“A yacht for a man is like a toy for a kid,” says Linda Pinto, chairman of Alberto Pinto Interior Design, a Paris-based firm that specializes in the playthings of the (very) rich and famous: private jets and yachts. “Houses are for the family and everyone is involved; yachts are usually monsieur’s business,” she adds. For that reason, much of the firm’s maritime design is more whimsical than what it would propose for a private home: Clients often opt for materials and textures that evoke the feeling of a carefree summer, like straw, embroidery, and wood.
Their reputation for creating the pitch-perfect mix of comfort and luxury extends far beyond their Paris remit: Out of the 100 largest yachts in the world, Pinto is responsible for designing 10 percent. And while it can’t reveal names, the company has worked with everyone from European aristocrats to Middle-Eastern monarchs to billionaires.
Pinto’s expertise actually covers land, sea, and the sky: They’re also extremely well-versed in designing jet interiors, which are often tricky to personalize due to safety and weight limitations. Working with AMAC Aerospace, a Basel-based jet completion company, however, Pinto now creates every element of the jet’s interior design on a bespoke basis. “We design the seats, the tables, the credenza, everything,” Pinto says. “It’s exactly the same thing for house, but much more precise, like a watch or a piece of jewelry.”
For their latest project, an Airbus ACJ319, the firm was tasked with creating an environment that was equal parts contemporary and traditional. The owner, a Chinese businessman, dictated that the design of the plane align with feng shui principles. “We [worked with] a special feng shui person to tell us exactly where to put the bed and which chair should be his,” Pinto says. For a more modern aesthetic, however, Pinto opted to outfit the interior of the plane in black carbon fiber, which was complemented by light wood veneer by KOTO Wood.
In an unusual move, the firm also created a walk-in shower, which is almost unheard of in private jets because of the weight of the water. The client also requested a fully functioning kitchen, so his chef could bring aboard his wok. “Normally on a plane, we can just heat the food but never cook,” Pinto says. “This is the first time we did a plane with a real kitchen.” All in, the design and construction for this Airbus totaled over two years of work.
While Pinto works with titans in virtually every industry, she delights in the atavistic way many clients react to seeing their yacht or jet for the first time. “The childlike smile on the client’s face when you do the first delivery tour with him is something very touching, [especially] when you keep in mind they are giants in their field,” she says.