Francesco Paszkowski, the designer behind Tankoa’s brand-new 236-foot (72m) luxury superyacht SOLO, sat down with Margherita Casprini for a Q&A to share insights on the design and impeccable features of SOLO.
Q: How did you come to be a yacht designer?
Francesco Paszkowski: I always had a pencil in my pocket since I was a boy. I drew anything that attracted my attention, be it a car I saw through a train window while traveling to an ehxition with my father or the helmet of a motorcyclist I spotted while waiting at the traffic light. But I decided to become a designer after visiting an exhibition of Giorgetto Giugiaro work in Milan. I just said to myself, “I want be a designer when I grow up.”
Margherita Casprini: I’ve always liked yachts and I studied architecture at the University of Florence. I took part in a design competition organized for young designers by a magazine in the marine field and I was awarded with the prize. I then began work at the design firm of an architect and then at the design office of a boatyard where I met Francesco Paszkowski, who had designed a boat the yard was building. After some time, I was asked to collaborate with his design firm for interiors. This began in 2006, first with overseeing décor and researching new materials; now I’m heading up all aspects of interior design on a consultancy basis.
Q: How would you describe the exterior lines of SOLO?
F.P.: She features a contemporary and elegant. yet timeless exterior design. We achieved this through an accurate combination of curved and clear lines and a distinctive hull color.
Q: How would you describe the interior design of SOLO?
F.P.: SOLO’s owner had already worked with us. He had a precise idea on how the interior should be. She had to meet her owner’s wishes for private use, but also had to meet all luxury charter requests. Large social areas outside and inside were very important to the owner, privacy also was essential. We started with that and made a proposal the owner accepted.
M.C.: Cozy and welcoming, timeless and understated with predominant dark hues, which were a non-negotiable for the owner. We focused on the color combination to meet his requests and to create the interior he was expecting.
Q: What inspired the design? How much of your own creativity was permitted?
F.P.: Even when a designer is given no limitations, teamwork is fundamental to get a good result. SOLO received perfect teamwork among all players involved, including the design firm, shipyard and owner. We’ve had the privilege to work with Tankoa for a long time and had already worked with SOLO’s owners.
Q: Who built the interior and furniture? How many custom pieces are on board?
M.C.: Furniture was designed by and custom made by our firm includes night tables, the wing-shaped furniture in the VIP and in the dining, the custom bronzed mirror-tiled lamp thatoverhangs the custom dining table and most of the outside sofas. All other sofas are by Fendi Casa — except for a sofa in the upper deck, which is by Flexform. The stools at the bar counter in the beach area and at the entrance on the main deck are by CedriMartini and other outdoor furniture is by Kettal.
Q: What are your favorite features of SOLO?
F.P.: The owner’s master suite with the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows are my favorite. While on the bed, you have a perfect view of outside. The master suite also has a private pool, a private breakfast area and another private space one for sunbathing. The owner’s deck also can be accessed directly from the touch-and-go helipad.
M.C.: There are plenty! I’d say the upper deck, which features a salon with large windows, a 90-inch 4K OLED TV, a fireplace, a bar and a baby grand piano and a large socializing area with sofas around the dining area for 12. I also love the winter garden on the main deck. The main deck aft offers a spacious conversation area near the the outdoor pool. In addition, the beach club below and the private deck above the owner’s deck — with a very secluded sunbathing area used when mooring for ultimate privacy —also are two of my favorites.
Q: What were the key challenges of designing SOLO as a yacht for charter?
F.P.: Finding the right balance between the owner’s needs and desires and the needs of people who will charter her. Flexibility was very important.
M.C.: We focused first on the owner’s needs, which were then integrated with other elements suitable for potential charterers. Convertible areas were a solution for both charterers and private use. The cozy winter garden close to the reception/bar desk can be used as a relaxation area, but also as a sort of check-in desk when the boat is chartered; the absence of aft entry is deliberate to for privacy. Guests step on board through a lateral sliding door instead of sliding door aft. Guests who enjoy alfresco living are not irritated by the constant opening and closing of the big glass doors. The main entryway modeled after a winter garden also can be used as an additional relaxing area. There are other convertible areas on board: the hair-dressing/massage room on the upper deck that can be converted into an additional cabin with bathroom for a bodyguard, officer or even for extra guests when the yacht is chartered. On the owner’s deck, his independent TV room also converts into an additional guest cabin with a bathroom nearby.
Q: What kinds of design features do you expect to see on charter yachts over the next five or 10 years?
F.P.: New materials have always offered new opportunities for both functional and aesthetic aspects. The shift from one material to another – think wood, fibreglass and carbon – introduced new styles to exterior and interior. I think new materials are expected in the future and they will change once again function and aesthetics.
M.C.: I think there will be new concept of onboard living that will push the frontiers of industry. Liveability, long ranges and comfort always will be key features.