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High Design on the High Seas

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Photos by Thierry Ameller

When it comes to sleek styling, Italians have always had a knack for making anything and everything beautiful.  The same rings true for Hot Lab Studio’s new yacht, the Columbus Sport Hybrid 40M.  As the only yacht to be named winner of three separate 2014 ShowBoats Design Awards—including Interior Design, Holistic Design, and the Environmental Protection Award—this project was a feat of excellence in design and style.

Coming from different design backgrounds with experience in industrial, automotive, and interior design (among others), Michele Dragoni, Enrio Lumini, and Antonio Romano use their collective knowledge and creative spirits to shape each stunning custom yacht. We caught up with Lumini to hear about the challenges of designing yachts and the passion that went into the Columbus Sport Hybrid 40M.

What do you think makes designing yachts so challenging and different than designing something on land?

This is a frequent issue, even among architects and colleagues. We are now dealing with the complete renovation of a 2,500-square-meter office building for example, which basically means at least four times the size of a 60-meter yacht, but believe me, the amount of time, of attention, of details between the two projects is not even comparable.

I’m not saying that buildings, or specifically office buildings, are easier. I’m saying that designing a yacht simply has a variety of aspects a general complexity that is way above the standards.  There is no centimeter in a yacht which is not designed, discussed, modified, and designed again. It's also a process that implies the perfect cooperation of many people, most of the times coming from different countries, each of them with its own way of working and thinking about the project. The yacht designer has the incredibly challenging task of, each time, adapting his way of working to all these people, because he will be the final personal responsible for the project's good results.

How would you describe the experience of designing this yacht from start to finish?

The design process of this yacht has been quite immediate I would say. Meaning that, besides the normal changes and modifications done along the process, the initial idea was so defined and clear that the entire process could be defined simply as a fine-tuning. Sometimes the good idea comes at once, and you just need to follow it.

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