While many naval architects hope their body of work will be their legacy, there actually have been a few dynasties – Nicholson, Herreshoff, Tripp and Frers. The world of superyacht interiors claims two – Bannenberg and Zuccon, but there is only one in which two generations are practicing in the same field and in the same studio today.
In the introduction to the biography of Zuccon International Project, the firm Giovanni Zuccon founded with Paola Galeazzi, his wife, Zuccon wrote that he ‘always considers a project to be an instrument of knowledge: a process within which one’s personal convictions and doubts may be continuously modified or confirmed.’ The fact that he considers his life, including his family, to be a project, gives a clue to the unique perspective he brings to design.
Zuccon and Galeazzi met as architecture students and founded their own studio more than 30 years ago. While initially their work was land-based (they designed all the buildings for the European Space Agency), now their work is 70 per cent yachts. They complement one another; she is a pragmatist, he is a planner as likely to ponder the relationship of a structure to its culture or to quote Marcel Breuer about spatiality.
In 1975, Posillipo Shipyards approached them about contributing to recreational boat projects. They rejected the idea due to their inexperience with boats until the yard convinced them that their total lack of exposure to boats – ‘intellectual virginity’ they called it – was what Posillipo desired.
For guidance, they were told to ‘keep in mind that a boat had a bow and a stern and that the whole must allow man to live comfortably when sailing.’
In a few days, they produced drawings of interiors that showed the innovation and viability Posillipo sought. Studio Zuccon turned the traditional yacht layout on its head, and did the unthinkable in the process: they designed a boat to correspond to the yard’s production objectives and factory systems, and made it customizable by the clients. The Technema 65 was presented at the 1978 Genoa International Boat Show.
In 1990, Norberto Ferretti and his late brother, Alessandro, happened to see the detail drawings of a Technema 48 while the prototype was under construction near their yard in Fano, Italy. Ferretti comes from a craft industry tradition where design is integral to both the development and the construction of the product. Although Ferretti was moving toward mass production, it saw design focused on the rapidly evolving seagoing lifestyle as the way forward.