Hakvoort Shipyard has completed the 39-metre luxury ocean-going motoryacht SnowbirD. In addition to the first class standards of design, construction, engineering and finish for which this leading Dutch yard is so renowned, SnowbirD also has the most elaborate art collection assembled on a superyacht to date.
In advance of purchasing their first ever superyacht, the owners of SnowbirD first travelled to visit all the premium yards. “Knowing that the Netherlands builds the best motoryachts in the world, we felt it prudent to take the ‘Yacht Valley’ tour and gauge how the different options felt,” recalls the owner’s son, David Ostrander, principal of the Iluminus Design Group and responsible for the interior design. “We visited most of the pedigree Dutch motoryacht builders and all had the same legendary and meticulous attention to detail.”
The motivation for the owners to ultimately choose for Hakvoort was three-fold. “We liked the fact that Hakvoort is a small yard without the corporate identity found elsewhere. Its location in the ancient port of Monnickendam is truly inspiring and only minutes away from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Most importantly of all, perhaps, the personal interaction with the Hakvoort family was immediately welcoming, and they were very open to working with us to create a vessel of world-class calibre. This is undoubtedly what we have achieved with SnowbirD: I’ve been on yachts of every size and type, and am convinced that Hakvoort is one of the top five builders in the world.”
The fact that the owners of SnowbirD are avid art collectors and investors is not in itself a reason why the yacht has so many works onboard. After all, while many superyacht owners share their passion for paintings, sculpture and other aesthetic forms, few if any have ever made art the fulcrum upon which the entire interior style is based.
“Art is the purest form of human expression to our family and it made perfect sense to make this the centrepiece of SnowbirD,” explains Ostrander. “We carried out a lot of research into the best way to deal with the artworks technically, taking into account the diverse environments and temperatures they will experience as SnowbirD cruises the world. With so many fascinating sources of discussion on board, our hope is that SnowbirD will become known as ‘the art boat’.”
The greatest advocate
Ostrander was highly impressed by the degree of cooperation and support he received from everyone at Hakvoort. “The yard was my greatest advocate as I strived to create an exceptional interior. My list of shipyard works became six times longer as the project progressed and it has been amazing to see the yard’s craftsmen in action. I never heard the word ‘no’ from the management as they helped adapt and improve upon my ideas to create something very special.”
In addition to visual delights, the owners have also ensured that the taste buds of those who step onboard SnowbirD will be in for a treat by employing a two-star Michelin chef. “I don’t know of any other yacht in the 30 to 40 metre bracket that has so many complementary features, materials and amenities,” concludes Ostrander. “SnowbirD has been designed and built so that she can also be offered to the upper echelon of the charter market. And on luxury vacations the food is very important in order to bring the local flavours on board. SnowbirD is a yacht that truly teases each and every one of the senses.”
The backdrop for all the above pleasures is a splendid vessel in her own right, as you would expect from the master boatbuilders at Hakvoort. The walls are panelled in book matched teak veneer in all the main areas of the yacht, with the ceilings being finished in Marjilite linen and the floors covered with wenge. The overall interior aesthetic showcases clean contemporary architectural lines combined with a sense of warmth and colour.
The general arrangement established by Cor de Rover is exceptionally effective for a 39-metre boat, creating a real feeling of openness while at the same time retaining that vital degree of intimacy. SnowbirD is already a very high volume yacht for her length, and the attention to detail and use of colours enhances the space still further. Moreover, in addition to all the wonderful decorative elements, SnowbirD also features the very latest technologies and systems to ensure maximum comfort, including high-end audiovisual equipment with full media server capabilities and iPod integration.
Designed by Cor de Rover, the round-bilge displacement steel hull features a comfortable deadrise and a flared bow with a fine entrance angle. SnowbirD provides room for ten guests including the owners, and has been built according to Lloyd’s regulations for Special Service Craft. Her propulsion package consists of two Caterpillar diesels, a straight drive and two fixed pitch propellers, offering a top speed of 12.7 knots at full load and a cruising speed of 10.5 knots. The maximum range is 3,800 nautical miles with a fuel capacity of 45,000 litres and freshwater capacity of 10,000 litres in double-bottom tanks. Two Northern Lights generators provide 105 kW each. There are steering positions in the wheelhouse and on both bridge wings.
The main deck
Entering SnowbirD by her main entrance, the foyer sets the tone for what lies ahead. The central stairway exudes elegance and style, with gliding steps and a panelled wall of teak and backlit LED lighting, with insets of leather and mother of pearl. An alcove featuring vintage nickel and zebra skin seating and bronze side table serves as a buffer between the main public spaces to aft and the master suite forward. The foyer also includes a cabinet of walnut, stainless steel insets and goatskin parchment, which opens up to become a coffee station.
The main entrance also contains the first introduction to the art of SnowbirD in the form of an untitled orange etching by Robert Mangold and two works by the painter and printmaker Frank Stella. An original acrylic work by Sam Francis is found in the day head, which is delicately finished in cappuccino onyx and teak walls.
