A vehicle for architecture

23 Nov 2009

Foster's super-luxurious yacht sets sail

Cementing his position as a connoisseur of vehicular design, Norman Foster's new sailing yacht Panthalassa launched this week at Perini Navi’s boatyard in Viareggio, Italy, joining an ever growing catalogue of high-luxury vehicles designed by the architect and Lord.

Launched in April Foster's first super-yacht, the high-speed Ocean Emerald, was suited to the Playboy proprietor with a youthful joi de vivre. The Panthalassa, however, has been designed for the more distinguished owner with comfort and style forging the streamline design, and a serene top speed of 15 knots. Frivolity has not been forgotten in the design, however, and the Panthalassa also integrates storage for jet skis for when one feels a pang of youthful vitality. Two Pascoe tenders can also be accommodated, and entertainment and communications equipment are integrated into the furniture and interior panels.

With naval design generated by Ron Holland, the shell of the structure was left to Foster to put his stamp on and the resulting design is not too dissimilar to that of a house. The Panthalassa is three storeys deep comprising a fly deck, main saloon and the guest and crew quarters below. Each is interconnected by a feature spiral staircase and skylights introduce natural light below deck. "The accommodation is arranged to provide a range of spaces, from smaller, more private retreats to flexible, open living areas," say Fosters. "The deck features a variety of places to relax and an informal outdoor eating area, complemented by a more formal dining space inside."

Natural materials including teak, leather panelled walls and granite table surfaces are blended into the design emphasising the comfort of a home from home. Silk rugs and gold and black marble tiles in the shower areas complete the finesse of decoration.

Having re-designed the NetJets Falcon 7X charter plane's interior and exterior, and teamed up with Aston Martin to win the redesign competition for the iconic London Routemaster bus, Foster's vehicular ambitions are clear, leading us to wonder where they will drive him to next.

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