Insight: Luca Dini and Tommaso Spadolini talk superyacht refit

Written by Laura Nicholls

Working like a well-oiled machine, the refit process involves many parts and people. The role of the designer is to be a leading authority on how an existing superyacht design can be refreshed, reorganised and relaunched. Here we ask two designers upfront about their experiences during some of the industry’s more impressive refits and transformations.

 Luca Dini of LUCA DINI Design & ArchitectureLuca Dini design studioPhoto: Luca Dini DesignNow listed as a yacht for sale with Imperial, the 41.1-metre Legenda is considered by some to be one of the most versatile and unique superyachts to leave the Mondomarine shed. You oversaw her 2016 refit, tell me about the works which were carried out.Legenda yacht runningThe owner requested a ‘soft’ refitting of Legenda within a certain budget where she was to be refreshed with a lighter image but remain timeless and classical. By using balanced colours, we were able to reach a classical-modern style, with mirrors and a light palette that collaborate to make the perception of the space wider. Legenda is an extremely comfortable and livable boat, with well-lit and airy interior spaces and an intense connection between the interior and exterior areas. During the refit works, we paid great attention to the layout and how best to use the spaces. Legenda yacht upper deck saloonWithout upsetting the original binding style and briarwood she was born with, the damaged burl wood panels were replaced and the fabric panels were upgraded with brighter textures and galuchat leather accents. The ceiling dome was enriched with 8x8 golden leaves created by a specialised artisan from Florence. The free-standing furniture was replaced with more modern pieces by Visionnaire and Fendi, plus a chandelier from Baldi. We also intervened in the décor and used some of the most classic images of Massimo Listri and exposed them in a modern way with no glass, using the original panels as framing. In the outdoor areas, we used Summit teak line free-standing furniture and upgraded the upholstery and marble countertops.Legenda yacht master stateroomWhat is it like for a designer to be involved in a refit?

It is a very stimulating challenge to have to always come up with something different. Elegance, harmony and balance always play an extremely important role in my projects, and even more so during a refit when you are intervening in an environment that has already been created. Refitting is always a matter of extreme sensitivity because you must find harmony between the existing and the new: a very stimulating test for us designers.Legenda yacht main deck saloonTommaso Spadolini of Design Studio SpadoliniTommaso Spadolini portraitWhat are the standout refit projects within your extensive portfolio? 

We have been involved in many interesting refits, including some smaller yachts such as the Magnum 70 Gigagi, 20-metre classic Baglietto Cujo and the 20-metre Dutch sailing yacht Lady Stella. On top of this, A2 (ex-Madhuri) was a challenging and exciting experience. As a 37.6-metre motor yacht built by Eurocraft in 2008, her owner wanted to make significant changes to the exterior and interior and gave the refit team just six months to complete the job. The original boat had no hull windows and was built on a very traditional layout and so we opened up windows in the hull which required new certification. The layout was completely revised with a big open-space lounge on the main deck and three comfortable cabins, a captain’s cabin, a laundry room. We also added two whisper-quiet Seakeeper stabilisers.A2 yacht exteriorPhoto: Giovanni MalgariniFor the interior, we worked closely with Peter Marino, the famous New York architect, who had previously collaborated with the owners. While Peter chose all the materials and fabrics, fixtures and fittings, we made sure his proposals could be integrated into the yacht. After taking delivery and spending three weeks on board last August, the owners said it was the best family holiday they had ever had, which is music to a designer’s ears!A2 yacht saloon Photo: Giovanni MalgariniHow are your experiences as a designer working on a refit?

A successful refit requires understanding what the owner wants but also involves an appreciation of what the original designer was trying to achieve. It is more than a science: it’s an art that demands knowledge, experience and respect for the heritage of yacht design. I think it is important for a designer to be involved, especially as the refit market has steadily grown in importance and so, we tend to have at least one major refit on the go in addition to a lot of smaller projects.A2 yacht interiorThis article is taken from the May/June edition of The SuperYacht Times newspaper. To receive the latest issue straight to your door, subscribe to the newspaper here.



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