Hot Lab is a yacht design studio created in 2004 by young partners, Antonio Romano, Michele Dragoni and Enrico Lumini, that since then has been engaged with such brands as Baglietto, Heesen, and Fincantieri.

Left to right: Michele Dragoni, Antonio Romano and Enrico Lumini.
 
This interview with Antonio was recorded in the middle of his trips between Milan, Istanbul, and Monaco. He talked to Yacht Harbour about his cultural roots, challenges of doing business in Italy, the studio’s current projects, plans to expand into other luxury products and… he disclosed what his favorite car is.

Since you’ve just returned from Turkey, how is the business going there?


Hot Lab has become increasingly popular in Turkey after we delivered the refit project for the 43-meter Keyla that belongs to a very important Turkish family. We have three in-build yachts in Istanbul commissioned by our private clients. Two of them are under construction at Yildiz Shipyard and the third one is both exterior and interior design for the 68-meter M/Y Day’s built at AES Yacht. Besides, we’ve just started the 55-meter project called Nacré, which is our fourth in-build project in Turkey and the first for Sarp Yachts. The business is good. Yachting culture has developed a lot among local owners and shipyards.Turkish yards are now able to produce top-level quality leisure vessels. 


M/Y Keyla interior by Hot Lab. In 2014 this collaboration between the Milanese studio and RMK Marine won the Best Rebuilt Yacht at World Superyacht Awards.


The “made in Italy” trademark has become kind of a cliché nowadays, and yachting is not an exception. How do you benefit from your Italian roots and still manage to differentiate yourself from other Italian studios?

From the Ancient Roma to Renaissance, beautiful cathedrals and palazzos surround us. So, art is in our blood. That is why the best part of furniture firms is located in Italy and the best part of supercar builders too. By the way, our partner Michele Dragoni has a background in car design and the other partner, Enrico Lumini is an architect. So, our private customers, as well as international shipyards appreciate the Italian way of doing design. However, Hot Lab is one of the few studios in this country having seven yachts in-build this year.
We find ourselves so well positioned on the market because we put a stress on the technical part of our designs. We don’t claim to be artists. We are professional designers. And we believe that this combination of Italian style and world-class technical expertise is our formula of success.


VSY 67m explorer project: exterior and interior design by Hot Lab

You have various designs inspired by contemporary or vintage automobiles, such as the Baglietto V-Line concepts. Would you be ready to go even further and embark on a crossover project launched by a premium car brand?

That would be lovely! As we work on our projects, the main inspiration comes from the automotive world, because it is at the forefront the in terms of research and design solutions. So, there is an idea to create something new. And we have already started something, but it is a little secret of mine at the moment.

Then, what's your favorite car?

Ferrari F40. It is a masterpiece of the 80s. 


Ferrari F40

By the way, your our 50-meter Ipanema echoes the Ferrari lines and its signature red hue. This year the boat made it to the final of WSA. What were the main challenges for you in this project?

Ipanema started four years ago as the project M50 for Mondomarine shipyard. Our client liked her early exterior design and didn’t request any major changes to it. However, he chose that particular red color. And the red is not so easy to apply to such a big yacht. As a result, the red and white colors of the hull and superstructure are intentionally kept apart. Perhaps, you cannot see it in the picture, but there is always a black line that separates the two colors. And in reality, it creates a very powerful effect. 


M/Y Ipanema

What launches of yours should we expect in the coming year?

The launch of the 30-meter project A100+, which was our first collaboration with Arcadia on the exterior and interior design, is due for May 2018. We’ll also have the 43-meter yacht for Yildiz, where we contributed to the interior design. However, of the seven boats under construction now, the most important one will be the 68-meter Day’s that will arrive between 2019 and 2020. 


M/Y Day's developed by Ice Yachts at AES Yacht facility in Turkey

Looking back, 2017 was a very important year for us. We developed four V-Line projects with Baglietto, ranging from 38 to 50 meters. We are also proud of our 67-meter explorer concept for VSY, as we consider this yard to be the best in Italy in terms of quality shipbuilding. We have also recently announced the 113-meter project Ganimede designed for Fincantieri. By the way, in December we are hosting in our hometown a private event called Hot Lab Rendez-Vous. On this occasion, we’ll update the market, but most importantly our clients, on what we have done and what we have in progress.

