With a design portfolio spanning from urban masterplans and buildings to superyacht design, Claudio Lazzarini and Carl Pickering of Lazzarini & Pickering Design have always “loved to be outsiders in any discipline.” Although the firm was established in 1982, it wasn’t until 1995 that they embarked on their first venture into yachting. The pair were commissioned by a Wally client who wanted interior designers who had never worked on boats before. The result was the 32.72-metre sloop, Wally B.Photo: Neil Rabinowitz / WallyThat first project brief was described by Pickering as “the antithesis of a sailing yacht”, in that the client wanted an open, loft-like interior and modern stainless steel galley. Likening the average interior of a sailing yacht to that of a crammed Irish pub, Pickering acknowledged that, up until this point, “there was only one way people did things”. For Lazzarini & Pickering, the use of historical, dark panelling proved dissonant inside such a modern and technically-advanced machine. “In our first boat, Wally B, we stripped it back to the essential elements: a focus on the hull itself, and emptying the boat rather than filling it up”, says Pickering. But thinking outside the box and abandoning the aesthetic standards of sailing yachts gone-by does not have to mean a break with tradition.Photo: Fraser Yachts The outsiders’ approach
It is their self-professed outside approach that sits at the crux of Lazzarini & Pickering Design. As inherent multi-disciplinarians, the pair came into the yachting industry without a fixed notion of what a yacht should be. This flexibility, originating from their experience in other subjects including furniture and buildings, has served to inform their work in yachting world vice-versa: “We’ve even used materials such as carbon composite fibres in projects outside of yachting. There's a great exchange from one discipline to the other.”Photo: Matteo PiazzaPhoto: Francesco PaceSince Lazzarini & Pickering’s inaugural yachting endeavour, Wally B, the pair have completed a number of both projects, completing exterior and interior stylings for yachts such as the 24.99-metre Polytropon II, 25.7-metre Roma, 52-metre My Falcon (ex Sai Ram), the Wally 80 series and the 36-metre Wallypower 118 — it is safe to say that Lazzarini & Pickering are no longer outsiders. However, the pair continues to bring a fresh perspective.Photo: Matteo PiazzaPhoto: Matteo PiazzaIn Pickering’s mind, yachts today are designed to feel increasingly more like villas and less like actual boats. As such, the pair prioritise something essential: “we want people to feel like they're on a boat, to be in contact with the sky and the sea.” It is this that yachting is really about, after all.
Lazzarini & Pickering are currently working in collaboration with Benetti on the 36.8-metre Motopanfilo model’s interiors, designed to reflect that indispensable mantra of “a boat being a boat”. Inspired by “new classicism” — designing futuristic superyacht interiors informed by the past — Pickering says, “we looked at classical motor yachts and back over our favourite past jobs, trying to identify an element that would structure the space.” One crucial structuring element emerged in the drawing boards early on. The yacht’s hull reminded the duo of a whale’s stomach and ribs, which not only provide a unique aesthetic point but also serve as the backbone (quite literally) of the design. Returning to the roots of seafaring meant not only making a boat look and feel more like a boat, but also creating a vessel that facilitates a closer connection to the sea. The resultant design embodies the elegance of classic motor yachts, drawing inspiration from the 50s and 60s, while offering a contemporary interpretation.Photo: BenettiThe Future of Lazzarini & Pickering
The design duo is keeping busy with various yachting projects, working on the interior and exterior styling of a 50-metre sloop concept as well as, mysteriously, “a much larger boat for Benetti.” When asked what the future holds for yacht design, Pickering responded in a spirit typical of his firm’s self-determined philosophy of thinking from the fringes, saying “It would be good to train everybody to put their feet back on the ground, and go back to thinking about what makes boats beautiful, and what makes living on a boat so enjoyable!”Photo: Benetti This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of The SuperYacht Times newspaper. To receive all future issues straight to your door, subscribe to the newspaper here.