World-renowned luxury yacht designers
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 07/06/2019
Where would the superyacht industry be without the great yacht designers of the industry? While we are blessed with many talented superyacht designers and design studios, each with their own enviable inspirations and signature styles, we cannot mention them all. Yachting Pages highlights seven of the world’s great luxury yacht designers, listing them from A to Z.
Top seven luxury yacht designers
Andrew Winch makes our list of world-renowned yacht designers as, in his 30 years in business, he has designed the exteriors of five of the world’s top 101 largest yachts to great acclaim - a particularly notable achievement when you consider that he is also responsible for their original interior design, and even more impressive when you consider that this includes what is currently the third largest yacht in the world, the 162m M/Y Dubai.
Our favourite Andrew Winch design
Our favourite Andrew Winch superyacht has to be the iconic 99m Feadship Madame Gu (pictured above), which collected the Motor Yacht of the Year award at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards, and for good reason. An industry favourite, she has her fierce yet feminine lines, as well as numerous exciting on-board features including a helipad, helicopter hangar, nightclub, swimming pool and cinema screen.
Directly descending from the world-famous Jon Bannenberg studio, Bannenberg & Rowell Design is now headed up by Jon’s son Dickie and his creative director Simon Rowell. Jon was often cited as the “father of modern yacht design”, and the studio is still known for some of the most notable yachts in the industry today, seeing projects completed at many of the world’s leading shipyards.
Bannenberg & Rowell’s most extravagant design
Dickie himself brands the Feadship M/Y Predator as the most extravagant yacht his studio has ever styled, as such because of the particular way the space was used on board, with the entirety of the yacht’s guest space devoted to the owner, bar her two guest suites. The studio was responsible for the interior styling of the yacht (pictured above), which Dickie explained to have two spacious saloons, which are furnished with museum-quality furniture commissioned from Pollaro, and hand-made Nepalese silk carpets.
The industry has not forgotten the late, great British superyacht designer that is Ed Dubois, who is still one of the industry’s most influential designers even after his passing early in 2016. His company is responsible for what are seen as some of the finest and technically advanced sailing yachts the industry has seen.
Dubois’ most notable design
In our opinion, Dubois’ most notable design is yet to come from the studio, in the shape of the 58m sloop Ngoni (scale model pictured above), which is currently under construction at Royal Huisman. Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ by the yard due to her towering 233ft rig, she has been described as “the catalyst for a new style direction from Dubois”. She has a dramatic sheer line and sculpted bow drawn for style and seaworthiness. She also has a moulded glass superstructure and crisp stern shape to “further the look of what is an inherently progressive design.”
The on-going influx of designs from the boards of the Espen Oeino International studio is ample proof of the skills of Espen himself, who, when you consider his bespoke custom-build designs, must be working extremely hard to get all his projects finished! He makes the list as he can currently lay claim to 11 of the top 101 largest yachts in the world. These include Ocean Victory, Al Said and Kismet.
Espen Oeino's most impressive superyacht
In our opinion, the most impressive superyacht to come from the drawing boards of the Espen Oino International studio is the 95m Kismet. Built by Lurssen, she was the overall winner of the 2015 World Superyacht Award in the Displacement Motor Yachts of 1,300GT to 2,999GT of 75metres and Above category; impressive not only because of her sheer stature and grace, but also for her seamless exterior spaces. On board she features a mosaic-tiled pool and Jacuzzi (pictured above) that offer great views out, and a secondary helipad that converts to a basketball court when not in use. There are also many impressive exterior dining and entertainment spaces.
A former architect, Ken Freivokh transitioned to yacht design upon buying his own yacht, which he wanted to customise. The studio in Southampton, England is home to a multi-disciplinary team, which is famous for creating many cutting edge superyacht designs and futuristic concepts. The studio counts the 88m imposing clipper Maltese Falcon and 141m schooner Dream Symphony among its greatest designs.
Ken Freivokh concept to watch
Our favourite Ken Freivokh concept design right now is the 145m M/Y Fortissimo (pictured above), which yields a futuristic design that has been styled on a rigid space frame system to allow for large span openings, negating the need for conventional internal structures for reinforcement. This transparent skin gives passengers a closer relationship with the sea. Powered by an environmentally friendly turbine system, she has incredibly sleek lines and generous interior accommodation.
Terence Disdale ventured away from his position under the guidance of Jon Bannenberg back in 1972 to open up his own design firm. Over his 40 years, he has had a hand in designing over 100 yachts, and has collaborated with a number of designers, including Tim Heywood below.
Our favourite superyacht from Terence Disdale Design
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Eclipse (pictured above) has to be our favourite Terence Disdale design. At 162.5m LOA, she held the position of the world’s largest yacht for quite some time, but it is not her size that impresses us, but rather her on-board features. Disdale is responsible for her exterior design and interior styling, many details of which are a closely guarded secret, but she is rumoured to have a 16m swimming pool with adjustable depth feature, allowing her to be changed into a raised dance floor, as well as space for a host of exciting tenders and toys.
Like many of the industry’s design greats, Tim Heywood started out under the guidance of Jon Bannenberg before branching out on his own in 1996. He has since worked on some amazing designs, recognisable because of his trademark curvaceous lines. He has worked with many of the world’s most influential yacht builders, styling M/Y Symphony with Feadship (pictured below) and shaping the Amels Limited Editions series.
Our favourite Tim Heywood yacht design
The first Feadship to pass the 100m mark, Symphony is our favourite Tim Heywood design - not only because of her size, traditional nautical colours and timeless profile, but also her ample facilities and innovative on-board technologies. These are believed to include a helipad, innovative glass corridor with interactive video screen, dance floor, indoor and outdoor cinemas, golf tee box, gym, library, beauty room, and so on - not to mention her 6m contraflow swimming pool with waterfall, and additional glass-bottomed pool.