6 ways Cristiano Gatto transformed Heesen Project Nova
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The brief

When the 49.8 metre in-build Heesen yacht Project Nova was sold to a passionate yacht enthusiast in July 2016, the owner chose to bring in a new interior designer, a decision which kick-started a whirlwind couple of months for the Cristiano Gatto Design Team.

The highly experienced Italian designer was given a clear brief for creating a clean, modern interior, but it was important not to disrupt the on-going construction work at the Oss-based yard.

Speaking to Boat International, Gatto revealed: “Everything happened very quickly. On Sunday afternoon I got the call, on Monday I was at the shipyard, on Tuesday I was flying over to meet the client on another continent. Two weeks later we presented the project with the requested additions.

“We changed the palette of colours, the materials, some details of the construction; whatever was possible to transform it and create the mood that the client was trying to achieve.”

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The upper saloon

The most noticeable area to receive a redesign was the upper saloon on Project Nova, which reflects the owner’s preferred lifestyle on board

“In the upper deck saloon we completely changed the concept — we emptied the saloon completely, designed a new bar area and brought the exterior teak into the interior to create a lounge that is more like a veranda, using exterior furniture on the interior," Gatto explained.

As a result, Project Nova boast a near-seamless flow between the upper lounge and the aft deck dining area. “This will be a great place to chill out and a major part of life on board,” Gatto added. “The idea is to be able to lie down on the sofas in the upper saloon and watch TV with a wet swimming costume on.”

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The dining area

The crisp modern dining area is another fine example of how Gatto has transformed the aesthetic of Project Nova. The designer revealed that he drew inspiration from a visit to the client’s residence.

“I flew over to where the client was, I spent a couple of days in his house talking about the project, the boat, the style that he likes, the kind of lifestyle that he has, and the kind of ideas he has about how he wants to spend his life on board.”

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The main saloon

Construction on Project Nova’s main saloon had already reached an advanced stage by the time Gatto came on board, but that did not mean that there was no room left for customisation.

“We completely changed the bulkheads on the main deck saloon, and this allowed us to create a china cabinet in the dining area and introduce decorative stainless steel elements into the woodwork,” he continued.

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The main deck

Gatto was also responsible for exterior deck furniture on Project Nova, which continues the theme of relaxed outdoor living.

“The idea is to make it a boat where people can enjoy all three decks as one continuous space,” he said. Central to this conceit is the main deck cockpit, which features the same style of furniture as the upper lounge and the superyacht beach club, reinforcing the connection between these three key areas.

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The lobby

Glass is an increasingly important part of yacht design, both for interiors and exteriors, and Project Nova continues this trend with a stunning glass-sided lobby. Gatto reveals that Heesen was able to modify its construction methods for this area, adding more glass and hence letting even more light in to naturally illuminate the interiors.

Speaking about his longstanding relationship with the Heesen technical team, the Italian designer added: “It’s easy for us to communicate with them and to achieve the result that we want. They bring the Northern European influence, we bring the Southern European influence, and the compromise between the two works very well.”

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