The spotless engine room has CNC-cut floor plates, laser-cut tool beds and port and starboard engines named after the chief engineer’s mother and mother-in-law. I asked Lürssen how, as a shipyard renowned for their engineering acumen, they still manage to deliver one completely unique engine room after another. Surely, they must control the design. “We don’t let everybody go wild,” he said with a smile.
In the dining area, the fold-down bulkhead was activated to provide full views out to sea. Here was the opulence, the flair and the personality of the yacht. “We really have two guiding principles,” Lenard said. “Firstly, we design flourishes that always stop short of being kitch. It’s like that little bit of pepper you put on your steak to add a touch of spice: You’re not doing it because the steak wasn’t good enough. When we add a touch of flourish to the design, it has to be prime execution. Kitch is poor quality.”
“Secondly, we design in three dimensions,” he said. “Because we come from designing exteriors, we are always thinking about designing three-dimensional objects. Valentina Zannier, our interior designer plays with textures and shadows, which gives depth to everything.” I looked around and he was right. In Quattroelle’s guest spaces, there is a lot to look at. You sense it’s endless in some ways. When you draw closer—to the leather wall panelling in the dining room for instance—you see the precision of the cuts, the quality of the stitching. There are simply no evident flaws.
The chandelier, which in Dan Lenard’s language is a “three-dimensional lighting feature,” is made of 970 pieces of shop-fired Murano glass, each individually mounted onto a frame to convey a sense of weightlessness. The engineering is impressive in that it looks somehow simple, while being obviously something very grand indeed.
I was introduced to the Venetian villa touches in the salon and the art gallery area aft, which Lenard admitted in actual use, is a waiting room for when the tenders are preparing to escort guests to shore. “It’s a lovely place to sit and chat and wait to depart to town without having to sit outside where it may be too hot and humid to be comfortable,” Lenard said. “It’s something that a lot of boats don’t actually have. It’s a big problem, actually.”
I suggested that yachts, as dream machines, must deliver the highest possible quality, but Peter thought it was the other way around. “No, I think many people, before they see a yacht, have no idea the level of finish they can have in their homes.”
“Many years ago we had an American who was giving us a lecture on design,” Lürssen continued. “When he saw his boat and we saw his huge American mansion, it was a world apart. Only then did he realise that despite the fact he was a big name designer, he had no clue about the quality of interiors we do. Residential hinges for instance would rattle to death on a boat."
Quattroelle is impressive, and even for a yacht journalist, she has the ability to evoke wonder, awe, and delight, especially with her stunning exterior styling which I rank as the current pinnacle of the form. But as an object of art and as a place to call home, she invigorated a conversation about the meaning of yacht design from the perspectives of crew requirements, technical complexity and the very meaning of quality. As something to live in and enjoy, I can’t think of a better place to spend a bit of time.
Read the full review of Quattroelle in Issue 9 of The Superyacht Owner magazine.
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