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Luxury Yachts Are a Dream Project for Lucky Designers

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Luxury Yachts Are a Dream Project for Lucky Designers


When it comes to expanding their portfolios, several A-list architects and designers have turned their talented hands to designing superyachts.

London-based designer Achille Salvagni is ahead of the pack when it comes to designing not only yachts but also their interiors. In a span of some 15 years, he has completed a staggering 25 yachts while working with five shipyards in Europe (Azimut Benetti, Perini Navi, Rossinavi, Baglietto, and Oceanco). On his drawing board right now? A 475-foot mega-yacht and also a 394-foot, five-story one for the Azimut Benetti Group shipyard in Italy.

“In many ways, yachts are the ultimate dream project—from shaping the walls and ceilings in new and novel ways, to designing not simply a graceful staircase or two but practically all of the furnishings,” says Salvagni, who relies on a team of 25 architects, naval architects, and interior designers to help him.

Just as with residences, working closely with a client is a key aspect of maritime projects. In designing the sleek Aurora Longitude yacht, for instance, Salvagni included a portion of the owner’s vast art collection, ranging from an Anish Kapoor to a 19th-century French porcelain bust.

For the designer, developing that kind of rapport has led to yacht owners commissioning 12 other projects from him, including their homes. “Even when I’ve designed a smaller yacht for a first-time owner, eventually they trade up to a larger yacht,” Salvagni says, while adding that many times he is often called upon to work on the next one. “Press, exposure, and word of mouth should lead to yet even more commissions,” the designer says.

The Numptia design was conceived by Salvagni for the Rossinavi shipyard.

Courtesy of Achille Salvagni

Giovanna Vitelli, who serves as the vice president of the Azimut Benetti Group, is the driving force in tapping top-tier architects and designers for nautical projects. She brought not only Salvagni on board but also the Manhattan firm Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture.

”I grew up in the maritime industry and realized that recruiting architects and designers to design our yachts was critical to attracting a new and growing generation of highly sophisticated enthusiasts,” says Vitelli, speaking to AD PRO from the company’s Livorno shipyard on the coast of Tuscany.

Bonetti/Kozerski is no stranger to high-end commissions, as the firm is responsible for the recently completed 75,000-square-foot Pace Gallery and Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel in New York, among other projects. But the 133-foot Oasis was its first vessel design. “Designing the Oasis was no simple task; it rather required a multifaceted approach to inject a sense of elegance and calmness,” says partner Enrico Bonetti. “The spaces had to flow seamlessly—from the four sun-drenched decks, including one with an infinity pool, to the restrained interiors,” he adds.



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