Touring the Riva 90 Argo with Officina Italiana Design

27 April 2021· Laura Nicholls

Back in 2019, the 28.5-metre Riva 90 Argo was launched in Miami as the brand’s all-new flybridge motor yacht. Once again, Riva worked with its long-time design partner Officina Italiana Design on the new superyacht to help combine familiar touches from her larger sisters with a unique and dynamic style. Two people who know the yacht well are the founders of studio Officina Italiana Design, Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta, and so, the design duo gave BOAT their pick of a few of the standout characteristics onboard the contemporary flybridge superyacht.

Layout options

The Riva 90 Argo was developed with an alternative layout designed especially for the American market to include a unique cockpit area complete with a bar, lounge area and custom Paola Lenti coffee table. More options for the interior layout are available, including a variation for up to five guest cabins on the lower deck.

Timeless Riva design

“For design in general, we believe in long-lasting design. We don’t tend to create something that is on-trend, as it will then go out of fashion. By giving our clients something that can stand the test of time we feel it is a form of respect,” comments Mauro. Knowing the timeless Riva design well, Mauro adds: “It was a challenge to not lean on the Riva legacy and create something new for the Riva 90 Argo.” Instead, nods to the Riva style is been incorporated into her fluent and eye-catching sporty lines, elegance and generous spaces, Italian decoration and standout features such as “the glass structure of the cockpit ­– which allows occupants to see the sea even when they are sitting down or dining,” Mauro points out.

Legendary name

“The name Argo came after the design was completed and we understood her characteristics,” explains Sergio. Inspired by the vessel of the famous Argonauts (historically the first ship to sail the seas), Argo is also the Italian name for Argos, which is one of the largest cities in Greece. For the designers, the main inspiration for their designs is art. “We don’t go to boat shows! Instead, we visit museums to find what we need to design. Art comes from beauty, and is not distracted by purpose,” he adds.

Harmonious spaces

With features such as optimised aerodynamic qualities, large hull windows and the ability to reach up over 26 knots, the design of the Riva 90 Argo required plenty of fine tuning. “In yacht design, the interior and exterior must match,” says Sergio. The features that needed to be onboard lent themselves well to the “sporty, but classic” design, and serves those owners and families that tend to be drawn to the flybridge-style very well. “This is an open-plan design for a family to enjoy what a typical, but special, flybridge yacht and alfresco living at sea has to offer. There is a good balance between interior and exterior spaces for this reason,” Sergio adds – a sentiment echoed by Mauro: “As part of the flybridge yacht category, Argo has quite an unusually fine balance between her interiors and exteriors, and particularly meticulous attention to detail in the design of the surfaces. Her spaces are just right and beautifully harmonised: the forward cabin, the saloon, the fly, and the aft cockpit are all perfectly balanced even in terms of the choice of materials.”

Fun features

To enhance life on the water, the Riva 90 Argo can accommodate a Williams Sportjet 395 tender and a Jetski in her garage, both of which can be launched independently. Guests can also make use of the six-square-metre swimming platform for a convenient stairway into the water, whereas up above, the yacht’s sheltered cockpit can easily adapt to the needs of all those onboard – whether that be for socialising, taking it easy or for evening dining at the low central table. Connecting the cockpit with the flybridge and forward outdoor area is the “infinity deck” design which provides an uninterrupted length of living areas running from the stern to the foredeck described by Sergio as “sleek, despite the fact that she is a wide-body craft. These details have made an impact in this segment.” Also, in the starboard helm station, the owner can choose to join the captain and learn about the electro-hydraulic steering system and integrated LOOP bridge.

Elite materials

On board the first Riva 90 Argo, the iconic Riva style is maximised by materials such as lacquer, wood, leather and steel on the main and lower decks. The main type of wood used is English walnut to complement the dark tones of the ceiling, the leather furniture coverings and the lighter hues of the parquet, fabrics, sofas and upholstery. Mirrored steel surfaces appear on the structural columns on the sides of the vessel, a number of items of furniture on the main deck, the stairway down to the guests’ area and the associated lobby. These metallic accents are soothed by the neutral tones of the furnishings, such as the white leather covering the beds, headboard walls and bedside tables. “Colours are an important detail and a way to emphasise surfaces and details. In design, colours can help maximise or minimise details. It is a huge element of any design,” remarks Mauro.