After opening up this particular commission to a variety of studios, Benetti chose Francesco Struglia, Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering for the tricky job of crafting a worthy heir to the iconic Benetti motoryachts of the 1960s, classically beautiful 20-30m craft that bewitched royalty, millionaires and rock stars (including David Bowie) alike.
Nonetheless, Benetti wasn’t asking for a mere restyling but a whole new boat that would personify the elegance, charm and nuances of those golden age yachts. The result is the Motopanfilo. Stretching 37 metres in length, this masterpiece of technology and design not only brings to mind its glorious forbearers but cleverly reinterprets their styling cues and beautifully honed details. It also retains their clean lines and the fashion plates uniting hull and superstructure.
In fact, Francesco Struglia has turned the latter into a welcoming, protective shell of sorts, while a bronze-painted bulwark ribbon aft both references and updates the wooden gunwales that were a signature of the 1960s yachts. “We drove our technical office crazy,” smiles Federico Lantero, Product Marketing & Communication Director, “until we had got a colour and a consistency that were perfect to the touch”.
That same obsessive commitment to perfection was also applied to the rest of the yacht. The stern, for instance, has not just been integrated into the hull volume in an homage to the rounded sterns of yesteryear but also incorporates a sharply angled stern hatch that both adds sleekness to exterior lines and enlarges the beach club. The latter even has a spectacular integrated shell-like covering that can be deployed to create shade or privacy.
Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickerings’s interior design is a master class too. Back in far-off 2004, they were responsible for Sai Ram, a 52m Benetti with ultramodern interiors that caused a furore in a world then dominated by the ultra-classic. This time, however, the duo has gone against that grain, transforming the Motopanfilo into the very pinnacle of classic yachting style with a very contemporary twist. “We wanted to get back to creating boats that were just that,” explains Claudio Lazzarini. “Somewhere guests could feel cocooned and protected but which still provided a new way of living the sea”.
In fact, he and Carl Pickering literally “disappeared” the walls by replacing them with a very clever interplay of mirrored surfaces that reflect the outside world but not the people aboard. They even chose to take their inspiration for the internal structure from the skeleton of a whale.
“An imaginary beam with curved forms that creates a sense of protection and welcome, and instantly makes it a boat,” continues Lazzarini. “This skeleton also helps hide the technical areas and enhances the spaces themselves”. Astute use of materials and the welcome return of natural wood on the floors and ceilings instantly evokes the nautical ambience of those yachts of the 1960s too.
The Motopanfilo welcomes 10 guests accommodated in a master suite on the main deck and four staterooms on the lower deck. For the latter Lazzarini Pickering chose to leave the curve of the walls, inverting the colours and materials used on the main. Another standout feature is the Observatory Deck, also borrowed from the 1960s yachts. Once it would have be located around the central mast but today it is a cocoon-like space where guests can take refuge from the sun by day under a hard top or do a bit of stargazing by night.
Because aboard the Motopanfilo, guests can go from the belly of a whale to being enveloped by the night sky in just two flights of stairs!