If a Conjurer of the Year award existed in the yachting sector, then Giorgio Cassetta and his team would win it outright for the magic they worked on the 63m steel and aluminium Benetti, Metis.
She began life as an on spec project on the platform previously used for 11.11, another 63m Benetti delivered in 2015, and originally was to have four decks with no flying bridge. Best laid plans, however….
“Eighteen months before her delivery, the new owner asked us for modifications,” explains Cassetta. “He liked the project but wanted to add a 25 sqm gym at the top of the yacht”.
That was a big ask as adding a fifth deck without ruining Metis’ exterior lines would prove a highly complex challenge. In the end, Cassetta and his team used a very clever sleight of hand to pull off their conjuring trick. “We added a fly,” he explains. “By then playing around with forms and colours, we were able to disguise it as a large mast”. With the Gym conceived by Kurt Lehman of Yacht Moment, Metis thus became a five-decker in a barely noticeable transition and her beautifully harmonious lines remain unsullied. Pure magic, in other words.
The result is Metis remains a sleek 63m with a distinctive plumb bow and a seemingly compact superstructure drawn back towards her stern. A large aft arch also connects all of the upper decks.“We tried to design a yacht that was first and foremost a Benetti with spare lines,” Cassetta continues. “Metis isn’t a classic yacht but she is conservative. Her profile focuses on creating a three-dimensional impact that should maintain its charm over time”. Her layout is unusual, however.
On the main deck, aside from housing the traditional saloon, there is a large children’s playroom, a two-berth kids’ cabin and a cabin for a very lucky nanny with a private saloon area and fold-out balcony. Aside from an atmospheric lounge area and a helipad forward, the upper deck is given over to the owner’s 90 sqm apartment which includes two bathrooms, one with sauna and shower, the other with a tub.
The piece de resistance though is a private 155m terrace, while the actual cabin is almost entirely surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that yield spectacular views. On the bridge deck, there is even an al fresco terrace forward for the crew plus the largest guest relaxation area aboard Metis. Guests have four two-berth staterooms on the lower deck.
Also on this level are the crew quarters and a large full-beam aft beach club with open-out side platforms. The tender garage has been moved forward and has a headroom of 2.5m to ensure secure guest transfers even in less than perfect conditions.
Although designed on spec, Bannenberg & Rowell’s interiors still offers some very exciting and striking solutions. The main and upper saloons and the beach club, for instance, have been angled at 30 degrees to the centreline. “We analysed the way guests move about aboard, their eyelines, and their need for light and outside views. It quickly became clear that they don’t move in straight lines,” explains Dickie Bannenberg. “So by choosing to divide the spaces asymmetrically, we created a less formal layout and struck the best balance between liveable spaces, furnishings and the visual perceptions of those in the interior”.
The owner chose Bavarian designer Birgit Otte to do the décor and she focused heavily on big-name designer names and custom-made furnishings. The sofas, armchairs and lights are by Fendi Casa, the chairs by Bruno Moinard,the fabrics by Rubelli and Osborne & Little, and the cushions by Nobilis and Hermès.
Because linear and unusual does not have to mean minimalist. However, as Coco Chanel liked to put it: simplicity is the keynote