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Credit: Nuvolari Lenard

Carlo Nuvolari on why a “holistic” approach is the future of superyacht interior design

19 April 2024 • Written by Hannah Rankine for Nuvolari Lenard

According to Carlo Nuvolari and Dan Lenard, co-founders of leading Italian design studio Nuvolari Lenard, “change is not only welcome but also something actively to be sought”, leading to more forward-thinking design in the dynamic yachting market. This is why the firm has recently unveiled its new “holistic” approach to superyacht interior design. In Carlo Nuvolari’s words, this is a 360-degree approach, which signifies a departure from how a design merely looks towards a more immersive design philosophy that evokes feeling. “When you're designing an interior, of course, you want to make it pleasing in the eyes of the owner, but you must also consider the owner’s comfort and wellbeing,” he says.

BOAT International’s Hannah Rankine sits down with Carlo Nuvolari to dig deeper into what exactly this means for today’s discerning yacht owners.

Credit: Nuvolari Lenard

Connecting the interior and exterior even more

The connection between interior and exterior spaces has emerged as a defining trend in contemporary yacht design, but Nuvolari explains how he wants to take this approach even further. "When you see a yacht from the outside, you have a certain expectation of the inside. So, in this design approach, we want to achieve a continuity of feeling as you enter the interior,” he notes. “Living on a boat means wanting contact with the sea and nature, rather than having small doors that lead to a solely indoor palace.”

A pivotal element in fostering this connection is the strategic use of light. An example of this can be seen in the Orangerie of the studio’s 202-metre superyacht concept Centerfold. Here, vast expanses of glass envelop the space, blurring the distinction between inside and out and giving those on board the feeling of being outside.

Nuvolari emphasises the significance of natural materials in reinforcing this connection as well as expansive doorways that don’t interfere with the use of air-conditioning. “There are techniques, such as air walls in air conditioning systems, that allow you to keep doors open and still have air-conditioning inside," he explains. "We are also trying to air condition outside spaces.”

Credit: Nuvolari Lenard

Challenging the meaning of “sustainability”

The importance of environmental protection in the yachting industry is now more important than ever and Nuvolari is steadfast in his commitment to integrating this into his design approach. “Often, we tend to consider materials as ‘sustainable’ that actually only have the appearance of being sustainable. Other times, we condemn the use of materials only because we have limited, or tradition-distorted, information.” he observes. Using leather as an example, Nuvolari underscores the complexity of opting for greener materials, stating, "We often criticise the use of leather, preferring synthetic leathers. But we forget that leather is a by-product of the food industry that, if not used, would have to be disposed of with a serious impact on the environment.”

Similarly, Nuvolari sheds light on the nuanced debate surrounding wood usage. "We say we shouldn’t use wood because it is cut from trees, but it depends on where the tree is coming from. Is it coming from Mother Nature or is it coming from a plantation?" Emphasising the importance of supply chain transparency in assessing environmental impact, Nuvolari expresses the importance of understanding a material’s origins and global footprint before labelling it “sustainable”.

The owner’s wellbeing at the forefront

The team at Nuvolari Lenard is acutely aware of the impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the lingering release of toxic substances within yacht interiors - a pressing concern in civil engineering that is often overlooked in the yachting sector. Addressing this issue, Nuvolari outlines potential solutions, stating, “The first step is to ensure that the materials used do not contain solvents that release gases over an extended period.” He highlights the varying behaviour of materials, noting, “There are materials that still release gases but age quickly, so they lose their harmful substances rapidly. Other adhesives emit gases gradually, potentially exposing the owner to toxins over time." To mitigate this risk, Nuvolari Lenard conducts thorough assessments of each material, tailoring solutions to individual cases.

Nuvolari expressed that the studio is now adopting this new “holistic” design approach in each and every one of its projects, ensuring the highest quality superyacht interiors for all clients.

For more information on Nuvolari Lenard’s interior design offerings, contact the design studio today.