Monaco Yacht Temptation
Name: Carlo Torre
Company: Monaco Yacht Temptation (MYT)
Position within company: Managing Director
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
I studied at the University of Genoa and completed with a graduation in Naval Architecture and Yacht Design. In 1993, Wally Yachts was at the very beginning of the Company, I became their first in house designer and was working at four hands with Luca Bassani. Luca, to whom I am very grateful, when I was only 26, gave me the chance to express my concepts which were completely in line with the Company’s views. In return, I was extremely dedicated and conscious of having been given a once in a lifetime opportunity. Designing those yachts, at that time and age was a dream. I think it was a good symbiosis, undoubtedly, we wrote a piece of history in yacht design and that experience marked my views on the future design.
After six years in Wally, I set up my company in Monaco and enjoyed the role of project and design manager. We were still designing, but for some years the coordination of important projects was prevalent, many of the Wally clients were hiring MYT to overlook their projects. We also had several experiences in motor yacht design around the world, which recently brought us to one of our repeating clients who asked us to design the interior of the first Damen Seaexplorer of the series, the SX 62 Anawa, which revealed to be a real success.
With Solaris 111, we had the chance to develop a few concepts that I have had in mind for a long time.
I designed that type of aft owner cabin in 1997, but sometimes it takes a while before being able to translate concepts into a built yacht.
How would you describe your personal design style?
Functional elegance. When you are on a yacht, you are with your family and guests that usually are close friends, it makes no difference whether it’s a 30 m or a 90 m yacht, because more and more clients are asking for easiness of living and relax. We can see an increase of the time spent on the yachts, terrorism and pandemic are giving a boost; more time on board means that clients need to feel at home, with the quality of service but also the simplicity of life on board. Some clients have told us that using the yacht features is often too complex and because of this, they consider a consecutive two weeks a maximum time they can spend on their yacht. This in part is also due to the design, especially in terms of layout, distribution of functions and complexity to enjoy the yacht amenities.
These factors combined translate into a prevalent request for a design that perfectly matches our view: functional elegance and simplicity of use.
We also like to have convertible spaces to give more freedom to the guests and use all the areas of the yacht. We have recently shown this to its full extent in the owner’s suite on the Damen SX-77.
We like to work with clients that explain how they want to live on board and how they want to feel, then it is us to translate it into a design that gives them what they are looking for. It’s important to listen and not to design our yacht, but their one. That’s also why some time it takes a while before transferring our ideas into a yacht, we have to wait for the right client asking for something where our ideas can fit.
On the other side it’s difficult to work with clients that come asking for specific design features that don’t correspond to what they need or how they want to feel. It’s hard when there is a mismatch between how they imagine the design should be and the feeling they want to get from it.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I believe a lot in the Renaissance approach, when there wasn’t a distinction between architect, engineer, artist, … knowledge was transversal through various areas and it was driven by curiosity and not by commercial reasons. Working for the success or the money, means leaving a lot of knowledge behind, on the contrary, if you satisfy your curiosity, it takes more time, but then the knowledge is solid and broad.
Today it’s common to stick labels and have specialities, while I prefer an eclectic approach and know how a yacht works in its complexity, this comes from the beginning of my career, when the yacht was designed as a whole: to have clean decks, we needed to know how to simplify sailing and how to design structures to make them less invasive. We had to conceive style, structures, systems and interiors as one single entity. A modern yacht needs to be consistent through the various aspects, even if there are specific responsibilities, it’s paramount to know and understand other sectors characteristics. There are plenty of beautiful motor yachts which are not functional, they’re good for shows or photo shooting, but not for pleasure and enjoyment.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
For the sailing yachts, with the Solaris 111 and its concept of the owner’s villa on the sea we have shown something, but this is just the beginning in the development of a new type of sailing yacht. Unfortunately, it is an extremely conservative market, most of the players propose as new something which is just a refinement, and there is still a review of what we had developed in the late 90s, not many new approaches.
There is need for vision and bravery.
That’s why it is a dying market, over the past ten years in the sailing industry Alloy, Fitzroy and Holland Jachtbouw have shut their doors, and others are struggling. In less than fifteen years, we have seen the numbers declining, while motor yacht industry escalated.
Today the market of pure sailors is over, in the sailing world we see six to eight orders per year above 30 m. This sailing world as we knew it has come to an end, there are also less and less entries at maxi yacht races.
Now the potential clients are not traditional sailors, and we have to offer a different product, with different marketing strategies. Nobody understood that and we still see proposals of sailing yachts for pure sailors, who accept to pay an unnecessary price on all comfortable characteristics with the excuse of performance. This is an old concept, it’s not true anymore and it’s killing our market. We scare new potential clients because we are elitist, sailing is not just about being wet and heeled, with small owner cabins and encumbered decks.
