Photo: Guido de Groot DesignGuido de Groot Design was founded in 1997 in the historic university town of Leiden, the Netherlands. The award-winning studio houses 88 international designers specialising in innovative interiors and exteriors for luxury motor and sailing yachts. Many of their projects combine interior and exterior yacht design, including sailing yachts, fast motor cruisers, and sedate displacement yachts. In 2023, after being established for a quarter of a century, Guido de Groot is working with the most prestigious shipyards worldwide. Photo: Guido de Groot DesignTo celebrate its landmark 25th anniversary, founder Guido reflects on his journey to becoming a yacht designer, from his first illustration of yachts at design school to the impactful chance encounters that carved out his career.Photo: Guido de Groot DesignEnthused by the car and aviation industry, Guido took his first step into design when he undertook a program at the ArtCentre College of Design to study automotive design. After crafting several moulded prototypes, Guido gained a firm understanding of practical design on a small yet impactful scale. It was through his hands that he learned the craftsmanship behind building shapes and structures; little did he know that this would be a footnote for his later works in yachting.Photo: Guido de Groot DesignHis first clay model project, revealed at his graduation from design college, was inspired by the Citroën Paris Dakar. Although objectively car-like, a somewhat boaty trimaran had subconsciously penetrated Guido’s earliest design work.Photo: Guido de Groot DesignA fateful vacation to the Belgian Ardennes in 1985 would soon steer the designer toward superyachts. A chance meeting with (the late) Biep de Vries of De Vries Feadship ended with Guido visiting the entrepreneur at his shipyard. This meeting would change his life forever. Upon exploring the yachts within the De Vries Feadship shipyard, Guido became inspired and began sketching yachts that very same day.
Photo: Guido de Groot DesignIn particular, the 49.47m Highlander yacht, designed by Jon Bannenberg, inspired Guido to explore the world of superyacht design. With a reflective mind, after 25 years of his successful superyacht design company, Guido reflected, “I am wondering if I would have become a yacht designer if I had not met up with Biep de Vries at that occasion”.Photo: Guido de Groot DesignOver a period of 12 years, Guido had visited Biep regularly, showing him his latest yacht designs. With an open eye, Biep gave his honest and constructive criticism of Guido’s early yacht design drawings.