LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Foster's Fleet: Part II


The latest boat to join the architectural armada designed by Foster + Partners is Panthalassa, a 56-meter sailing yacht built by Perini Navi that features a classic hull but which is utterly innovative below deck.

The London-based architectural practice Foster + Partners is no stranger to yacht design. In 2009, it launched Ocean Emerald and Ocean Pearl, the first of four identical motor cruisers commissioned by the fractional ownership scheme YachtPlus. Whereas the Ocean series of superyachts feature futuristic lines like nothing seen before at sea, the latest vessel to join the Foster fleet is classic on the outside and revolutionary on the inside.

Panthalassa is a 56-meter sailing yacht built by the renowned Italian boat builder Perini Navi, which launched in November 2009. The naval architect Ron Holland designed Panthalassa’s ultra-light exterior (it features an aluminum hull and masts engineered from aluminum and carbon fiber), while Foster + Partners created the interior (natural materials blend inside with outside and large skylights bring natural light below deck).

“In designing the yacht, we were very keen to bring natural light into the saloon and to create interior spaces that offer the choice between privacy or a more social experience,” explains David Nelson, a senior partner and Head of Design at Foster + Partners. “Partitioned with electrically operated glazed screens, the saloon can either be divided or unified into one large function room, and the stairwell acts as a dramatic light reflector to enliven and illuminate the space.”

Across three decks, Panthalassa has been fitted out with teak, saddle leather panels on the walls and granite table surfaces, all in a palette of natural tones. A simple but effective innovation in the six similarly sized cabins (the vessel is designed for charter rather than private use) is the placement of storage areas at the center of the boat, leaving the curve of the hull exposed and maximizing natural light. Another example of Foster + Partners’ architecture-at-sea is a curved chaise longue that threads around the hull throughout the cabins on the lower deck.

The launch of Panthalassa represents the 47th boat to join the Perini Navi fleet. Considered to be amongst the most prestigious and innovative builders of sailing yachts, it is not the first time that Perini Navi has collaborated with a world-class architect. In 2009, it launched Baracuda, a 50-meter yacht that featured interior and deck spaces designed by John Pawson. For lucky sailors, these yachts represent the most cutting edge vessels on the market, combining the tradition of a high quality boat builder with the radical ideas of the most celebrated architects.

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