Five large windows either side of the main deck lounge flood this large open-plan space with natural light. The forward section features an oblong ten-seat dining table custom created by the yard in teak. The vintage dining chairs are by Geo Ponti, made in 1962. Under the table is a custom blue and ivory starburst carpet from The Rug Company of London. On the prominent forward wall is a painting by the Spanish abstract impressionist Esteban Vicente called Reddish (despite the fact that it is orange).
A tall Cubist bronze sculpture by Bruce Beasley creates a loose division between the formal dining room and the salon area. It is flanked by glazed lamps, hand pottered by Christopher Spitzmiller of New York, three hand-turned Baroque crystal bowls and a small plaster sculpture by Louise Nevelson.
The two circular sofas are intended to make the room multipurpose, either for conversation, watching a movie or just relaxing and enjoying the view while underway. The colour scheme is shades of rich ocean blue, navy, ivory and accents of orange; the Tai Ping carpet has a navy blue circular border of mohair and silk, with an inset of ivory wool. Covered in genuine ostrich skin, the Hakvoort-made oval ottoman can be flipped over into itself to create a coffee table clad in honey ivory.
The aft part of the conversation circle is completed with two chairs made by Bonacina-Pierantonio in Italy, the hand-stitched orange leather trim of which brings in the colours of the main painting. These chairs swivel to allow their occupants to take in the vista over the aft deck or face the main group. There are four original drawings on the aft bulwark by Hans Hofmann, featuring scenes of St Tropez in 1935. Furthest aft on the starboard side of the entrance from the aft deck is a water colour by James Rosenquist entitled A Bucket with a Halo. In a thematic juxtaposition, on the port side is a lithograph by Ed Ruscha called Bliss Bucket. Together they serve as a fine illustration of how every piece of art onboard SnowbirD has been chosen for a very specific place.
Moving forward of the main entrance, we first enter the owner’s office, which includes an Eames executive chair in parchment calfskin with a teak desk, and two vintage Brno chairs by Mies van der Rohe, finished in polished stainless steel and reupholstered in orange saddle leather. Designed to offer the owner a comfortable space for conducting business while travelling, all the art here has been authentically integrated to generate a concurrence of ancient articles with modern and contemporary pieces. There are untitled works by Willem de Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn, plus two rare prints by Ellsworth Kelly (Blue Curve and Blue and red). Centred above the desk is a gouache by Alexander Calder, an original work on paper entitled Fish and Faces. On the bookshelves is a rare Dutch stainless sculpture plus various Asian and Roman artefacts from 600 BC to 1480.
Moving into the full-beam owner’s stateroom, all the furniture is built-in so as to extend the width of the boat. Dispensing with the bulkhead allows for an open-plan arrangement between the bedroom and bathroom, although a division of sorts can be created by lowering the motorised flatscreen television from the ceiling.
The linens on the king-sized bed are custom made and embroidered, while the bedspread is a hand-painted linen in a Venetian design with a backing in Loro Piana cashmere. The painting over the bed is a horizontal original acrylic on canvas from 1967 by Kenneth Noland from the striped series period. Other art in this room includes a large acrylic on canvas work by emerging artist Catherine Cary and a mixed-medium map representation of the Riviera coast by Robert Motherwell called Mediterranean.
The bench on the starboard side is in orange alpaca, with textiles from Pierre Frey and lamps by Christopher Spitzmiller. On the opposite wall is a classic vanity table with a pull-up mirror and Pippa stool from Hermes of Paris. Aft of this is the large walk-in dressing room with seats: Upholstered orange stingray shagreen on the doors gives a luxurious tailored effect.
The bathroom cell has a centred whirlpool bathtub bordered on either side by two free-standing glass sinks. Here and elsewhere onboard SnowbirD, all the hardware is by German company Dornbracht. The stone in this bathroom is crema delicato marble from Italy, while the shower is made of curved frosted glass and offers a very clean and contemporary look.
Also found on the main deck, discretely located off the central foyer, is a galley that is fully-equipped to serve the needs of SnowbirD’s top chef. An electrically operated door leads from the galley/pantry to the dining room, and a dumbwaiter up to the bridge deck hallway.
The bridge deck
Alighting the staircase to the bridge deck, a more light-hearted and casual ambience is found, beginning with a circular alcove containing a marble Brutalist work from the 1970s. To the right is the famous 1965 colour offset lithograph by Roy Lichtenstein called Shipboard Girl, one of the pivotal artworks onboard SnowbirD that helped set the tone for the overall choices made. Much of the art in the full beam sky lounge is in keeping with the pop period, including the lovely Ada with Sunglasses by Alex Katz.
Overall, Ostrander has successfully created a space that is both fun and sophisticated. The abiding impression is of a room that family and friends can play games, read books, watch movies on the large pop-up screen or enjoy a drink at the bar while still interacting with each other.
The centrepiece of the furnishings is a parchment and bronze coffee table by Holly Hunt and a sofa with fabrics by Pierre Frey. Custom French deco lamps on either side are hand-forged bronze by John de Merry, while the onyx and Wenge side tables were made by Hakvoort.
