This New 279-Foot Gigayacht Concept Comes With Its Own Revolving Lounge
“Project Life” wants to reinvent onboard living by reinterpreting many givens of yacht design. The builder also announced other cutting-edge projects at the Monaco Yacht Show.
Italian superyacht builder Benetti announced five new projects at the Monaco Yacht Show, all collaborations with leading independent designers. Giovanna Vitelli, chair of the Azimut-Benetti Group, hosted the event. Benetti is celebrating its 150th anniversary as a shipbuilder.
Project Life, a 279-foot custom concept, paired Espen Øino’s exterior with Francois Zuretti for the interiors. “All the spaces aboard Project Life are designed for a new kind of social entertainment with large convivial areas and reconfigurable meeting places on each deck,” said Vitelli. “The outstanding example is the large revolving lounge that changes its focal point according to the time of the day.”
Øino said Project Life was designed around the concept of “alfresco living,” with his focal point being the exterior of the yacht. “People are finally realising that they live most of the time outside,” he said. “Most yachts are not designed to reflect that. And it gets more difficult because [with larger yachts] you’re getting higher above the water.”
Project Life has many new features, but its most interesting is a massive foldout swim platform with “activity zones” on either side of the beach club as well as a marina along the side. Above the transom is a large swimming pool, with transparent glass facing the stern, joined to a raised area for outdoor dining.
On the interior, Zuretti chose to optimise natural light and use curved lines wherever possible to keep the interior feeling “organic” and more reflective of a yacht. “We wanted a friendly interior but always with a connection to the exterior,” he said.
Zuretti has penned many Benetti interiors over the years. But this is the first collaboration between Øino, considered a megastar of gigayacht design, and the Italian brand. The Norwegian designer said the brief would be “a hard act to follow,” given Benetti’s 150-year history. Project Life could also provide a “new design language” for the Italian builder, he added. The 279-footer will have diesel-electric propulsion in an optimised hull. Integrated solar panels will power the hotel systems and electric tenders.
Benetti also announced a new “Veranda” deck that follows its “Oasis” deck—a long platform at the transom that served as the signature feature for its Oasis series. The yard partnered with U.K. designers RWD for a much-needed “reinterpretation” of the enclosed main-deck lounge. “This space has seen almost no change in the past 50 years and has fallen behind—mostly due to excessive formality,” said Vitelli. The Veranda concept, she added, opens the space on three sides, creating a continuity between the upper lounge and stern with no bulkheads.
“The idea is to have a great place to dine and entertain and be a seamless connection all the way from the stern of the boat well into the interior,” said Charlie Baker, a principal designer at RWD behind the concept.
The Veranda deck will be offered on Benetti’s Motopanfilo 45M, which Benetti also announced during the event. The 148-foot steel yacht has an exterior by RWD and interior by Lazzarini Pickering Architetti. The Rome-based firm also did the interior of the 121-foot Motopanfilo.
Project Oro, a collaboration between Benetti and exterior designer Giorgio Cassetta, has a “sophisticated purity,” according to Vitelli. Valentina Zannier’s interior is an even more radical departure. The designer combined the hull’s natural curves with subtle features to create a stylized interior.
The beach club is a perfect example, with the U-shaped ceiling, teak floor, and curved wood beams, along with loose furniture that can be rearranged for different functions. It is like a tunnel looking out over the water.
The fourth project was a new 180-foot model in the brand’s B.Yond line. “It will be the second in the voyager series,” said Vitelli. “This is not just a superyacht or explorer, but a new category for owners who want to travel the world without giving up on the pleasure of yachting.”
Paolo Vitelli, the longtime chairman of the company and his design collaborator, Stefano Righini, created the initial 121-foot vessel in the B.Yond series. But responsibility for this new 180-footer has been passed to Giovanna and designer Igor Lobanov. The designer said the exterior was inspired by the clean lines of large SUVs. “Optical illusions, such as using more curves and hiding windows, will make the exterior look bigger than it is,” he said.
Each of the five decks will have a distinct use to ensure privacy for the guests, while the “fluidity” of the interior’s asymmetrical layouts will create more space and improved functionality. “Our main task was to maximise its features and activities, so there’s a greater feeling of comfort during longer stays on board,” said Lobanov.
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