Only Perini is on the right path now, but it’s a process that needs to be developed and we are assisting them on all their new models.
The absurd is to struggle to sell sailing yachts while there is a huge and growing demand for green and contact with nature, this means it’s not a matter of opinion that we have the wrong products and the wrong strategies, as an industry.
We hope to be able to bring our ideas and points of view to the market, we need the new type of sailing yachts and I would like to see these now, not in another twenty years. That’s the problem of being ahead.
For the motor yachts, we see a lot of effort towards hybrid and electric solutions, applied to yachts that are highly inefficient, starting from displacement, hull shapes, construction materials, recycling of energy. Therefore the starting point is too demanding in terms of energy for alternative power systems, which are expensive and require more volume.
Motor yachts don’t go downhill or brake, therefore it’s not clear the purpose of hybrid power sources because it the end all the power comes from diesel fuel and any energy transformation has an efficiency price, we should be honest and focus on energy efficiency on board because hybrid and electric are still far away from been green, other than for short range use with shore recharging.
On another note, still mainly concerning motor yachts, I see in the near future a greater integration with shore, up to now there has been the focus on developing opening platforms, widening stern areas, but this is still in a concept of yacht/island, I think we should focus more on the concept of yacht/peninsula to enable an easier access to shore. If somebody wants to go cycling it’s a half an hour operation to load the bike and go back and forth with the tender, not very enjoyable and too complex.
This goes back to the easiness of living and use, it doesn’t matter if the crew does what is needed, it takes time, too much, and the guest doesn’t do it.
We are developing as much as possible the design to make simple things faster, rather than scenographic complex solutions, which are fantastic, but take time, much more than designers believe, because many of them don’t know the real life on board.
Living in Monaco, gives me the opportunity to see top yachts around during the summer, knowing many of the fantastic features some of these have, I note that they are rarely used, because of the long time to deploy and then store away, compared to the time guests want to spend in the same location.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2020 and beyond.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
We prefer expressing our style through materials, proportions, and shapes, more than with the decoration.
Layout, architectonic and ergonomic is the part of the design which takes the most time for us, then come materials, finishing and lights, only at the end we look at the decoration.
From the beginning we have a final view, we imagine all details including decoration, but while we keep in mind the final picture, we proceed by steps.
Materials, and then decoration, help to modify the perception of volumes and shapes, if we insert them at a stage too early it becomes difficult for us to judge without being misled. We start with 2D plan views, to be quick at shooting many alternatives and not miss ideas that pop up and disappear, in the beginning we only use 3D to check tight areas. Once we are happy with the layout we develop the 3D, only white volumes and shapes, to check if these are balanced and functional. Right proportions transmit comfort and good feeling in an ambient, it’s important to make it right because the manipulation on perception through decoration and materials is limited and the ambient can transmit discomfort if wrongly proportioned.
I like a lot the design at the time before computers, because the greatest architects from the past had intuition for the essential shape at their early concept. Computer modelling sometime generates shapes that are the consequence of the math that’s behind the software. When your conception is free from the constraints of the tool, then sometimes you find yourself forcing the software to match your concept.
There is a lot of tool driven design.
What was your favourite project to work on and why?
I’m very satisfied with the Solaris 111, but I’m also very demanding about my work, so, while I see the good things we did in a project, I immediately spot items for which we could have done better or, simply, I see the next step further, like getting on a crest to see the next valley, this is what pushes me for improvement and this is why the best project is always the next one, the next valley.
What was your most challenging project to work on and why?
I think there are two, one was the Wallycento Tango, where we had to manage the design team that was composed with very talented people, but most of them had never worked together before or had been involved in such a complex design. That yacht was so much ahead in all areas, not many can understand in full the quality and the difficulty, it’s really for specialists.
The other challenging project has been the Damen SX-62, on which we did the interior design, because we were involved to replace the previous designer, who didn’t meet the client’s expectations, it happens. This involvement on the fly, put us on an extremely tight schedule to avoid the yard having the right to claim a justified delay to the client. We had a hard-working year to stay on schedule for the first half of the project, but we never missed a delivery date, and the client was very happy with our style and the general outcome. He was a repeating client; we knew each other very well.
The yard was also very satisfied with our design and way of working, this led Damen to ask us to present a proposal for their SX-77, it has been a great professional achievement and was recognized by such an important yard.
Which products/services could you not live without when designing?
For us, no tool is really essential, ideas drive the process, but you cannot think of presenting a project without proper renders.
