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Espen Øino is among the top yacht designers in the world. Out of Monaco the Norwegian supplies several megayachts to the world’s super-rich each year. For two years now a very special event has linked him with AMG. It’s a relaxed morning for him. “This week, the customers come to me, not the other way around,” says Espen Øino. He sits in his office facing the new Yacht Club de Monaco and lets his gaze wander over Port Hercules, bulging with boats. The second day of the Monaco Yacht Show has been going for an hour. More than 100 yachts over 30 meters in length have moored for the world’s most important tradeshow for superyachts. In addition to brokers, shipyard managers, and suppliers, owners are flown in from all over the world: oligarchs, princes, business tycoons. New and very old money. “Billions of euros are floating down there,” says Øino, who sets new standards with his spectacular designs. Øino designed one of the largest vessels in the show, the 85-meter-long “Solandge”. The exterior design of the boat has just garnered the award for the best proportions in the Yacht Show. Large outdoor decks, yardarms molded into balconies, and a huge bar along with a dance floor on the top deck are just some of the features of the blueand white “Solandge”, which has on its inside, among other things, a cinema and a spa area replete with a Turkish bath, massage room, and beauty salon. Chartering the “Solandge” is possible, Øino mentions in passing; it costs one million euros. Per week, naturally. However, “Solandge’s” 85 meters are only a tiny portion of Øino’s oeuvre. At the time of our meeting he has seen a total of 2,520 yacht-meters of his design glide into the water — in top place, 155 meters in one stretch (“Al Said”) — and another 1.7 kilometers are under construction. The clients come from all over. The shipyards in charge of execution are mainly in Northern Europe, but also in Turkey or in Australia, where the German green-tech investor and yacht aficionado Guido Krass has built the Silver Yachts shipyard. Together with Krass, Øino developed an entirely new yacht type in the mid-2000s: 73 to 77 meters long, yet only ten meters wide and equipped with an aluminum hull that tears across the oceans extremely quickly and efficiently. The GPS of the smallest version shows a top speed of 27 knots (50 km/h); at 18 knots (33 km/h), the range amounts to an impressive 4,500 nautical miles, which is more than 8,000 kilometers, far more than the Atlantic Ocean is wide. “With the Silver models – but not only them – we’ve definitely been inspired by cars,” admits the designer. “In yachting, you also have to break up the steel surfaces and emphasize features.” So-called “moving objects” are similar in their creative approach, as “both are supposed to be dynamic and sexy.” It’s in this development period of the Silver line and their sister ships that Øino’s now 20-year career has really picked up speed. After earning his stripes with the grand master of yacht design, Martin Francis, he first established himself in Antibes and then quickly moved to Monaco while at the same time the demand for large yachts was increasing rapidly all over the world. Øino’s global clientele is almost exclusively found on the Forbes list. For the first meeting the designer himself is always required, no matter how competent his representative. After an initial briefing, Øino then brings the first rough sketches on paper. “I travel with greaseproof paper and a few pencils,” he grins. “The danger of a dead battery or a crashed hard drive is unknown to me.” The years of practice allow him to draw the layout of a yacht to scale (1:100); he can measure each bed down to precisely two centimeters. An Øino style? There isn’t one. “We comply with the wishes of the customer,” says Øino, who invited a large number of them to the Designer’s Vision dinner in neighboring Cap d’Ail on the previous night. As a traditional partner of the event, AMG exhibited the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT outside the restaurant and took quite a few reservations within an hour. After all, any owner who disembarks from an Øino-designed yacht wants to be able to cruise stylishly on land too. Insider tips from Monaco   Restaurants Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse The highest level of three-star cuisine; in the Hotel de Paris www.alain-ducasse.com Yoshi Asian cuisine, including sushi, in a very elegant atmosphere; in the Hotel Métropole www.metropole.com Beefbar Monaco A well-patronized venue for all non-vegetarians and non-vegans. www.beefbar.com   Hotels Hotel Hermitage Square Beaumarchais, www. hotelhermitagemontecarlo. com Fairmont Monte Carlo 12 Avenue des Spélugues, www.fairmont.com/monte carlo Hotel Métropole 4 Avenue de la Madone, www.metropole.com 64


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