Giuseppina Arena Interiors: A master at work

Written by Francesca Webster

The mind boggles slightly as Giuseppina Arena lists the projects she has worked on during her 27 year career as an interior designer, working almost exclusively within the maritime industry. Having completed her doctorate in architecture, where her professors criticised her for being too nautical and not architectural enough, she went on to graduate from the Florence University of Architecture in 1997, studying in their newly established course for yacht design – she is truly a pioneer of her industry in Italy. 

Giuseppina Arena Interior designerLooking at her portfolio, her designs allude to her Italian upbringing. The use of rich materials with the careful placement of lighting to maximise the impact of the materials is most clearly exhibited in the 41-metre Dynamiq GTT 135, Stefania. With the first imagery just released to the public, Arena's designs are making waves. Glass and mirrored surfaces have been employed to expand the internal volumes, and long curved lines, in a unique champagne finish that is employed throughout over the interiors, draw the eye across the surfaces, likewise expanding the eye line. Lighting has been cleverly balanced, paired with mirrors that reflect the space and to illuminate every corner of the vessel.Stefania yacht saloonStefania yacht dining Arena’s interiors stand-out in for their use of a wide range of materials, she does not shy away from combining an array of styles to create a truly unique work of art, something her interiors should be considered. One thing that certainly stands out is that no two interiors are the same, she does not repeat her concepts and is truly a dynamic designer with a breadth of styles, all of which are tailored to the client and are perfectly balanced to make them feel at home in their environment. Stefania yacht stateroom Stefania yacht bathroom Today she splits her time between Rome and Miami. Many of her clients come from Mexico and New York, who are producing their yachts in Europe and turn to Arena for her unique set of skills as a central figure between the two regions. When asked what helped her stand out from the crowd, she explained that her philosophy is to, “Extreme attention to the details. We understand the significance of the small things in design, and that helps me stand out, especially in the Americas.”Stefania yacht stateroom Her years working within shipyards in Europe, in roles ranging from Head of Design to Consultant, Arena is especially well placed to cater to her client’s needs and understand every step of the production process. This helps to garner trust with her clients as she has an in-depth, world-wide knowledge, something that has been particularly useful when working with American clients, who are looking for large spaces, combined with the sleek aesthetic of Italian design. Arena’s experience brings more to the table than simply world-class design. With a detailed knowledge of the construction process, she can taper production times and is highly efficient, resulting in shorter lead times and less back and forth between the builder and the client. Giuseppina Arena Interior designWhile Arena also works on a range of residential and commercial properties, it is the yachting industry that truly enlivens her, something which becomes really evident during the conversation. “I love what I do, 27 years of experience working for an array of sectors within the maritime industry has given me a true understanding of the nature of shipping and yachting.Giuseppina Arena Interior designWith recent completions for Pershing and Dynamiq, including the aforementioned 41-metre Dynamiq Stefania, Arena’s talent is being put to extremely good use. It is her passion to move onto larger projects, employing the skills she has honed within the residential, cruise and yachting industries, to create more truly bespoke and unique yacht interiors. Giuseppina Arena reached these competences and qualities through her varied professional career. Following her studies, she launched herself into a hugely successful career with Princess Cruises, eventually joining the design team for their Grand Princess ship, the largest cruise vessel ever built at the time.Giuseppina Arena Interior designThis monumental 290-metre vessel was built at Fincantieri in Trieste and Giuseppina worked very closely with the team, gaining knowledge of prefabrication and construction management. This experience lit the embers, and she moved to the yachting industry, wishing to learn more about the construction process from both the shipyard’s and the clients perspective. She joined the team at Intermarine, working on the interior design for their fibreglass yachts, whilst also producing designs for fast patrol boats for the Italian military. 

Following her stint at Intermarine, Arena joined the team at Admiral in Genoa as Head Architect in Lavagna, responsible for the design process from start to finish, collaborating with an array of external architects. Yacht series such as the Admiral 35 and Admiral 32 are the result of Arena’s tenure at Admiral, and though they belong to a series, every vessel was a one-off and a demonstration of her eclectic portfolio. As fast, aluminium yachts, these vessels posed a unique challenge to her design team, managing the weight of the interior outfitting, as to not unbalance the carefully engineered vessel.Giuseppina Arena Interior designToward the end of her time at Admiral, Arena was contacted by the Ferretti Group for the role as Head Architect and Designer for Pershing Shipyard, an opportunity which she embraced completely. Working with Pershing for many years, yachts such as La Cima III, and Kuikila, both belonging to the 35.7-metre Pershing 115 series, are a testament to that work.Giuseppina Arena Interior designGiuseppina Arena Interior designDuring her years with the Ferretti Group, she also worked with Custom Line, and after a number of years they proposed that she relocate to the US to head up the American market, designing yachts arriving from Italy as inventory. It was here in America that Arena decided to open her own firm and put her own name on the projects she designs, something she now wishes she had done earlier.

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