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Renowned Italian design studio Hot Lab’s concept for Oceanco’s Simply Custom 80-metre superyacht draws on the essence of Italian design and the studio’s extensive experience to create a supremely elegant yet subtly exciting yacht with sinuous exteriors and scintillating interiors.

“A design worthy of the name,” begins Antonio Romano, Commercial Director of the Viken Group and co-founder of Hot Lab, “must evoke emotion; otherwise, we would all make incredibly optimised and utterly sterile boats.” This striving for emotional response is not only a key part of Hot Lab’s approach to superyacht design, it is also a fundamental aspect of the studio’s seductive Superleggera 80 superyacht concept.

The concept, which combines continuity of surfaces with essences of 1960s automotive design, was developed by invitation from Dutch superyacht builder Oceanco as part of the shipyard’s Simply Custom range. Simply Custom uses a common naval architecture and engineering platform of 80 metres, developed by Lateral Naval Architects, on which 17 renowned and iconic design studios have created their own concepts to a common brief from Oceanco. Hot Lab, part of the Viken Group, was also invited to share its vision.

The Superleggera 80 draws its inspiration, says Lumini, from a simple idea: to design clean and essential lines as if they were effortlessly, naturally born. “We wanted the design to be soft and minimal, subtly related to the sailing style, edgeless, and with a great continuity of surfaces,” he enthuses. “In addition to this, we aimed to break some recurring patterns, such as the typical stern of a yacht with its staircases and hatches. For this, we concealed both under a veil of teak. When we design new items,” he continues, “we focus on certain details, chasing the goal of constant incremental innovation.”

Elegant Italian style

The result is a classically elegant yet effortlessly contemporary style that incorporates subtle design cues all over, blending them seamlessly so that they remain impactful even if only noticed subconsciously. In addition, the Hot Lab team worked on all aspects of the concept from exterior to interior, layout and the basic concepts of the interior style, all developed within the parameters, constraints and requirements outlined by the shipyard. “The incredible thing about designing the interiors concurrently with the exteriors is the ability to connect the design across different scales, from large to small details,” says Lumini.

There are certainly aspects of both – the studio has said the design intends to evoke the same sense of awe one feels in an expansive penthouse, and that has been borne out in details such as a five-metre-high main atrium, or a central bar illuminated by a skylight. There are six guest suites plus a magnificent master, ample light across the four decks from the expansive glazing, and a truly sumptuous beach club in the stern, along with an impressive gym that features an opening balcony.

Moreover, the design incorporates Hot Lab’s innate sense of Italian style. “Italian design is first and foremost elegant – and we strive to be elegant,” Lumini asserts. “Everyone has their own vision of beauty and elegance but for us it means designing ‘less’, removing rather than adding, cleaning rather than cluttering.”

Clearly, he says, a client’s influence can be more significant when it comes to interior design but generally the studio aims to guide owners toward a clean and strict design. For the Superleggera 80, that is reflected in a bright, contemporary style and palette, curved furniture and integrated lighting, wood and bright lacquered finishes, and elements that are sure to woo such as the glass-ended aft deck pool that slips deliciously toward the gentle curved cascade of teak that flows over the transom.

Timeless and contemporary

Of course, striking a balance between ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’ is no mean feat, and developing a concept to appeal to a broad potential client base can, if not handled with expert eye and judgement, lead to an interior that is bland. Not so with the Superleggera 80, as Lumini explains. “It’s challenging, and I don’t believe it’s always possible to succeed compared to what you can do with the exterior lines,” he admits. “But what we try to do is impose ‘our’ style: we reiterate certain stylistic elements, thus becoming classics while ensuring our design is recognised. This signature is our way to reach a broad base of clients without being boring.”

There’s another factor at play, too – what Hot Lab calls ‘architecture for voyagers’. “It’s a vision: it means conceiving the yacht as a perfect blend of style and utility between practicality and beauty, and that’s exactly what we have applied to the Superleggera 80,” Lumini enthuses. “Practicality is emotional – it’s that sensation that reaffirms to the owner, every time they experience it, that they made the right choice. The right designer, the right project, the right yacht. The union between perfect practicality and style, means communicating to one’s clients, and they to their friends ‘I did well. This is the yacht for me’. Our Superleggera 80, along with Lateral’s engineering and Oceanco’s superyacht building prowess, is that project, that yacht.

“If our design doesn’t evoke emotion,” Antonio Romano concludes, “then we are not designers. Superleggera aims to draw a smile. One must admire it and smile inwardly, as if to say, ‘There it is, I’ve found it, this will be my boat.’”