“The part of architecture that interests me the most is found in sociology and ethics: it is about addressing a human being with human needs.” So says Francesca Muzio, Genoa-born architect and entrepreneur, and co-founder of celebrated interior design studio, FM Architettura d’Interni. SuperYacht Times had the pleasure of interviewing Muzio alongside her business partner and husband, Luca Boldrini, who is best known in the industry for his roles as Brand Manager for Pershing, CRN Sales Director and Perini Navi Sales Director. Photo: FM ArchitetturaHitting the yachting headlines recently for their selection as lead interior designers for the 293-metre private residential Espen Øino-designed superyacht Njord, FM Architettura came into being in 2010. Since then, they have been responsible for over 150 bespoke design projects across 14 countries and 19 cities worldwide, covering yachting, hospitality and high-end residential projects. Prior to the birth of FM Architettura, which has an office in Milan and is headquartered in Ancona, Muzio carried the accolade of having managed the design of 112 superyachts during her stint as Creative Director at CRN and Custom Line, of the Ferretti Group. Fast forward to today, and Muzio has accrued more than 20 years of interior design experience, including recent projects with Feadship and Mandarin Oriental. Photo: FM ArchitetturaJoining forces
For Muzio, design has always been a collaborative exercise, with her early career alliances including cruise ship design legend Giacomo Mortola, Italian architect Renzo Piano, and the design studio 5+1 Architetti Associati. This trend has been imbued into the way Muzio manages FM Architettura today, working alongside artisans local to the studio in Ancona. “We have created a network of more than 300 artisans in our studio: we design and make our beautiful bespoke pieces with them,” Muzio explains.Photo: FM Architettura
As Boldrini articulates, this endeavour is also about protecting a distinctly Italian culture of craftsmanship which would otherwise be vulnerable to being swallowed up by the pressures of modernisation. “This is a patrimony of our country. If it is not fed, it will disappear, and it is something we need to sustain. We have a responsibility towards preserving our culture.”Photo: FM ArchitetturaPhoto: FM ArchitetturaSafeguarding sustainability
For both Muzio and Boldrini, this sense of responsibility also extends to sustainable practice in yacht design: an impulse which predated, but was encouraged by, the global pandemic. “The pandemic has made people understand that there is a need to safeguard our health, our minds, and our world. Architects and designers have been pushed to create something sustainable,” Boldrini says. As a consequence, FM Architettura is implementing bio-cabinetry alongside other sustainable practices.Photo: FM ArchitetturaPhoto: FM ArchitetturaUnfinished beauty
As you might expect for someone with well over 100 superyachts in her portfolio, Muzio maintains incredibly high standards across all of her designs. This does not mean, however, that every project needs to have all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed. In fact, one of FM Architettura’s most recent projects represents a radical departure from concept of completion or closure in yacht design. As Muzio explains: “It is an expedition yacht for a gentleman and his family, and we will not finish this interior design, because it will be completed with objects that the owner will find on his travels around the world.”Photo: FM ArchitetturaAs we slowly usher in a post-pandemic world in which travelling with your family embodies both the ultimate luxury and ultimate freedom, there are certain designers who are listening carefully to the needs of their clients and reshaping superyacht design accordingly. Here, Muzio offers the final word: “Memories are the most important design details that you can ever have on board, and these need to be collected. You can drink your whiskey from a glass which is a family heirloom: it’s not chic, it’s not branded, but this is luxury in the end.”Photo: FM ArchitetturaThis article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue of The SuperYacht Times newspaper. To receive all future issues straight to your door, subscribe to the newspaper here.