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96m Air

Is this the ultimate beach on board?

4 April 2022

As outdoor living takes priority among superyacht owners, Nauta Yachts steps up with a concept so novel they were able to patent it

Mario Pedol, Design CEO of Nauta Yachts, has always been ahead of the curve. Years before “holistic design” and “seamless integration of indoors and out” became common phrases in flowery yacht editorials, Pedol was designing superyachts that gave as much consideration to outdoor living as the interiors. Now he has created a patented concept that just might represent the pinnacle of his avant-garde thinking.

96m Air

A sailing background is partially to thank. Nauta Yachts had been focused on sailing yacht design for its first 20 years in business. So when Pedol, who co-founded the firm, was asked to shift his attention to the motor yacht market for the first time in 2006, he applied a sailing perspective – one where guests always enjoyed a 360-degree view of the sea when on deck.

Project Light, the 90-metre he conceived, reduced the bulk of the superstructure so half the LOA was dedicated to open-air decks. It was quite the departure from the interior-focused designs of the time, which gave perhaps a quarter of the real estate to outdoor guest spaces. Pedol also greatly increased the amount of glazing so the views out were enhanced and the boundaries between the inside and out were blurred. The design promoted an entirely different lifestyle for a yacht this size.

78m Slipstream

“We had total freedom in the design and we came with an open mind,” says Pedol. “When you go that big, you risk losing contact with everything that is around you. We wanted to maintain a similar relationship (as sailing yachts) – as close as possible to the nature around the yacht, to the environment and to the sea.”

Many motor yacht owners are searching for that connection today, but 15 years ago, the design was so unconventional that only the most sophisticated and prescient brokers understood it. Project Light put Nauta Yachts on these brokers’ radar and they started to consider the Italian firm for design proposals. The core philosophy that got their attention – of clean, elegant design emphasizing outdoor living and interior/exterior interconnectedness – remains steadfast.

Project Light

“Since then, these have always remained our key points in any exterior design, regardless of size,” Pedol says.

Fast forward to 2016 when a progressive client asked for a 75-metre motor yacht where easy sea access was integral to the design. “Normally you would find a swimming pool on the main deck aft,” says Pedol. “[The client] was arguing what is the sense in having a pool when you have the whole sea around you.” So Pedol drew Project Dune’s aft section with stairs that cascade like a waterfall into the sea. Then he got an idea. He thought about having sections of the topsides that could flip down to substantially enlarge the swim platform’s dimensions. And “The Island” was born.

Project Slipstream

‘The Island” concept builds upon the idea of opening shell doors that create terraces to port and starboard of the beach club. By adding opening side bulwarks that link the aft platform to the side terraces, guests can fully walk around the beach and enter the interior from multiple points. It’s the ultimate blend of indoors and out, and being right at the waterline, it’s as close a connection to nature as you can get.

Nauta Yachts was awarded a patent for “The Island” and they are applying the concept on many of their projects, up to a 96-metre called Project Air. Another project, 70-metre Moonflower, shows the option of incorporating a saltwater pool into the platform, featuring a hydraulic lifting floor that becomes flush with the deck when the pool is not in use.

Project Slipstream

Soon “The Island” will be more than a concept, as Pedol confirms a client is currently canvassing builders to turn it into reality.

It’s a sign of changing times. Why people buy or charter a yacht has evolved over the years, Pedol points out. It used to be about showing off a floating palace with an amazing interior. Now more and more owners are thinking about how they live on board and how they can enjoy quality time with their family and friends.

It seems the world has caught up with Pedol’s vision.