Another highlight of the lounge is an iconic chair by Tresserra from Barcelona with a woven leather and cashmere throw by Hermes. The canvas above the chair is by Peter Zimmermann while to the right is a vintage Evinrude outboard motor from the 1930s that has been polished and placed on a stand to create an interesting complement to the nautical theme. A petrified tree stump serves as a side table and provides a primitive contrast to the modern chair, art and sculpture.
The curved bar is made of walnut and ebony, with insets in a starburst pattern of shagreen and a top of onyx. The barstools were custom made in Italy by Poltrona-Frau and upholstered in red leather with polished stainless steel accents. Another one-off artefact is the leather cube games compendium. Handmade by Geoffrey Parker in London, it offers no less than 35 different games, from Trivial Pursuit to backgammon. The stools either side are by Taylor Llorente, and upholstered in American alligator hide, with polished stainless steel and macassar ebony. All of this resides on a cream cowhide rug by Kyle Bunting, the Moroccan-style pattern of which adds a little exotic spice to the room.
Finished in wood and leather with teak and holly floors and an upholstered ceiling, the wheelhouse contains a fully integrated bridge by Radio Holland, including five Hatteland screens for radars, chart plotter, and conning & alarm panel. There are also, two electric Recaro steering chairs and a full-height cabinet for manuals. Special care has been taken to ensure sufficient headroom so that all equipment is easily accessible. The hoods are arranged so as to prevent reflections in the windscreen.
Aft of the wheelhouse is a captain’s cabin with ensuite bathroom, a double bed and ample stowage space. The walls and doors are finished in teak veneered joinery, and the floors in teak and holly.
The lower deck
Descending the circular staircase into the lower deck lobby, it is clear that the guest stateroom area has also been the subject of countless hours of careful consideration. The lobby itself features a gallery of eight limited-edition images by the famous photographer Slim Aarons. Various scenes from the 1950s and 1960s featuring jet-setters and celebrities in leisure settings are set in white frames that really enhance the brightness and invoke a feeling of fun. They are nicely offset by a custom created Kyle Bunting carpet in an inset circle pattern with Brindle skin on top of natural cream-coloured cowhide.
SnowbirD has four guest suites, all have which are endowed with highly individual colour schemes with bold patterns and custom-woven Parisian fabrics. The very spacious bathrooms have freestanding glass bowl sinks, rain showers and Slim Aarons photographs.
The two forward suites have twin beds that can be combined into a double. A parasol theme in bright orange and white stripes prevails in the portside cabin, with art works by Frank Stella and Damien Hirst. The colour scheme in the starboard twin is blue and turquoise in a jovial woven fabric with swirly patterns, while the art features an untitled piece by Kenneth Noland and Turtle by Andy Warhol (from the endangered species series).
While the two forward suites have a youthful and playful exuberance that reflects their likely occupation by children, the two aft VIP staterooms have a full king-size bed. The theme in the port VIP is an aubergine purple on ivory, with a headboard upholstered in embossed crocodile skin. One of the most memorable art walls is found here with five works by Ed Ruscha.
Meanwhile, the starboard VIP features a bright fire engine red rocket ship pattern on ivory. The artwork is three identical prints in three different colour-ways from the Book of Love series by Richard Diebenkorn, which brings a really fresh energy to the room. The VIP heads feature full-height wardrobes, with a door that can close the whole space off to create a separate dressing room, plus a bath tub as well as a shower.
Further forward, the crew’ quarters consists of two cabins with bunk beds and a laundry. Each cabin includes plenty of storage as well as a bathroom with Corian countertops. The crew mess contains a large seating area, stowage space and an advanced entertainment unit, alarm system and CCTV monitor. To ensure the crew do not feel left out, there is also a selection of Slim Aarons photographs hanging in this area as well.
With so much to admire indoors, it is easy to forget that SnowbirD also has some of the finest al fresco facilities imaginable, providing guests with a myriad of options for dining, relaxation and entertainment.
The sun deck features five John Hutton-designed Summit lounge chairs, a barbecue and a bar with two semi-circular dining areas that are built in and can also convert to sun beds. Furthest forward is an eight-person infinity edge Jacuzzi hot tub surrounded by sun pads on all sides. The overhead hard top can be supplemented with sail cloth biminis forward and aft as well as over the seating and lounging area forward of the bridge. Other leisure options include trap/skeet shooting equipment and a golf machine whereby guests can try their luck by hitting biodegradable balls off the swim platform.
The principal al fresco dining space is the bridge deck aft, which features a varnished teak table for ten and ample buffet space. There are two semi-circular settees at the aft end of this deck, which is very long for a boat of this size.
Another outdoor highlight on the bridge deck is the seating area forward of the wheelhouse, which offers some spectacular views when underway. The seating arrangement includes a practical teak table, as well as sun beds installed flush to the structure. The forward part houses a tender and a deck crane while a hatch leads down to the forepeak
The wide main aft deck includes a seating area for eight people, two bars, a fridge/icemaker and stairways leading down to the integrated swimming platform. The lazarette is designed to be converted into a full beach club with bar service and seating inside as well as on the swim platform. SnowbirD carries three jet skis and a wide range of other watersport toys, is serviced by a custom 31’ Novurania Chase tender, and is also a PADI-certified dive centre.
Click here for the original press release.