When you set about trying to recreate an icon, you had better take care because you may be walking on hallowed ground. No wonder, then, that all eyes have been on Benetti as the Italian shipyard relaunches the much-loved Motopanfilo yacht which made its name in the 1960s.
Inside the Motopanfilo: Benetti's 1960s inspired yacht model
At the first glance, it is clear that the new 37m hull is no simple exercise in retro design. It is built of fibreglass, for instance, and features a pool and a generous drop-down bathing platform – unknown in this size bracket in the 60s.
The interior is fitted with cutting-edge entertainment, LED lighting, and the very latest in navigational capabilities. And yet, renowned architectural designers Lazzarini and Pickering, along with Francesco Struglia, have created a yacht that has much in common with its forebears.
“It exudes another age of elegance and timelessness,” says Carl Pickering. “The idea of a new classicism was what we wanted to interpret in designing the interior and exterior deck areas. We have a very architectural approach to how we structure the spaces. The bulkheads and ribs were an element, but we are in the third millennium, so we have also given them a functional meaning too, as part of the lighting system of the boat.”
The forward part of the hull soars upwards to envelop the superstructure in a smooth shell whose unbroken lines integrate portlights and windows. Aft, the designers have allowed a deeply chamfered bulwark ‘ribbon’, painted bronze, to emphasise the sheer glass of the main salon in a homage to the materials of the 1960s.
Glass bulwarks on the upper decks protect languid seating that afford some of the best views on board, all without adding mass to the superstructure. And Benetti has found a very elegant solution in the way the transom folds down to reveal a beach club. A classic Hamptons-style beach canopy folds out like an accordion in glittering stainless steel and pale fabric. It’s a beautiful touch.
The interior makes further nods to the Sixties. Eschewing low-profile modern materials, the designers have unashamedly used visible frames to support the upper decks. Benetti likens them to the ribs of a whale and they lend an aura of solidity to the interior, artfully accommodating mirrors to give a sense of space. Custom-designed furniture has a timeless feel that invites you to get comfortable, while the five double cabins employ classic natural textures and materials to create warm spaces.