‘What if a yacht could fly?’ asked Los Angeles designer extraordinaire Edward Sotto. Then he set out to design ‘Skyacht One’, an $83m Embraer Lineage 1000e that has been described as an “aeronautical masterpiece”.
How does one bring the richness, warmth, and legacy of a luxury watch, fine automobile, or classic yacht into an aircraft? Sotto recognizes that luxury items have rich histories that define their fine detail and craftsmanship and although aircraft have yet to be adorned with such fine finishes, clearly, this shouldn’t be so.
Sotto has responded by infusing a state-of-the-art aircraft with the rich design influence of a handmade classic yacht, with attention to detail that pays off on every flight you take. The exterior features a faux mahogany “hull” and tail with a pearl white body. Sotto sees each cabin as a scene from a story or film. Using the skills of Hollywood trained set designers, his sense of staging for Skyacht One is uncanny. The opening “scene” as he calls it, the chartroom entry, says it all in its inlaid marquetry murals, Fornasetti carpeting and china, Chesterfield sofa, and a navigation theme as a narrative thread. The main cabin features intelligent lighting to match the time of day, engraved jewelled controls, and nautically inspired wood planks. The master suite includes a malachite shower with boat throttle hardware. Regatta, a mahogany Rolls Royce Wraith, completes the package once the aircraft has landed.
SottoStudios/LA, established in 2004, is an experiential design and brand studio that is frequently commissioned to invent or revitalize products as multi-sensory “experiences”, breaking down the formal silos of architecture, marketing, and design and combining them in a single shared process that delivers the “wow” factor seamlessly. This deconstructed process creates a more holistic work environment, and this objective, along with using emotion as the core of a sensory driven “system of experience”, led Sotto to form his own studio to accomplish this vision. Sotto has created brand showcases for Aston Martin, Ferrari, and other companies, yet still creates bespoke designs for any aircraft, home, or yacht, for select clients. His cinematic approach as a Walt Disney “Imagineer” has given him access to the best talent in order achieve “anything” a client can dream up. As Walt Disney himself once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Sotto fully agrees.