With Miami Yacht Show on the horizon, next week is going to be a big week for superyacht designer Giorgio Cassetta. While he is still one of the younger yacht designers around, he is not a man of concepts but has some serious yachts already in-build and on the water. In particular, this year's show is especially important for Cassetta, where several new yachts from the designer's hand will make their public debut. Notably, too, Cassetta also helped to refine the design of Benetti's second 100m+ superyacht, FB272, post-contract which was launched earlier this week. With all of this excitement in mind, we sat down with the Italian designer to find out more about his plans for the upcoming year.
Give us a brief overview of your history and how you got into yacht design
I was two years' old, I discovered fresco secco painting at kindergarten and started painting ships, big and small. I never stopped. At 17 I was sketching for my first paying clients, at 22 I graduated with Gianni Zuccon, who was my first mentor, as thesis supervisor. The ball started rolling and in 2013 my own firm was born, after years of practice and dipping into some other design fields.
What have been some of the proudest moments in your superyacht design career?
Minutes after my first meeting with Benetti in 2013, when I gained consciousness that things went well and that my pursuit for credibility was paying off, I had tears in my eyes. When we signed the construction contract for Spectre, my whole team and I were jumping around the room like crazy. I was 31 and, after months of night work and 54 general arrangement revisions, my firm was entrusted with the design of what was set to become an iconic megayacht!
In the summer of 2018, in Sicily, I crossed paths with a yacht of my design. The owner invited me on board and hugged me, and told me about the improvement in his quality of life thanks to our work. Last but not least, next week we will present a new project which blends two design cultures that used to be very far away.Give us a bit of an outline of your yacht design career so far: how many boats have you designed that have been completed?
As of today, at the age of 35, including the periods when someone else was employing me, I have designed more than 30 yachts ranging from eight to 100+ meters. My firm has more than 15 unique models between those completed and those in build, most are yachts over 30-metres, and this doesn't include the repeated hulls.Photo: Benetti What else is currently in build that has the Giorgio Cassetta design stamp on it?
We are happily building two more 65-metre yachts with Benetti, and hull 1 and 2 of the Diamond 145 are in production, with the first one already being sold. We have also put our effort on a smaller production range, between 86 and 100', which is being built by a new brand in Turkey. These will be very interesting boats, designed with owners for owners and with little compromise on quality and cost. Quite a radical approach when it comes to yacht building.
In 2017, you started collaborating with the brand Cigarette Racing Team of Miami and will be presenting their new flagship at Miami. Tell us more about what we can expect from this project.
Over my career, I have come across some incredible opportunities. I was able to catch some, with others have been less successful. When Skip Braver (Cigarette Racing owner and CEO) explained his vision for his new flagship, I understood that I had to be a part of it at all costs. I met Skip with little expectations and no idea of what kind of person was about to be in front of me. Photo: Cigarette Racing Team of Miami / Giorgio M Cassetta / Luca CatinoAfter a three hour chat, we shook hands and two months later the initial design for the Cigarette Tirranna was there. It has been my most challenging project so far: the level of research, technology, performance and comfort that this boat will offer is unparalleled. We lined up the outstanding technical and design features and got to a bullet-pointed list with more than 250 points. We are aware that we are creating a new market niche, and look forward to seeing the public's reaction to this.Photo: BenettiWhat else can we expect to see from you at Miami?
John Staluppi's new 69-metre yacht Spectre will be at the show. Designing Spectre has been wonderful, John and Janette have been so enthusiastic about their new baby and have shed that enthusiasm on everyone involved. Also, my whole design team will attend the Miami show, they are all great people, expect to see them around.
FB272 is a game-changing project. Almost ten years ago the owner and Zaniz Jacubowski dreamed of a yacht that was, at the time, almost impossible to build. A crew of visionary people made that challenge possible. Former Benetti salesman James Clayton was incredibly dexterous when it came to approaching the client and securing the contract. Andrew North, owner's representative at the time of the signature, brought in his expertise and great experience.
The whole Burgess team involved, led by Sean Bianchi, was precious, to say the least, and Vincenzo Poerio above all believed that his company was up to the task. Poerio once told me, after a long meeting with the owner over some design details, that he couldn't afford and wouldn't allow this boat to be built if not with concepts that were 15 years ahead of their time.Photo: SYT ReaderI was involved, on Benetti's suggestion, a little while after the contract was signed. The owner had had some exterior design work done before, but the yacht was changing and evolving and the team needed support. I had little time to prepare and presented my initial work to the owner's team less than two weeks after my involvement. That was the start of very productive collaboration. The vision was always there, I was a helping hand in executing it and bringing it to reality.
Yachts are often referred to with many praising adjectives, but projects so incredibly complex like 272 only happen every so long. It was an honour to dance that dance.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We often talk about brands, prestige and marvel, but the key difference in everyone’s experience are the people surrounding us. I have been blessed with many people who put their trust in me and to them I am grateful. It is impossible to name them all, but allow me to express a heartfelt thank you to my team, keep up the good work folks!