We also use virtual reality, which is good, but only at a further phase in the development.
How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards?
For what I was saying before, about proposing new products with new strategies, these Awards have a wider visibility in the luxury world than industry specific prizes, which is exactly what we need.
What projects are you currently working on?
We delivered the preliminary presentation of the Damen SX-77 and we hope that there will soon be an outcome as the interest around this project is very high. We also started one month ago to work on the brief of a repeating client for a custom motor yacht of 34 m.
For the sailing yachts, we are developing a bigger and a smaller sister of the Solaris 111 and there is the work with Perini on all their models.
Our project management department is also working on the Perini 42 m which is mid-way through the construction process, even though Covid related issues messed up all yard activities.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To have goals with the present situation means being very flexible and pragmatic, usually in the first year after a launch there are new clients moving forward because they wanted to visualize the recent development of the launched yachts, this is obviously related to the possibility and the will to travel to visit the yachts, which in this situation is the difficult part of the story. Apart from the on-going projects, a second Seaexplorer with Damen and a sister to the Solaris 111 are the main goals for 2021. It’s important to have continuity on a project family, it gives the possibility to grow and develop from a base.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
I’m an avid sportsman, and as for knowledge, I’m extremely curious. I practice quite a lot of sports, changing intensity between them depending on my envy of the moment, so now it’s a bit less of long-distance triathlon and more trail running and spearfishing. This year I qualified for the 100 km of UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), but the pandemic cancelled the entire race calendar, including that one. We’ll see if 2021 goes any better or if we just have to keep training.
Doing sports cleans your mind and I have always had the best inspirations whilst training, many solutions popped up during my hours that I passed training on the bike or running.
Your most treasured possession?
Two types of things, my motorcycles: two BMW’s from the early 80s and a small Vespa 50 still from the 80s, which is my daily scooter in Monaco; the others are my bicycles. Also my spearguns, but less than my bikes.
Your favourite holiday destination?
We are a very active family, we like the outdoors and we always go where it’s possible to do what we enjoy, nothing too fancy or crowded, but I think the last summer we spent our time in the most special place. We rented a villa close to Gavrio, in Andros (Greece) with its own peninsula and private beach, we actually rented the whole peninsula.
It was immediately after the lock-down, we needed to be really free, we were only going to the village every four days, I was spear fishing, and that was our main meal every day.
The kids felt as they were princes of the peninsula.
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Like many in this business, I travel quite a lot, so the place where I’m happiest is at home, for the same reason I’m not a fan of big hotels, I need to relax so I prefer small, warm places. It’s been a while since I’ve stayed there, but definitely 11 Cadogan Gardens in Chelsea (London) is a cosy place to stay.
I apply the same philosophy to restaurants, therefore, if it’s not for business, I like simple places and don’t need five starred food. Again in London, I like a true pub where I can go to eat since more than twenty years, it’s The Grenadier in Belgravia, unfortunately it became a bit touristic in the past ten years, but lunch time during the week it’s still true London, you can see bankers eating the meal of the day with a dish on their knees in front of the fireplace, the place is small and always full, you have to grab the first available stool.
The best bar was undoubtedly the Stars’N’Bars in Monaco, in the early years when they first opened, back in 1993, when I arrived in Monaco. Now it became more touristic, but in the early years it was wild, in a nice way. In Wally we were all very young, finishing late in the evening every night, we were dissipating a good part of our salary at the S’N’B, as we called it.
Your favourite book, film & song?
For the book the name of the rose, from Umberto Eco, clearly I read it in Italian, which is important, because the author had a great quality of expression, which made the book realistic. When I later saw the movie, it was everything as I imagined it.
For film and music I don’t have a preference, but both are from the same period, the 80s. All those great actors and musicians, before with the bands and later as soloists, they are getting very old and aren’t finding any decent replacements. I don’t know when we will see someone like Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, or listen to something like Pink Floyd, The Police, The Queen, Genesis, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, … some of them are still playing and there are kids at their concerts. My kids listen to this music too, it’s so easy to understand that’s Music and the success of the film Bohemian Rhapsody speaks for itself. I also listen to jazz and classic, especially on the weekends at breakfast.
Your favourite food and drink?
The fish I catch, eaten almost alive, and pasta with pesto, the basil sauce from Genoa, that’s something you can get addicted to. I like good wine, essentially from Italy, France and some from Spain.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Sport, no questions, also with my kids.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A professional athlete or an artisan, I love hand working.
Anything else interesting?
I have also two refit yards in Italy and two companies for yacht systems, one in Palma and one in Italy, we do hydraulic and automation, especially for new yachts from Perini and Southern Wind. I like being quite active.
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