The design journey of the 26.2 metre in-build Extra 86 yacht Haze started from the inside and worked its way out. The owner knew that he wanted a yacht with a “penthouse feel”, increased crew and guest integration and contemporary design throughout. Moreover, it was the interior studio Lawson Robb that was tasked with finding and commissioning the yacht itself.
One of the three luxury designers within the Allect Design Group, Lawson Robb was introduced to the entirely bespoke project by fellow Allect design studio Rigby & Rigby. The latter had already handled three residential projects for the English client, who was now on the lookout for a new-build yacht to use in the Mediterranean.
Lawson Robb is no stranger to yacht projects, having landed the interior design contract for the 55 metre in-build Royal Huisman superyacht Project Phi. The client’s brief for Haze, however, called for Lawson Robb to first select and commission the yacht’s build and then to pen its interior. It was crucial both chimed with his tastes and lifestyle. “The yacht was an extension of our relationship with the client,” says Iain Johnson, director & head of residential at Rigby & Rigby. “We have in-depth knowledge of the client’s personal tastes and were able to analyse both available boats and builds to make the decision-making process a little easier.”
Lawson Robb’s George Wolstenholme, who lead the project, began by researching models and manufacturers. It didn’t take long for him to land on the 26.2 metre Extra 86 from Extra Yachts by ISA, a brand of Palumbo Superyachts. The Extra 86 is part of a six-model line-up, which includes the Extra 76, Extra 86 Fast, Extra 93, Extra 120 Alloy and Extra 130 Alloy. But it was the Extra 86 that stood out for its GA and flow of spaces both indoor and out. Key features from the GA include a forward-set wheelhouse. “That’s unusual,” Wolstenholme explains, “and means that the saloon and aft deck feel very big.”
The resulting, more spacious aft deck is Johnson’s favourite feature on board and can be transformed into an “entertainment space with a projector for late night outdoor movies”. Palumbo Superyachts general manager Francesco Carbone adds: “The client was very focused on how to better connect the indoor saloon with the outdoor aft space in order to keep a continuity throughout the boat, allowing guests to flow uninterrupted from the different areas.”
Elsewhere, he highlighted the integration of guest and crew spaces. “The client is very hands on and less concerned about the separation of crew and guests,” Wolstenholme says. The galley, which sits aft of the main deck, is a key example of this and results in an “apartment feel”. “The client wants to be able to get up in the morning and make his breakfast or his coffee,” Wolstenholme adds. “That was something we really looked for in this GA and we didn’t see it anywhere else.” Lastly, the client had emphasised his love for Italian design. The Extra 86, a yacht built in Italy and designed by Francesco Guida, fitted the bill.
After choosing and commissioning the yacht, Lawson Robb turned its attention to the interiors and began by making a number of “little customisations to make the yacht chime with the client’s tastes,” Wolstenholme says. This included tweaks to the cabinetry and the creation of a feature area in the main saloon where the owner plans to display a favourite piece of art. Next, the studio set about creating a “contemporary but pared back” interior for Haze revolving around a colour scheme of blues and greys. The result is a “serene and calm” environment, Wolstenholme says, with “cool grey fabrics” matched with light grey veneers. These are accompanied by some darker furnishings and leathers to “to give it a bit of a punch”, Wolstenholme adds. Elsewhere, there is white marble in the bathrooms and timber floors on the main deck, with bespoke carpets on the lower deck.
The galley meanwhile is “not just a crew area,” Wolstenholme says, and is also furnished with white marble. “It feels like a contemporary residential kitchen,” he says. The “penthouse feel” stipulated by the client is achieved thanks to the panoramic glass roof of the main saloon, which also features integrated solar panels. The plentiful natural light this provides helps to increase the sense of spaciousness inside. Elsewhere, the same quality of fabrics is used throughout both the owner and guest accommodation, accessorised with Loro Piana throws. Accommodation on board is for a total of eight people in four staterooms, including the full beam owner’s suite. Lawson Robb’s bespoke design package for Haze also included bespoke cushions and throws and Orlebar Brown crew uniforms that all work to create the “Haze brand”, Wolstenholme says. “That’s all part of our service,” he says. “We create something that is completely fitting with the client and entirely bespoke.” Palumbo’s Carbone agrees, “Haze will absolutely be a one-of-a-kind yacht.”
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted Haze’s delivery schedule, but the launch is on track to coincide with the autumn boat shows. Hopefully it will only be a matter of months before Haze is cruising the Mediterranean. In the meantime, Wolstenholme hopes the project, combined with Royal Huisman’s 55 metre in-build superyacht Project Phi, will provide “a platform to do more projects on the water,” he says. “We love yacht projects because it comes in hand with a completely bespoke and tailored product and that is what gets us excited.”