are Project Gemini and Project Oslo24, which, at 55 metres and 49.9 metres respectively, both feature interior designs by Luca Dini Design & Architecture. With a third project on the horizon, we zoom in on Project Gemini and have the Florentine designer tell us how the interior story began.Luca Dini design studioPhoto: Luca Dini DesignGemini yacht exterior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsHow did the working relationship start?

There was a good vibe from the start! After a few meetings, Heesen asked us to present an interior proposal for Project Gemini, the latest in the 55-metre Steel Class that’s being built on spec in Oss. The team at the yard liked our ideas and the rest is history – particularly because the design includes elements that allows Heesen to play to its strengths: smart engineering and using a range of spectacular materials.Gemini yacht exterior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsGemini yacht exterior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsProject Gemini is your first collaboration with Heesen. Why don’t we see more Italian designers working with north European shipyards?

It’s true that it’s not easy for us to break through in northern Europe, although Heesen is more broadminded in this respect and has collaborated with Cristiano Gatto, for example, on various projects. I should add that it also works both ways and there aren’t many Dutch or German designers working with Italian shipyards. I think part of the reason is because, until quite recently, we’ve never really tried to get to know each other better. Italians tend to be passionate and flexible and the Dutch more reserved and formulaic, but if managed properly I think these cultural differences make for a creative and productive working relationship. It’s actually been a very enjoyable experience.Gemini yacht interior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsGemini yacht interior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsProject Gemini is also your first on-spec project. How does that change your approach to the interior design?

We come from a bespoke background and most of our yacht projects have been driven by their owners. So the first difference is that we’re working for the shipyard rather than the end user as the idea is to sell the yacht during construction. The second is that the interior has to work as a canvas for a potential buyer to show them how flexible the design can be, and how it can accommodate their own personal tastes. The project should be conceived in such a way that it is relatively easy for clients to add their touch, lifestyle and personality at any stage of the construction to make the semi-custom yacht their own. So this approach was something new for us, but made the whole process great fun – not just for us but I would say for the shipyard as well.Gemini yacht interior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsWhen designing an interior that has to please as many people as possible, the risk is that it can become bland. How do you avoid that happening?

The challenge here was that as an Italian I like to put my foot on the pedal even when I’m going downhill, which made our Dutch colleagues a little nervous at the beginning! But seriously, it was a question of give and take and working together as a team to arrive at the best solutions. The idea is that it can be easily adapted to suit the personality of a future owner, but we also injected some bespoke details of our own, such as the custom-made door handles. We always strive for a sense of balance and symmetry to create an ambience that is harmonious rather than monotonous and refined but also friendly. Gemini yacht interior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsGemini yacht interior designPhoto: Heesen YachtsWhen are we likely to see a Heesen yacht with an exterior design by Luca Dini?

I shouldn’t say anything to avoid jinxing myself! Suffice to say we continue to enjoy the collaboration with Heesen and it would be great to create the exterior lines as well, but let’s see what happens. A touch of Italian style to the exterior would be great, no?

To find out more about Heesen’s in-built projects and yachts for sale, contact the yard directly via the details below.

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