Shared vision meets smart synergies on Project 111.11

New custom superyacht build underway at Van der Valk: Blending the bespoke ideas of owners who’ve enjoyed three decades on the water with the creative talents of exterior designer Guido de Groot and interior designer Carla Guilhem, Project 111.11 is now under construction at Van der Valk Shipyard in the Netherlands. This 34-metre superyacht takes the proven hull of the award-winning Lady Lene as a platform for a fully custom superstructure and four decks of entertainment facilities.

The Van der Valk yard is enjoying considerable success in its niche market building bespoke superyachts in the 25 to 45-metre range. Peer recognition has been strong with a string of industry prizes, including most recently a World Superyachts Award for the 34-metre Blue Jeans. The clients who have ordered Project 111.11 were inspired to do so by Van der Valk’s fully custom explorer Lady Lene, which won a Judges Commendation at last year’s WSA and ‘Best Interior Design’ at the 2023 BOAT Design & Innovation Awards.

Sweet spot
“Their initial brief was to blend their own design with Lady Lene’s proven platform for a reinforced all-aluminium hull in a full displacement format,” explains Van der Valk’s head of sales, Yoeri Bijker. “Using the engineering packages and cutting files from a successful build like this generates major cost synergies while allowing for an entirely different look & feel. The owners have made the most of this highly efficient way of building that provides exceptional freedom to customise a yacht above the waterline.

“The original design was for a 37-metre yacht but our discussions led to a request for us to suggest the sweet spot for a slightly smaller size. This needed to accommodate the owners’ key wishes for five suites, including a full-beam master on the main deck, a sky lounge, a main deck saloon, good crew quarters and a multifunctional beach club/ garage. The layout we ultimately created revolves around entertaining large groups of people in style on a compact boat with a genuinely impressive degree of volume.”

Commercial engines
Another key and unusual owner demand was to install twin Volvo Penta 750 hp continuous duty engines. “The clients knew they could leverage on Van der Valk’s 30 years of experience with Volvo Penta and the fact that we fitted these commercial engines on our 37-metre Santa Maria T. The latter has not had a single problem since her launch in 2015 and we were pleased to use this area of propulsion expertise again on Project 111.11, which will have a top speed of 14.4 knots.”

Straight thinking
Based on the above parameters, the owners sat down with Guido de Groot to create a fresh exterior design. “They had clear ideas of what they wanted having been unable to find anything suitable among the semi-custom and series options available on today’s market,” says De Groot. “Four decks on a 34-metre yacht is no small feat and every deck has its own specific requirements. The choice to have a chase boat rather than an onboard tender freed up space in the aft area for a fold-out platform and a lovely lazarette entertainment area with room to store jet-skis.

“The profile we created together with the clients for Project 111.11 showcases their fondness for straight lines, with all angles pointing in the same direction going forward. We made the arch rise diagonally from the main deck to the hard top in a single line, and the fashion plates also extend to the bimini in a continuous line. The same philosophy applies to the large windows on the lower deck, the forward one of which will have a double-axis bend in two directions. This is a complex element to have placed ion what will be a crew area, but that only serves to emphasise the importance attached to the exterior aesthetic.”

Design meets function
Another key design element visible on the profile also offers functional benefits. “The way the bulwarks have been dropped allows for seamless views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the main salon while also flooding this area with loads of light,” adds De Groot. “The doors themselves open aft and to one side in the dining area. The owners are happy for guests and crew to regularly mingle and they like being in the country-kitchen galley while entertaining large groups of people onboard. This will be a fun boat all who step aboard.”

The expansive al fresco relaxation options on Project 111.11 reinforce this point, with the flybridge being a prime example. A forward-facing jacuzzi is surrounded by a large seating area and a bar, while the centre deck has a U-shaped lounging area around a folding table that facilitates everything from formal dining to cocktail parties. Aft-facing sunbeds complete the picture of a space well used, with an ingenious system of doors and panels creating a partition when the weather requires.

This windbreak was a challenge to integrate well into the design as it also serves to support the large bimini. It is one of many puzzles solved by the design team on a yacht with a wealth of storage and facilities to enhance self-sufficiency and allow the owners to spend more days at sea without going into port. All spaces under the sunbeds and sofas have been utilised, for instance, including a large refrigerator under the foredeck sunbeds.

Carte blanche interior
In the same way that the length, exterior profile and GA of Project 111.11 evolved over time, the interior style has come a long way from the early thoughts. “The clients came to our first meeting with some initial concepts involving strong, hard lines,” remembers Carla Guilhem. “When I shared other ideas for a cosier approach, they got excited and decided to entrust us with creating something completely different. ‘You have carte blanche to do whatever you want, Carla; let us see some reference images at the start and then you lead the way with your imagination,’ they said. It’s everything a designer wants to hear!”

Carla returned to her studio and spent three days making sketches, which the owners loved. “We have opted for a futuristic feel with super-smooth rounded shapes and a monochrome look with trims and frames that emphasise the neutral colours,” continues Guilhem. “Those who step onboard Project 111.11 will feel like they’re being embraced in an otherworldly but inviting environment.”

Although inspired by reference images of the Moon and Mars, the interior will be very much grounded in real life. Guilhem: “With oval-shaped windows, chunky chairs, a large elliptical chandelier in the lounge ceiling and an even larger oval shape recessed into the ceiling of the master suite, the interior of Project 111.11 shifts away from organic shapes and towards imperfect geometric forms. It’s all very elegant and will give the sensation that you’ve never seen anything like it before. To achieve this, we are working closely with the yard to simplify construction of the elements and frames, with most of furniture being loose… And I can’t wait to see the results!”

Owner-driven experience
Close cooperation between all parties involved will clearly be vital to the success of a complex superyacht like Project 111.11. Among the many other truly custom features is an asymmetrical lounge on the bridge deck, built semi-full-beam to stay under 300 GT volume and avoid the class implications of going above that size. The yacht will come under the commercial charter class without needing an expensive and rarely used rescue tender/davit.

This arrangement also allows for a full-beam master suite on the main deck with a large walk-in wardrobe. As the owners will be onboard weeks at a time, their private office will provide an authentic working environment (and backdrop for Zoom). The lower deck laundry has lots of washer/drier capacity, with a watertight bulkhead door providing direct access for the crew to the guest corridor and four ensuite cabins (two larger VIPs amidships with desk areas and two twins).

Once again, these bespoke elements all form part of an owner-driven build and design experience that is now taking impressive shape in reality at the Van der Valk yard. Delivery of Project 111.11 is slated for Q3 2024.