One of the top names in Italian design, celebrates 40 years of hard work and success in yacht design
After four decades as an architect and designer, Tommaso Spadolini celebrates his preeminent position in Italian yacht design. Son of the famous architect Pierluigi Spadolini, Tommaso began his career in his father’s design office. In 1959 Pierluigi was nominated to the first Italian chair of industrial design, and since the early ‘60s collaborated with the Cantieri di Pisa designing their entire range, including the benchmark Akhir series. ‘For me, yachts have always been, and still are, my choice in applied design; here I can bring to bear the accumulation of all our family’s knowhow’, comments Tommaso who has worked with a remarkable number of top shipyards. In the early 1980’s Tommaso created his first independent designs for Barberis, and started his cooperation with Canados. The first Canados 70, launched in 1984, brought to the fore one of the crucial traits of Tommaso Spadolini’s work: design must always include strong functional elements.
The Canados 70 became a benchmark in yachting luxury design and the model for a complete line-up: from 58 to 85, 90 and 95, with a total of 107 vessels built in the years between 1984 and 1992. In 1992 Tommaso was chosen to design Fortuna, the Spanish Royal Yacht. Launched in 2000, 43 meters long, with three turbines giving her a speed of almost 75 knots, Fortuna’s hull was designed by Donald Blunt’s American design studio. ‘The superyacht reached a top speed of 74.8 knots’, says Tommaso, ‘a very special one where I was responsible for the exterior lines, including air tunnel testing for engine ventilation.’ From his offices in Florence, Spadolini alternated work on custom projects for international yards (interior design for Luca Bassani’s first two Wally 80’s and for Bao Bab, the first motor yacht for Camper & Nicholson) and designing production yachts. For Aprea, Tommaso drew the lines of Don Giovanni, an 11 meter powerboat that combined the traditional configuration of a Sorrentine Gulf ‘gozzo’ with an incredibly dynamic superstructure design that was nominated for the Italian design award Compasso d’Oro. This successful theme was applied by Aprea to several different models, the longest at 16 meters, over the next few years. Several custom projects followed in the early 2000’s: the Baglietto 138 RC for Roberto Cavalli, launched in 2004, followed by Nina J in 2005.
Both are perfect examples of the Wide Body concept, a full beam conceptual configuration without side decks that greatly increases available interior volume. Tommaso Spadolini was the first to realize that this increase in interior volume would revolutionize the entire superyacht industry. Many other projects characterized this period: Aslec, the 46 meter built by Rossinavi and launched in 2012, the widely imitated fourth vessel designed by Spadolini for the same owner; Numptia, 70 meters, also built by Rossinavi, launched in 2011 and winner of the 2012 World Superyacht Awards; Gipsy, a 35 meter planning hull built by the Genoa based Otam yard. Launched in 2016, with Gypsy Spadolini won the World Superyacht Awards once again in 2017, along with the Showboats Design Awards in the Best Naval Architecture category with the Umberto Tagliavini designed hull. During the last 10 years, Studio Spadolini was entrusted with some prestigious refitting, involving yachts built by Cantieri di Pisa, Magnum, Baglietto. Recently Spadolini was appointed by Turkish yard Sirena Marine to develop the interiors for 56 and 64, in cooperation with German Frers Studio, who was in charge of the interiors.
In 2017 a fruitful collaboration was signed with Rosetti Superyacht. Here Spadolini designed an entire gamma, from 50 to 85 meters in length. In the summer of 2018 the launch of the new yacht fully designed for Roberto Cavalli is planned, along with a 102 Motor yacht, built by CCN for an American couple, who appointed Spadolini for interior design. Timeless classic is the ideal description of Spadolini style. Clean, sober and essential lines that create a design that is both classic and modern; harmonious and balanced designs that never grow old. In Tommaso’s words: ‘To define the design of a yacht in a word: the only lines are the essential lines’. Even today, every Tommaso Spadolini project is born from a hand-drawn design. ‘For me, this is the only way to convey the emotional content of an idea, its soul’, said the designer.
Photos by Tommaso Spadolini