The 40m Low Profile is a sumptuous villa at sea
by Tim Thomas
Low Profile’s grey and white exterior colour scheme may reflect the inconspicuous name, but her interior is anything but standard. The proposition of Italian Sea Group's 40 metre Tecnomar Nadara superyacht is relatively simple: an all-aluminium, planing tri-deck motor yacht offering a top speed of up to 27 knots, featuring a moderately traditional layout, with guest cabins on the lower deck, a main deck master suite forward, main and upper deck saloons, and ample exterior areas for guests to enjoy. The execution, however, is not.
Low Profile's marble laden interior
“The quantity of marble you will see on board is, I think, pretty much unique,” warns Claudio Corvino, a naval architect who works in The Italian Sea Group’s sales department, as we approach her in the large dock at the Marina di Carrara facility. “The owner basically added several tonnes more to the standard weight with marble and onyx. The initial brief and part of the design was made by the owner’s own designer, who does his villas and hotels – he’s also in that business – but was finalised in cooperation with our in-house Centro Stile design group.”
Adding such a huge quantity of marble created a test of the skills of the interior fit-out team. “The detailing on this boat is quite accurate,” enthuses Giulio Pennacchio, general director at The Italian Sea Group. “It might not be to everyone’s taste but it’s nice to see it because of the finish. It presented quite a challenge. Soon after finding the marble we needed two to three weeks per room to work out the floor pattern and everything else. Even the floor in the galley is a piece of art – and, of course, it features marble tops so it’s perfect for making pastry. There is even marble in the crew area, as sometimes the owner’s nephews and nieces spend time down there.”
In total, more than 10 types of marble and onyx were used in creating the sumptuous yet elegant interiors, ranging from honey, shadow and white cloudy onyx to gold calacatta and a rare China green marble. The effect, however, is not as overwhelming as it might sound on Low Profile.
The marble, combined with the liberal use of mirrors on both bulkheads and deckheads, does create a lot of gloss, but the colour palette remains largely warm: light and dark eucalyptus provides the framework for the marble and, aside from the red dining-table chairs and silver sofas and armchairs, the colour accents come from the marble itself, the extensive collection of distinctive Fernando Botero paintings and, in the case of the guest cabins, the fabrics used in the bedding. Low Profile really does feel like a villa – and considering the superyacht will spend much of its time in the balmy climate of South America, the cool stone starts to make sense.
Superyacht Low Profile's Performance
The yard worked hard to incorporate all this marble in a planing superyacht without having too much of an impact on performance, using techniques picked up from the aeronautical sector.
“Sometimes, and especially with the onyx, we couldn’t use light marble – especially in the saloon and on the staircase,” explains Massimo Ragone, engineering vice-director. “It had an impact – but the owner knew that and still wanted it. For him, this was about creating a second house on the sea, following his taste. It probably cost a bit of boat speed, but it’s still not bad. The client is happy.”
Aside from the penalty in outright speed, there was a much more complex problem to overcome: the effect the distribution of the added weight would have on trim.
“Low Profile was already 200 tonnes with big engines and systems,” Ragone continues. “The big complication in developing this project has been to maintain consistency between the preliminary load line and the owner’s requirements. The marble has always been one of the main issues to consider from the very first brief. We designed the hull waterline so the boat would have the right trim, optimising the hull with tunnels which have made the total propulsion system more efficient.”
Low Profile's customisation
The marble on board is not the only customisation that the owner specified: the layout, too, has had changes over the stock design. The main deck remains relatively true to the standard general arrangement, with a saloon containing a dining area on the main deck and an owner’s suite forward. The main saloon features a bar that also serves the aft deck social area, comprising loose seating. The dining table itself is something of a work of art, hewn from a slab of quartz and back-lit for added effect. It makes a big impact.
A welcoming foyer with feature Botero painting and a sculpted figurine leads through to the owner’s suite, which has a walk-in wardrobe before the carpeted sleeping area proper. Stretching the full beam of the luxury yacht, with three large ports either side flooding the area with light, pride of place is given to an inviting bed complete with draw-around net curtains.
A comfortable sofa nestles under the windows, while to starboard is a dressing table. Muted blue-grey colours contrast with the warm light, dark woods and the cream, cross-hatch carpet to generate an understated luxury, while the bedside tables and dressing tables – of course – feature thin marble tops. A twin en suite bathroom with central shower completes the owner’s quarters.
The four guest cabins are found on the lower deck, accessed via the rich, marble staircase. Two doubles mirror each other, while a twin cabin lies to port and a customised double sits to starboard. This guest double has not only the conventional sleeping area with en suite, but the bulkhead that usually divides the crew area from the guest suites was moved forward. The third lower crew cabin was sacrificed to create a study-cum-sitting room, and a sofa bed and Pullman mean the extra space can be used as a children’s cabin for visiting families.
Each of the guest cabins on Low Profile features its own colour scheme, with fabrics and bed linen reflected in the colour of marble used for the en suites. In those en suites, the complicated floor pattern arrangement – comprising marble, stainless steel and mosaic – hints at the level of craftsmanship that was required to finish the yacht to the owner’s brief.
For the upper saloon, a mirrored ceiling reflects the ornate marble work in the floor, adding an extra sense of space. The bar is complemented by a longitudinal cabinet that also houses the giant television screen, facing a comfortable sofa. The sofa itself converts to a further double bed, giving Low Profile's upper saloon a dual purpose. Ostensibly an occasional cabin for guests or for staff such as a bodyguard, the upper-deck dayhead has also been reconfigured to include a shower, effectively creating a self contained en suite.
Even in the wheelhouse on the upper deck the sumptuous marble has been carried through – this is one of the few luxury yachts afloat that features a marble floor on the bridge. While it might raise a few eyebrows among salted seadogs, it does add an impressive air of elegance to this functional space, and effectively makes it an additional guest area. The captain’s cabin, aft of the wheelhouse, acts as a third crew cabin to the two on the lower deck.
Low Profile's Exterior design
For Low Profile's exterior, the layout is slightly more conventional. A spa pool on the sundeck offers guests the chance to enjoy the sun with a view, while the shade of the radar arch provides protection for the comfortable seating area and a fixed wet bar.
A cosy dining area serves as the perfect spot to enjoy a snack, while the upper aft deck offers a 12-seat dining table for more formal alfresco gatherings. Sun-chairs forward of the wheelhouse enjoy a view with the chance of a refreshing breeze. From there, the foredeck is accessed via steps and a passageway set into the master suite coachroof.
Low Profile carries a main tender and two jet skis in an aft garage. Here, too, the owner opted for a more traditional arrangement and it is only when the tender and toys are in the water that this area converts to a full beach club. Access to the water is aided by transformer steps from the aft platform.
To get good performance from Low Profile, twin MTU 12V 4000 M93L engines are used for the grunt, housed in a competent engine room with separate control room for the engineer.
Low Profile is anything but simple
The fact that, in spite of the engineering headaches posed by all that marble, Low Profile still manages a decent top speed speaks volumes for the achievement of The Italian Sea Group. Further, the level of detail in her interior finish is impressive, from the complex patterns of the marble work to the custom loose furniture designed and built by the yard itself.
And there, perhaps, is the real answer to the question of what happens when you add a villa interior to a series superyacht design. "Low profile" she may be from the outside, but she’s a high-profile mark of what The Italian Sea Group team can achieve.