With a couple of notable exceptions, yacht design is very much a male-dominated world, particularly on the interior décor side. This is why Sanlorenzo chose one of the most in-demand female names of the moment for the entry level model in its SD line: Patricia Urquiola.
“I chose Patricia because I wanted to bring a more feminine interior stamp into Sanlorenzo’s design language, something that hasn’t been done so far in the nautical world. She is currently the most sought-after women on the international design scene because of her ability to meld beauty and comfort,” explained Sanlorenzo’s executive chairman Massimo Perotti.
Although this is her first yacht, Spanish-born Patricia Urquiola knows the sea well and has used a string of fresh new styling choices to bring the marine element aboard the SD96. First and foremost is the fact that she has made spaces on all of the deck easily convertible. “Requirements change depending on the time and the number of guests aboard,” she told us. The saloon on the upper deck, for instance, can be used as a dining room, a lounge or a cinema simply by moving a few pieces of furniture around. Sliding panels in the saloon on the lower deck, on the other hand, mean it can easily convert an extra cabin with its own bathroom.
There is a sense of the sea everywhere aboard. “I very much wanted these visual references to the marine world,” Urquiola continues. “I wanted them to open to the outside world and so the furnishings had to follow suit. Starting with the wave-like ribbed wood panelling that guides us through the various rooms and creates an idea of reverberation as is the case with the entire colour palette sand to soft blue. Other subtle references include the headrest in the master staterooms which is inspired by the movement of the waves and the curtains and the stairs which reference lobster pots”, she concludes.
The tactile and textural are also hugely important aboard the SD96 and once again are linked to the sea. “At the design stage, I thought about what happens when you are at sea and how boats are lived,” explains the designers. “Because boats are always moving, you touch the walls a lot so I realised it was important to have textural finishes. You also walk around barefoot so that has to be a pleasant sensory experience”.
Like all the models in the series, the SD96 is a tri-deck but thanks to its meticulously crafted proportions and impeccable balance between design and volumes, it has the lightness and elegance of a two-decker. The SD96’s naval architecture is the work of the great Philippe Briand, while its 1930s liner-inspired exterior lines are by Bernardo Zuccon who declared: “The SD96 is like baggage with huge history and tradition but is plying a new sea in which styling cues and functions have been reinterpreted to write a fascinating new page in the life of this yard”.
To reflect Sanlorenzo’s family feeling, the SD96 has the same signature windows as the rest of the range but the glass has been covered with a One Way film at Patricia Urquiola’s request to create a clean, seamless aesthetic. This lends the surfaces a minimalist allure with deep roots in history. Because despite innovation, elegance and modernity, simplicity of line is what will always win out in yacht design. The SD entry level model may be Patricia Urquiola’s first ever boat but it is also a test she has passed with flying colours.
It has also, by her own admission, helped her grow professionally. “It took time to convince myself to design a yacht interior. I wanted to know what I was doing when I finally did it. At the same time, I always liked the idea because I adore the sea. It has always been part of my life and I was intrigued by the idea of designing around new requirements in terms of space. There were lots of challenges. I had never tackled a yacht design before but it was an absolutely fundamental growth experience,” concludes Urquiola. This first yacht proves how design can be a vital ally for the sector not so much in terms of creating cool, modern products but in bringing the sea aboard without destroying the liveability of the boat. It may be Urquiola’s first yacht but we certainly hope it will be very far from her last.