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84Isea& iIAUTUMN 2009 Rowell recalls getting the plans in late spring of 2006, and realising the possibilities. " It's incredibly efficient inside", he explains. " We did a calculation on a 39m ( 128') series boat and this has 25 per cent more interior volume for only two metres more length." The design brief promised the best and the worst for the designers; the best thing being that the customer had strong ideas, the worst. the customer had strong ideas. " Actually, we'd rather someone came with pointers, a few strands, and that these clients put glamour high up their list of keywords. Natori's owner wanted ethnic overtones, and some 1930s influences", says Bannenberg. " Art Deco makes us a bit nervous. It's a perilous zone that can turn into an overpowering Lalique- fest. Fortunately here, from the start, everyone agreed on a pretty calm palette. The owner's wife was hugely involved when it came to the fabrics, the weaving- in of African influences, accessory- picking and bigger design themes." Rowell adds. " We're not keen on a totally ' suite- d' look; mixing things is fine by us. The overriding theme was quality materials. The owners were very keen on a layered interior, not just a veneer of style. Even though it's smart, modern, almost urban in some areas, it still comes across as an evolved, lived- in scheme." With Baglietto raring to go, Bannenberg & Rowell Design worked flat out to year end 2006 to produce the first computer- aided design ( CAD) drawings. At least three marathon meetings were held with all parties involved to define the inner layout. The early focus was on the lower decks, where construction would begin, progressing upwards via detailed sketches of the main saloon, and initial visuals of the owner's stateroom and the main deck. " We're getting to know a client," says Rowell. " We need interaction, and that in itself takes time. We had five people working constantly on the designs - an organic, holistic team. We soon pushed the CADs in front of the client to help them realise what was going on." Dickie Bannenberg interjects. " I'm not sure we've had a single client yet who's taken either a healthy or an unhealthy interest in the CAD drawings," he says. " But that's completely normal: people simply understand a 3D visual better. They're much more switched on by a table full of fabrics or piles of timber samples. It's our job to make the engineering side more penetrable for them." The interior theme is African raw materials crafted with Italian style. The principal woods are tropical olive, oak and macassar ebony, and the keynote wall coverings a muted Bill Amberg shagreen and a plain kid calf leather. As the elements were assembled, the build entered a dizzying dual- track process. " When the design process moves into fabrication on a fast project, the designers must soak up demands at both ends", says Rowell. " We're under

designdecor AUTUMN 2009I sea& iI85 pressure to get CAD drawings through to the yard while the owner quite rightly wants to look at the context for the furnishings. We have to present all of these items, even though we're trying to move the interior architecture forward at a fast pace. The more design savvy your client, the better that process is because they can visualise things without requiring computer-generated images. We showed them all the fabrics, early sketches, and then moved on. Only when the die was cast did we produce more photographic- style renderings. " You have to navigate the project on their behalf. So when the owner is looking at a piece of linen and a piece of macassar ebony simultaneously, we want approval on the ebony; the linen, we know, can easily morph over the next year. But for the owner, of course, it's all one homogenous scheme. It's tricky: sometimes we have to punctuate our presentations with a reminder not to get hung up on this or that." Added to the cauldron is the inevitable slight deviation between design studio intention and shipyard reality. In Natori's lobby, for example, the finished result is almost indistinguishable from the finalised two- dimensional visual. But in making the floor the colour came out very slightly different. The floor went through four redesigns - and four full- size samples - before the owner declared himself satisfied. " It is client mind- changing, umming and ahhing, prompted by seeing the actual thing, and rightly so," says Bannenberg. " The nature of the beast is you never have a simple sign- off." Yet another décor issue, no less nerve- fraying, was quality consistency. On Natori, this was crucial with regard to the woodwork. " We'd settled on a piece of tropical olive, and our sample had a particular ' fiddle' and depth. I wasn't even sure where we got it, so we saw five or six efforts from the yard before getting a stock that matched the loveliness of the original. For a quiet life we could have said: ' Let's have cherry, straight- grain oak, mahogany.'" With construction well under way, drawings for the interior architectural elements like the joinery, windows, doors and cupboards were gradually signed- off throughout 2007. Finessing of such things as surface material junctions was systematically resolved between the yard and designers at monthly summits. Meanwhile, at the studio, the tiniest details, like the boat's logo, were occupying drawing boards and computer screens. There was no low ebb of momentum, but such mid- term work- in- progress is a tantalising time for owner involvement. " It's a test for an owner to see the boat a quarter done," Bannenberg says. " Something has been half- installed or is temporarily positioned in its wrapping under fluorescentlight, welding torches are flickering in the background. Are they interested in how it's all made? Maybe, but they're likely to say: ' Hmm, it doesn't look quite how I expected'. You have to reassure." The sparkle in the owners' eyes was reserved for Natori's completion in February this year. Only then could some of the wonderful details Bannenberg & Rowell Design conceived be fully appreciated: the coffee table in the main saloon that had been through a dozen redesigns; the pop- up TV and speaker system in the same room that had been through five iterations so the hi- def technology didn't steal limelight from its sumptuous surroundings; the shower walls of sealed glass vacuums like museum display cabinets - they all engenderpride. " We work hard to hunt around, spot things, use mental Post- It notes," Bannenberg says. " We'll introduce something new and cool if it's got something to offer. As to the shower, it came about because we suggested including something totally unsuitable for a wet area. We've had feathers and paper in it, but it's ended up with iridescent mother- of- pearl discs in case the charge of ' insane designers' was levelled against us. You need confidence, but I temperit slightly from my dad [ Jon Bannenberg]' s era, when he'd provide a choice of one thing. ' This is what you're having', he'd say, and people went along with it." " Well." says Rowell, " We still do that, only nowadays we have to justify our decisions." ¦ Natori is available for charter in the West Mediterranean this coming summer through CNI. For further information, contact your nearest CNI charter broker, see page 8. Opposite page, clockwise from bottom: earthy African tones make for a soothing stateroom; Natori under way; subtle 1930s influences highlight the main saloon; quality of materials was paramount, including the choice of finish for the bathrooms; the owner's request for touches of glamour has been admirably fulfilled This page, top and above: stylish open- air living has been prioritised as much as the interior design SPECIFICATIONS LENGTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41.8m ( 137') BEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8.5m ( 27' 1) DRAFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2.2m ( 7' 2) BUILDER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baglietto YEAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2009 STATEROOMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 GUESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 CREW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8