We meet the owner of the 55-metre Atlante, who wanted to create an innovative and striking yacht that is never less than innovative and personal
“When I decided to build a new boat, my major aim was not having to compromise,” says the owner of Atlante, the 55-metre from CRN that launched last year. The steel-and-aluminium vessel’s uncompromising nature starts with the striking sight she makes on the water – there’s nothing plump and curvaceous about her exterior styling from Studio Nuvolari Lenard. Instead, the straight lines and sharp edges hint at a source of inspiration in military ships. “Thanks to Dan Lenard, I have exactly what I was looking for. She’s an unusual but functional yacht, responding to my own style. The boat had to be masculine and intimate, a personal yacht avoiding all the usual references to the world of yachting: something square, a kind of military style with very clean and simple lines. But even if it had to include great details, I did not want it to be over designed,” the owner says.
Atlante’s personal side is something you grasp very quickly. Boarding is ordinarily – if unusually – through the beach club (there is a superbly engineered passerelle from upper deck for those quays that are just too high). From the beach club, which is a well-appointed guest zone in its own right, guests go up a rather stunning staircase in carnico marble that reflects the greys of the exterior, into a largely enclosed expanse of aft deck on the main deck. Huge side pods open, completely changing the character of the space – it serves as a technical area to stow tenders, a place for parties, or a wonderful cinema. It’s somewhere that fulfils the characterful promise of the exterior.
The owner was hands-on throughout the project. “I enjoyed the development of the creative project greatly, working closely with the team,” he says. “I wanted to build the boat in Italy and to find partners that would understand, respect and translate my vision perfectly. I found in Dan Lenard and CRN the best partners as they didn’t ask me to negotiate my ideas! And interior designers Patrick Gilles and Dorothée Boissier were extraordinary in helping me to realise a proper made-to-measure project.”
Atlante’s public debut was at the Monaco Yacht Show last year, and she caught the eye among the white hulls of her sisters, but the only sensible way to judge a yacht is not in its show finery but after she has had a season’s cruising under the hull, when guests have been on board and made use of all the spaces. By this standard, Atlante has been a complete success. So far the yacht hasn’t explored beyond the Côte d’Azur and northern coastlines of the Mediterranean, with a crossing to the Caribbean planned for the winter, but the experiences of the guests aboard this private yacht have been closely monitored by the owner, and they have been entirely positive. “They have really appreciated the wide lounge areas, and the comfortable spaces dedicated to free time, characterised by bespoke tables and sofas,” he says. “We personally chose all the best solutions for the comfort of guests on board. Atlante was created with an intimate and warm character in order to guarantee the wellness and privacy of my family and my guests.”
There is often one area on board a new yacht that emerges as the most popular with guests, and aboard Atlante it is what the owner calls “the upper deck experience”. “This is my favourite place! From the stern to the bow, it has a unique and panoramic view, without interruption. We are always somewhere on this deck. The bow is a wide-open and panoramic area that can be set up in different ways, with free-standing accessories and only one piece of fixed furniture, an up-and-down table. It’s a great spot to be with my guests, to enjoy a sunset aperitif or dinner under a starry sky,” he says.
The foredeck is indeed an extraordinary and innovative space. The view forward from the wheelhouse is over an expanse of foredeck uncluttered by the usual levels, steps and service areas. The mooring gear at the bow is cleverly tucked away along with the steaming lights, and once the guardrails are removed there’s space for a three-tonne helicopter to touch and go. But this is only part of the story. Near-vertical windows of the wheelhouse and the edgy superstructure styling contribute to the ‘masculine’ feel of Atlante, but it doesn’t take long to soften this austere area, once the table emerges from the deck and a cover is deployed from top of the wheelhouse. Temporary seating is put in place and guests sit on the deck, with legs tucked underneath in the space vacated by the now-raised table. Once the crew have worked their magic and dressed the table for dinner, fired up the discreet lighting and added a dozen candles, it makes for very private and magical spot for an informal dinner.
This foredeck area hints at how easy it is to change the character of Atlante – what is impressive in its austerity and starkness can soon be lightened into something warm and welcoming. Inside, the chameleon character of the yacht comes out in all its glory. “This is a very ‘introspective’ boat, very personal with unusual decisions on the layout and the atmosphere. It is a masculine and military concept with no compromise,” says Dorothée Boissier of Gilles & Boissier Studio. “We have been working with the owner for 18 years on a lot of different projects, from residential to commercial. We know each other very well and are still very pleased to find new solutions. A yacht is the same challenge as any other project. Each project has its own constraints and we love playing with them. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and is always a new creative experience.”
The upper-deck experience continues inside, with a salon the captures the formal design aesthetic of the rest of the yacht, but is also a relaxed space, with a rug in abaca fibre covering the entire floor and a rustic table between the quirky offset couches creating something of a beach-side vibe. Windows – almost floor to ceiling – bring the outside in, while aft on deck there are shaded tables and sunbathing areas. Guests approach the main-deck salon up those memorable beach club stairs and through the enclosed technical-cum-cinema area. The aft doors of the salon are relatively small, and the solid expanse of black lacquered walls surrounding them are in contrast to the welcoming atmosphere inside. Sliding doors either side of the salon allow access to the side deck and open up the space during the day. The colour tones and materials reflect the feeling of Atlante as a whole, with smoked oak, cedar and fine-grained nero marquina marble complementing the flashes of lighter materials, with calacatta vagli marble used in places. Once again, the yacht’s changeable character comes out – at night, this is an enclosed, private and cosy space, but in the day, with the doors and windows open, it takes on an airier, brighter vibe.
Amidships, the formal dining area is the only inside place to eat on board. To avoid the redundancy of a rarely used space – the fate of so many main-deck dining areas on modern superyachts – the dining table is adjustable: the two halves can be lowered to create two coffee tables for a more relaxed and flexible guest experience. Smoked oak and white carerra marble create a very elegant and clubbable lobby, leading to the owner’s suite forward. Dorothée Boissier calls it her favourite spot on the yacht: “Very masculine, very comfortable, very sharp!” The approach, along a marble-lined corridor, is impressive, as is the long sofa to starboard. A desk, which slides out on tracks, turns the sofa into a working area. It’s by no means a formal office – Atlante is, after all, a place to get away from big desks and emails – but it is a spot that acknowledges that if work needs to be done, it should be done in comfort. There’s also a sliding footrest here, and a wall-mounted TV for when you’ve tucked the desk away.
The lower deck guest suites provide flexible accommodation, with dominant smoked oak continuing the warm feeling of the rest of the guest areas. Each of the four suites has a different layout, with three doubles and a spacious family-friendly twin forward and to port. The styling cues and materials are in keeping with the rest of the yacht, but the particular solution in each cabin is different.
A lift takes guests from the elegant lower-deck lobby to the sundeck. The slabs of black glass either side of the sundeck, which do much to underline Atlante’s military look, help to enclose the shaded up-and-down table, and there are plenty of options for guests, with a forward hot-tub and sunbathing area that feels suitably separate from the rest of the sundeck.
If the first impression of Atlante is of a yacht that is slightly sinister and a little edgy, her inner warmth and character come through when you spend time on board. The most striking thing is the many different faces she has, the result of an owner who wanted to create a yacht that was innovative and without compromise, but above all personal. “Ancient Atlante, according to myth, was Poseidon’s son, and I like to think of the yacht as my sea deity vehicle: a contemporary yacht matching my lifestyle,” says the owner. And after a very successful first season on the water, the narrative of the modern-age Atlante has only just started.
• A version of this story appears in SuperYacht World Issue 49, May/June 2016