Sam Fortescue steps on board Attila, the newly launched 64 Steel superyacht by Sanlorenzo
It used to be so simple. If you wanted a yacht with more space, you had to build longer. These days, though, superyacht designers are finding increasingly ingenious ways to squeeze every last cubic centimetre from their creations. And Sanlorenzo’s new flagship is at the leading edge of this trend. From the helipad and the wellness centre to the wine cellar and the oversized beach club, the 64 Steel Attila punches well above her weight.
A quick dip into the archives gives a frame of reference.Silver Angel, a 64.5-metre Benetti from 2009, measures up at 1,407GT, while 1991 Shahnaz, by Nuovi Cantieri Liguri, is 63.5 metres and just creeps over 1,130GT. Most modern yachts of this length range between 1,200 and 1,400GT. By contrast, Attila’s 64.25 metres, her broad beam of 13 metres and five decks offer a lavish 1,600 gross tonnes. That’s the kind of space you find on a significantly bigger boat – take 73-metre Hasna, with its 1,577GT.
“The customer wanted as much interior space as possible,” says Sergio Beretta, from exterior designer Officina Italiana, of Attila’s Argentinian owner. “We didn’t initially agree with that – it’s always a compromise.” On the owner’s wish list was copious meat and wine storage, extensive cinema facilities, an entire deck for him and his wife, plus stowage for a 10-metre tender and a vast beach club area.
The design teams had to think creatively about the use of space on board. Most striking is the way that the 78-square-metre beach club, complete with two fold-down balconies, hammam and sauna, connects to the large outdoor area on the main deck, which focuses on the five-metre-long swimming pool.
“The aspect that has characterised this yacht has been the wish to provide continuity between the beach club and an area we could call the al fresco veranda; that is, the rear part of the main deck where the pool is also located, passing through an impressive stairway,” says Antonio Santella, vice president of sales and marketing at Sanlorenzo Superyacht Division. The pool has a glass bottom and sheds dappled light in the beach club below.
Equally striking is the way the interior part of the beach club connects to the main saloon via an open marble-lined staircase that splits halfway and becomes a double-height space, with 4.6-metre ceiling heights towering above it. Reminiscent of a sweeping 19th-century staircase, it is more than just a way to get upstairs. “It gives an impression of extra space, of course: all that emotion when you enter,” says Beretta.
The client is an experienced owner and in fact already has a Sanlorenzo 46 Steel, delivered in 2012. “He’s just reversing the digits,” jokes Santella. This means that he knows yard owner Massimo Perotti well and had a very clear idea of what he wanted from the off. The official launch of the boat, with some 400 guests, felt more like a wedding than anything else, complete with speeches, bear hugs and tears all round. “I’ve known Massimo Perotti for years now and having built my last boat with him and his team, [I knew] the trust was already well placed,” the owner says. “I knew that Sanlorenzo would be able to build the yacht of my dreams.”
Uppermost in his design brief was that the boat should be optimised for family use – it should be more than just a symbol of success or a place to do business. That’s why the size of the beach club was non-negotiable; why there had to be room for two tenders, including a 10-metre limo and an eight-metre sports tender; and why there are no fewer than five giant television screens on board, including two in the owner’s suite.
“He likes to watch movies with his family and friends and talk about what they watched together,” explains Francesco Paszkowski, who designed the interior in co-operation with Margherita Casprini. “His requirements were clear from the very beginning: a cosy and welcoming atmosphere showing understated elegance. Aiming at enjoying time on board together with his family and friends, large shared areas where he could feel at home while on board were also fundamental.”
The attention paid to dining and food preparation areas is also a key part of this philosophy. Each deck features a dedicated dining space – only the beach club is table-free, but even here there is a large marble-topped bar and easy chairs for relaxing with a drink or a snack.
“A real challenge for the production team was the creation of an enormous barbecue in the dining area of the main deck, a request which was particularly connected to the nationality of the ship owner,” says Santella. “The arrangement of an open fire in an enclosed space in fact required the use of A60 fireproof stainless steel and the installation of an advanced smoke removal system.” It will be used for grilling meat and teppanyaki cooking.
The food focus extends right down into the tank deck, where there is a Marquina marble-lined meat storage room and a 500-bottle climate- controlled wine cellar. “He thinks time spent together during lunch or dinner can be unforgettable,” explains Paszkowski.
Similarly, the galleys and pantries had to be well equipped and comfortable. “Skilled cooks are important, and crew must enjoy time while cooking. The galley must be a pleasant space to work in,” says Paszkowski. “Crew members should feel good and free to move at ease between decks while working.” Besides the 18 crew berths, they have access to their own dedicated multimedia room on the tank deck.
The challenge set to the design teams was to accommodate all these features, and yet come up with a yacht that felt “contemporary and sober”. Sanlorenzo has been smart by using simple, elegant lines, and perhaps it is this restraint that best describes the brand’s design language.
That and touches such as the sleek windows and the large infinity pool on the main deck – a feature that has already been used on the smaller 52Steel with good results. “Clear, coherent, appealing. This is the force of our timeless projects that are always up to date,” says Santella. “We are focused on blending tradition and innovation with intelligence."
The exterior offers numerous different social areas, from the upper saloon spa pool to the beach club balconies. And yet, Sanlorenzo admits that the key to this boat is more about what happens inside than outside. “The balance sees the interior winning, as we accomplished the wishes of the owner to have such huge interior volumes,” says Santella.
It gave Paszkowski a broad canvas on which to deliver a tough brief. He came up with the term “modern South American” to describe the style of the interior. It relies overwhelmingly on natural materials, including fine Nabuk leathers, a range of six marbles and warm teak for stairs and floors. There’s a dash of crocodile leather in the headboard of the owner’s bed, lacquered panels overhead in the corridors and wallpaper used elsewhere. The furniture was mostly sourced from Italian brands, including Baxter, Minotti and Maxalto, including low cream sofas. A few pieces, including the dining tables, were specifically designed by Paszkowski.
The art on board has a quirky feel to it. In the more private upper saloon, a quizzical-looking golden gorilla surveys diners from his alcove. A more thoughtful piece has been positioned at the foot of that striking staircase in the main atrium. Facing each other across the stairs are two bronze casts – on the left, a heroic figure of a man struggling through the wall, with just his torso and a knee showing through; on the right, the same man pauses on his way back through the wall – just the rippling muscles of his back showing. And above the main dining table, a series of golden lily leaves unfurl, with fine copper piping for a flower stem and a glowing LED at the tip. Made by Catellani & Smith, they are beautiful without being showy. All were sourced by Paszkowski and chosen by the owner.
In the end, Sanlorenzo and the designers have succeeded in pulling off a remarkable trick. They have crammed a great deal of space and a world of different experiences into a lean and fair-looking boat. It ensures that, like her notorious namesake, Attila has powers and abilities beyond her apparent dimensions.