Superyacht Designer Sam Sorgiovanni Talks Australian Influences and Inspiration

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When it comes to superyacht designers, Sam Sorgiovanni is one of the most widely respected and influential in the industry. He has worked on some of the most distinctly innovative, cutting edge and award-winning superyachts in the world including Oceanco’s 110m Jubilee, 76m Anastasia and 88.5m Barbara as well 84m White Rabbit by Echo Yachts.

The Market Herald Fancy Nautica caught up with Sam at the Sydney International Boat Show where he sat down for an insightful interview with presenter Iolande Skinner From The Deck.

Sam shared his views on superyacht design, noting that it is essential to learn as much as possible about the client in order to be able to deliver a satisfying plan.

Sam Sorgiovanni
Sam Sorgiovanni the world renowned yacht designer | Source: Boat International

One of his most highly awarded and famous designs, the 84-metre trimaran White Rabbit, was a welcome challenge. During the build process, Sam worked not only with the client, but with the multiple generations of their family to design the interiors and exteriors of the superyacht.

Sam is ever forward thinking and although he likes seeing his designs on the water, leaving what he terms as a legacy, he says he is constantly thinking about his future designs and where he will take his aesthetic next.

He believes the green credentials of superyachts will start to become more important in the future, reflected in the fact there are as many as six designs powered by hybrid electric propulsion systems currently on the drawing board.

Sam admits he loves the challenge of yacht design | Source: Sam Sorgiovanni Designs

Sorgiovanni cited the Australian lifestyle and the opportunities presented by living in a country surrounded by some of the best cruising grounds in the world as pivotal for his inspiration.

I take a lot of inspiration from my environment, I think living in Australia is a very unique opportunity in the sense that Australians are very connected with the sea. We’re surrounded by oceans and we have the most lovely cruising grounds, so I think that connection with the ocean and the beauty that comes from that is just inherent in our culture.

Sam Sorgiovanni

The world-renowned designer touched on his experience working with one of the most influential yacht designers of the last 50 years, Jon Bannenberg. Sam described him as a genius, and reminisced on one of his favourite stories about the legendary designer and “father of modern yacht design.”

Bannenberg once did an off-the-cuff five minute sketch for a client and handed it to them along with a price. The client then asked Jon why he had quoted them the price he had and expressed confusion as to why it was so high, considering the sketch had taken such a short time to produce.

Bannenberg said that while the sketch had taken just five minutes, he had over 30 years of design experience informing his plans.

White Rabbit White Rabbit Main Deck Interior
Australian Superyachts White Rabbit Lower Staircase

84m superyacht White Rabbit designed by Sam Sorgiovanni | Source: Echo Yachts, SuperYacht Times

Sam was recently inducted into the Australian Superyacht Industry Hall of Fame in May this year, recognising the invaluable contribution he has made to superyacht design.

He has worked closely with some of the world’s most prestigious shipyards and Australia’s Echo Yachts is amongst them.

Iolande Skinner caught up with Chris Blackwell from Echo Yachts at the Sydney International Boat Show From The Deck and talked about the advantages of being able to build in any material and even the possibility of alternative fuels and hybrid engines being used in the superyachts of the future.



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