met Francesca Muzio, co-founder of superyacht interior design firm, FM – Architettura d’Interni, at the site of one of the company’s most high profile land-based projects to date, London’s Shangri La Hotel on the 35th floor of The Shard.

The project is one of a number of high-end, and high profile hotel projects undertaken by FM-, and is perhaps the most notable to date, particularly considering the £22,000/night cost to stay in Muzio’s creation.

Add to this the company’s latest project, the Ciftci Towers, a residential tower development in Istanbul that has been designed by FM- from conception through to outfitting, and it is clear that the company’s stock on land is already well established.

A typical master suite in Ciftci Towers.

But as Muzio explained, while she’s an “architect first and foremost,” growing up in Portofino meant she “always had a passion for the sea.” Therefore, despite the success of her land-based projects, it is the discipline of superyacht interiors that piques her interest.

The suite at the Shangri La Hotel.

For Muzio, superyacht projects are the most demanding of any for designers. Is this down to the rigid regulatory parameters that govern superyacht construction and outfitting? No, she says. “Materials are not restrictive; the limits imposed on us are actually suggestions for how to make a project the best it can be”.

Francesca Muzio (left) with co-founder Maria Silvia Orlandini.

By this, Muzio means that maritime regulations define her creative boundaries, and then it is her job to achieve as much as possible within them. “Safety comes first”, she adds, “second is comfort and only then is it aesthetics. [Regulations are] not oppressive – it’s the way it should be.”

Muzio’s passion was recently tested when FM- was procured to overhaul the interior of M/Y Amore Mio 2. She acknowledges that the owner’s demanding delivery date – 24 May, just four months after the company was first commissioned – was the most challenging she has encountered to date but she says it was also extremely rewarding.

The 52m Abeking & Rasmussen, first launched in 1997, underwent her refit at CPN in Ancona. Muzio says, despite her age, that the yacht is a true feat of engineering, bearing closer resemblance to a 60m, thanks to her 10.3m beam.

The company was tasked with completely overhauling the main deck. Forward, two previous VIP suites were transformed into one large space for exclusive use by the owner. And considering the tight schedule, Muzio is particularly proud of the fact the company designed and commissioned all of the pieces now aboard, most notably a a unique steel and glass football table. She says that being an Italian company gave FM- a distinct advantage because the network of artisans available to produce these pieces is so broad.

The vast owner's cabin.

Notable features include Promemoria items, Armani Casa fabrics and Dedar wallpaper. The former VIP salon, entering the owner’s cabin, has been transformed into an elegant office with relaxing armchairs.

The entrance to the owner's office.

Moving forward, FM- is currently working on the latest 62m Benetti - FB264 - which Muzio insists will raise the bar for the Italian builder. But despite this project, and a traditional focus on the Italian market, the FM- focus, for now at least will be refits. “The strength of each market is cyclical”, she says. But at the moment it is refits that offer a more encouraging picture for the company’s growth. And this is the same reason that Muzio and her team are beginning to look beyond the confines of Italy, towards northern Europe.

The unique football table.

Profile links

Abeking & Rasmussen Schiffs- und Yachtwerft Aktiengesellschaft

Benetti Yachts

FM srl - Architettura d'Interni

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