9 ways Florence inspires yacht designers

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The city

Luca Dini Design - Growing up in Florence means its culture is a constant reference

Images courtesy of Luca Dini Design

The highly anticipated World Superyacht Awards 2018 are set to take place in Florence for the final time in May. This beautiful city is famous the world over for its rich history of art, architecture and creativity but did you also know it is home to some of the industry’s top superyacht designers? Here Luca DiniFrancesco Paszkowski and Tommaso Spadolini take us on a virtual tour of their favourite Florentine cultural landmarks and explain how the city provides endless inspiration for their work.

Luca Dini Design

“In Florence there are so many beautiful places and art works that can be a source of inspiration, not only for architects or art enthusiasts, but for anybody. It is common practice for Florentine children to visit museums and historic buildings on school tours. Over the years, all this art becomes part of you and stays with you forever; to walk around the city among the many monuments allows you to have a continued, daily relationship with beauty, formal perfection and culture.

Florence is a cradle of art and to live in it day by day can only help us in our work. Personally I see these masterpieces not as distant icons and an end in themselves, but as an important part of my work and my life. When I begin a new project they come naturally to my mind as points of reference.”

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The culture

Luca Dini admires Florence’s Renaissance architecture

“Of course Florence is internationally known for its artistic and architectural treasures; everybody knows about the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and Michelangelo's David. Countless people travel thousands of miles to see Florence’s famous works but there are also some very special masterpieces that are not often part of the tourist itineraries.

The abbey church of San Miniato al Monte (pictured on previous slide), located in one of the highest points of Florence, is one of the best examples of Florentine Romanesque architecture. Its construction began around the year 1000 but continued through several centuries and is the perfect example of how to balance many different precious materials.

La Certosa (pictured), located in the Florence outskirts on Mount Acuto, has played a very important role in many of my projects. Its designer, Le Corbusier, was inspired by the building’s wonderful setting and is particularly famous for its smart management of small spaces - an issue that has to be constantly tackled in my work as a yacht designer.

Finally Villa Le Corti, the 15th Century stately home located in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, has also had a great influence on me. There is nothing superfluous, unnecessary or out of place on this beautiful villa; only perfect proportions, elegance and rigour in architectural design which are crucial features in the development of my executive projects."

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The yacht

_Sea Force One_ represents Florence’s joy of design

“To compare a yacht to the masterworks of Florence runs the risk of sounding blasphemous. However, when I think of Sea Force One and the way it often creates amazement in the viewer – notwithstanding the modernity of its interiors – I feel it conveys a desire to tell the world "here's the joy of design”. Sea Force One combines light, colour, the wish to be surrounded by works of art and the search for innovative forms - all this can be found in Florence during the Renaissance and through the ages.”

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The city

For Francesco Paszkowski Florence is an artist’s paradise

Image courtesy of Francesco Paszkowski Design

“I really think it is a privilege to live and to grow up in Florence if you like art. It’s like living in Sardinia or on the Garda lake if you like sailing.”

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The culture

Francesco Paszkowski on Palazzo Davanzati

“I first discovered the Palazzo Davanzati (pictured) more than 25 years ago, at the beginning of my career, while visiting Florence with my father. It was built in the 14th Century as the residence of the Davizzi family and lies right at the heart of the city.

I was very impressed by the building. It represents a stage of transition between the closed, vertical structure of the medieval tower-house and the more spacious Renaissance palazzo, arranged around a central courtyard. Each space of the house contains interesting collections of furniture, sculptures and paintings that demonstrate what life in a Florentine house was like at that time. The Palazzo is a connection between the past and the present and a brilliant example of the culture and wealth of the Florentine merchants.”

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The yacht

Florentine architecture is a lesson in how to combine indoor and outdoor spaces

“Creating exterior and interior spaces which work as a single timeless combination has always been a priority in my yacht designs, including Pachamama, Saramour and Suerte (pictured). A great yacht design should always look impressive on the outside and be cosy on the inside – something which classic Florentine homes achieve effortlessly.”

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The city

Florence’s sea-faring history is the ideal backdrop for Tommaso Spadolini

Image courtesy of Design Studio Spadolini

“Florence has a long history with boats and sea-faring. Since the golden age of the Renaissance Florentines have travelled the world, for example, Amerigo Vespucci, an explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer who first discovered that the West Indies did not represent Asia's eastern outskirts and Giovanni da Verrazano who explored most of the eastern coast of North America and discovered the Hudson Bay.

Inside Palazzo Vecchio there is a special room called Sala dei Mappamondi which contained secrets that were only to be seen by the Republic’s High Official. In this room were the most precise and up-to-date geographical maps of the time and these were invaluable for the strategic advance of Florence’s merchants and bankers. This history and the possibility of walking around a city that encompasses so many examples of design and art that still influence our way of thinking is a great privilege which, I’m sure, have conditioned my designs.”

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The culture

Spadolini is inspired by Florentine designer Filippo Brunelleschi

“For me a source of great inspiration is the work of Filippo Brunelleschi, the Florentine designer who is recognised as the first modern engineer. He was the oldest amongst the founding fathers of the Renaissance and is generally known for designing the unique and technologically advanced dome of the Florence Cathedral.

However, he is also the architect behind the Ospedale degli Innocenti (pictured). The façade of this building is made up of nine semicircular arches springing from composite columns that are complemented by semicircular windows. In the spandrels of the arches are glazed blue terracotta roundels with reliefs of babies designed by Andrea della Robbia suggesting the function of the building – the first orphanage and hospital for children in Florence. There is an emphasis on the horizontal because the building is longer than it is tall and this clean and clear sense of proportion is reflected in the building.”

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The yacht

Florence’s architecture has led to Spadolini abandoning high sterns

“Inspiration comes from many different sources and you often stumble across it accidentally. It can be in the form of interesting landscapes, rocks, trees or it can be an insect, a car, a helicopter, a building, an old ship or a vintage yacht - pretty much anything with interesting functions, shapes or details. But I must be honest, I grew up in Florence - the place where Renaissance was conceived and developed - and this always informs my designs.

I’ve learned a lot by observing Brunelleschi’s works in a critical way and I now try to design yachts that re-establish contact with the water. This is perhaps the main reason that I’ve abandoned the idea of a high stern that forms a wall between the sea and the people on board. Now I make low cockpits, for example those on Aslec 4, that create a relationship with the sea while maintaining a high degree of safety under sail.”

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