- Business - The evolution of the revolution

By Dario Schiavo

The evolution of the revolution

In conversation with Martino Majno, sales manager and project coordinator at Nauta Yachts, about the evolution of the industry’s design landscape…

In issue 218 of The Superyacht Report, we published an article called The Oasis Revolution, detailing the history of one of the most iconic design innovations of the last 30 years – the open aft deck – and pondering its future direction. An inspiring conversation with Martino Majno, sales manager and project coordinator at Nauta Yachts, gives deeper insight into the birth and evolution of what has been a revolutionary change in the industry’s design landscape.

(Left) Martino Majno, sales manager and project coordinator, Nauta Yachts

Here, we explore Nauta Yachts’ Moonflower 72  motoryacht with Martino Majno and Luca Pedol, the public relations account at Nauta. This project is currently being constructed at the Wider Superyacht Hub in Porto Marghera, near Venice, and is set to be completed for its owner by 2025. Designed with integrated exterior and interior spaces, the yacht showcases The Island, a feature patented by Nauta since 2017. The Island introduces an advanced beach club concept featuring multiple opening platforms that connect between them significantly expanding the sea-access area, and transforming the beach club into a spacious 117m² walkable zone, with full circularity in the walkway.

Tracing it back through its timeline, the concept, known as al fresco, open aft deck, oasis deck and now The Island, has been evolving since 2017. In fact, the evolution of this concept actually dates even further back, to as early as 2006.

Moonflower  is a project that Mario Pedol, myself and the whole design team, were incredibly passionate about,” says Majno. “It’s our first 70-metre yacht where we’ve handled both the exteriors and interiors, allowing us to create a comprehensive 360-degree design. This project enabled us to apply The Island concept for the first time, emphasising seamless integration between interior and exterior spaces at the stern. We prioritise functionality and space; true luxury, for us, also means providing guests access to nature with minimal constraints.

“At its inception, this project was groundbreaking. Over time, the market embraced our vision, integrating interior-exterior connectivity to maximise natural light within yachts. We originally conceptualised this approach with our 80-metre Project Light back in 2006. Unfortunately, despite cutting all the sheet metal, the project never materialised, halting progress indefinitely.”

However, every cloud has a silver lining. In fact, Nauta Yachts’ Project Light  was passed over in order to participate in, and win, the competition for the exterior design of Azzam, the world’s longest yacht at 180 metres, back in 2007. It all connects.

Nauta Yachts’ creations like Azzam, My Song, Moonflower  and Nilaya stand as a testament to the design studio founded by Mario Pedol and Massimo Gino in 1985. However, Martino Majno, a key figure in the Milanese studio, may not be as widely recognised. His story is compelling, highlighting his enduring importance in the industry. Now 40 years old, he has been with Nauta since 2005, shaping his career from an early stage.


His passion for boats and the sea stems from his family, particularly his experiences aboard a Dutch-built sailing yacht from the De Vries shipyards, the Raider. From infancy, he traversed the Mediterranean Sea, fostering a deep connection with the ocean.

“I owe my journey to Nauta Yachts to my family, who always immersed me in the sea, weather and voyages – formative elements crucial to my current role,” he says.

Majno’s path included regattas, instructing at Les Glénans, and studying nautical engineering “to understand how things work”. He joined Nauta at 21, continuing through university and earning a master’s degree in project management. His introduction to the Nauta studio came through racing.

“While sailing on the yacht Atalanta II, we often competed with My Song  84ft, the third yacht following the 54ft and 70ft. I always considered it one of the most beautiful boats I had ever seen. When I had the opportunity to interview at Nauta for an apprenticeship, I discovered that this beloved boat was designed by them. Joining that studio became my greatest aspiration.”

At that time, Majno didn’t yet know he would witness the continuation of the My Song  story, participating in the creation of the 130ft and 80ft Club Swan yachts. The name was inspired by the legendary song by jazzman Keith Jarrett, much loved by the owner, Pier Luigi Loro Piana.

“I’ve been at Nauta Yachts for 19 years, and my dedication is driven by the unique, multidisciplinary nature of our projects. Our comfort zone is continually expanding with exposure to new and challenging endeavours, which is essential for someone passionate and ambitious. Moreover, the deep respect I hold for the studio’s founders and my colleagues further solidifies why I am genuinely delighted to be here.”

Today, Nauta Yachts has grown from its original eight members to a current team of 25, specialising in sailing and motoryachts, and monohulls and multihulls, for both cruising and racing. The studio designs series, semi-custom and fully custom vessels, ranging from 9.9 metres like the mahogany and carbon fibre Castagnola Heritage to the iconic Azzam. They specialise in both interior and exterior designs, crafting details like chandeliers, furniture and chairs.

Renderings of 72-metre Moonflower, under construction by Wider

“We work in a very wide variety of applications, each with distinct exercises, diverse functional requirements, budget constraints and various technical aspects. We apply our craftsmanship to vastly different aesthetics, including, as few people know, residential projects.

“In the residential sector, our first notable project was part of the redevelopment of Milan’s Porta Nuova district. We were tasked with designing a ‘capsule’ named 4 @ 1 Home, a 36-square-metre apartment that transforms into a dining area, kitchen, and workspace. The client chose us for our expertise in designing compact spaces akin to boats, making it a pioneering project for university campuses. Additionally, we undertook the renovation of a seaside villa at the request of one of our yacht clients."

“Although Nauta Yachts is renowned for the purity of its exterior lines, we are now placing significant emphasis on interior design,” reveals Majno. “Currently, we are working on approximately 5,000 square metres of interior projects. In 2020, we internally reorganised by establishing a superyacht division dedicated to custom projects, led by a team of eight people including Guido Valtorta – senior yacht designer and architect – and myself.

“What I have always found unique about Nauta is the multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of the projects we undertake. We connect experiences from entirely different worlds. In essence, we apply all our expertise and attention, inherited from designing sailing yachts to the creation of megayachts. Our approach to planning and design always begins with solid foundations and an intellectual, practical mindset, while maintaining aesthetics as a priority. This sets us apart from others who may prioritise aesthetics over functionality. Design, for us, is a delicate balance that must harmonise functions, constraints and aesthetics as seamlessly as possible. These three elements essentially define our approach to design.”

With around 30 projects currently underway, including the interior design and outdoor furniture for CRN’s fully custom 70-metre  Thunderball, I asked Majno about the future projects he would like to work on. “There are many dreams in the drawer, ideas we’ve started sketching. In the world of sailing and motoryachts, there’s still much innovation ahead, aiming for boats with minimal environmental impact throughout their production cycle. I’m particularly keen on designing a zero-impact explorer or sailboat.”

Profile links

Nauta Design

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Nauta Design
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