Contemporary art and 21st-Century interior yacht design are the most compatible of bedfellows, and it’s no surprise to find examples of the work of the most ground-breaking of modern artists adorning the walls of a superyacht. But it’s rare to find a yacht that takes its interior cues from art as comprehensively and systematically as the Hakvoort SnowbirD – every space, every cabin, every eyeline is full of engaging splashes of colour, diverting drawings and intriguing sculpture. But there is no hushed gallery feel to the yacht. SuperYacht World’s offices are next to London’s Tate Modern, where – for all the brilliance of the exhibitions – you pause at the pieces in reverent contemplation. SnowbirD’s art is presented aboard a living, breathing family yacht.

SnowbirD superyacht saloon

‘Ada with Sunglasses’ (1990) by Alex Katz hangs in the bridge deck lounge

The interior of the 39-metre Hakvoort, launched last year, is the work of David Ostrander, principal of the Illuminus Design Group, whose work extends to the interiors of homes and private jets, as well as advising on art. As the son of the yacht’s owner, he shares his father’s passion for modern art and he set about making it the keynote of the interior. “On all the domestic interiors I’ve worked on, art is so important to the visual impact, so why not on a yacht?” he says.

Perhaps the most startling feature of all this art when you are on board is the glimpse of what is to come through open doors and along corridors. “We really wanted to establish the interesting sightlines as you walk through the boat. It creates a level of interest and surprise,” says David.

Scroll down for an extensive gallery of the artworks on board SnowbirD

In his professional life, David has seen plenty of art on yachts, but to him it hasn’t always struck the right note. “Sometimes the works appeal to an older generation. But yacht owners are getting younger, and we wanted it to impart a fun atmosphere,” he says. That emphasis on lightness and a heady ambience means much of the art is Pop inspired: “The key piece is Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Shipboard Girl’. It sets the tone for the yacht.”

The collection came together from a number of different sources. “Some of it we already own and some we worked to procure. The question then was to bring them all together in a cohesive way,” says David. “My art advisor has run a lot of high-profile galleries and that experience is one of the reasons why we ended up with such a nicely curated collection that doesn’t overwhelm but definitely heightens the impact of the interior.”

Art can be fragile, of course, but as conditions remain constant on board this isn’t an issue. “Everything is mounted properly and we’re careful about conservation. It’s museum-quality care,” says David.