What, in your opinion, will be the trends in yachting design in 2018?

Yachting is a very traditional industry. New trends slowly make their way on the market. From what we can see in 2017, the client prefers to spend more time outdoors, but also to observe what is happening outside from the inside of the yacht. So, all that is related to panoramic glazing and glass sliding doors will surely prevail. The client also wants to have a closer relationship with the water. That’s why the beach club is no longer a single platform, but various platforms that may even be joined together. 


Hot Lab design for Fincantieri 113m concept Ganimede

And what about the digital in yachting? Do you embrace the trend?

Sure. Clients become more and more addicted to their mobile phones and, consequently, to touch-pad technology onboard. Now there is also a trend to bring IMAX private theaters onboard superyachts. So, we have projects that feature this technology as well. In fact, digital is a great help for designers, as it allows creating a virtual reality that can give the client a clear idea of the future exterior design. However, the main part of the design is in your brain. So, virtually any idea, from the profile of the yacht to the interior design inspiration, is first drawn in pencil.


Latest News

90m Oceanco Project Shark launched
The 90-meter Oceanco superyacht, referred to as Project Y717 has now been launched by the Dutch shipyard according to the company. Her exterior lines were penned by Luiz DeBasto whilst her interior was drawn by Italian design studio, Nuvolari Lenard.Key features include a helipad, two elevators - one for guests and one for its crew of 31, a diving center, hammam and sauna. Stretching across a beam of 14.2 meters, Project Shark, as it is named in Oceanco's press release will now embark on sea trials.Another big project at Oceanco is the 109-metre Project Y718 (Project Bravo), a Nuvolari Lenard design that is planned to be delivered this year.
120-metre concept Rorqual
Rorqual is a 120-metre superyacht concept from Paris-based studio MUB Design. Designed in animalistic shapes, it is a “symbiosis between gigantism and slender curves”. Interior is a quintessence of classic and contemporary style; materials include walnut, marble, copper and brass and felted furniture. Key features include several Jacuzzis, a spa, gym, and a dance floor with DJ podium overlooking the beach club. Rorqual also has the ability to host a range of toys and tenders on board, including jet skis, a submarine and plenty of inflatables. She accommodates up to 14 guests on board as well as a crew of 30. Power comes from four 4,830hp MTU engines, providing her with a top speed of 21 knots.
How to charter a yacht in the Balearic Islands
Long revered by locals, the Balearic Islands are now starting to develop as a mainstream yacht charter destination. Bespoke Yacht Charter looks at the best way to plan a charter across the Spanish islands and what to look out for whilst in the Balearics.Located east from mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands are accessible via flights to Palma de Mallorca Airport on Mallorca, Menorca Airport just southwest of Mahón on Menorca or Ibiza Airport on Ibiza. Due to the proximity of the Balearics to mainland Spain, many yacht charter guests also opt to begin their yacht charter in Barcelona, Valencia or Denia. The Balearic Islands themselves include Mallorca (Majorca), Menorca (Minorca), Cabrera, Ibiza, Formentera and S’Espalmador, with the three most popular islands being Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca. The high season stretches from May to September with July and August being the busiest moments thanks to average temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees.Spring is a lovely time to visit the Balearics when the fiestas are starting and the weather is warm. Autumn still hovers around 18 to 25 degrees Celsius and you’ll find off-peak seasons still have mild and pleasant weather, making the Balearics an appealing yacht charter destination in any season.Alexander Coles, Charter Broker, Bespoke Yacht CharterThe Balearic Islands have been ruled by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, and Spaniards, all of whom have left their mark with impressive architecture, diverse cuisine and lasting traditions contributing to the unhurried culture. There are bustling coastal resorts as well as sleepy bohemian villages; you can find pumping nightclubs as well as quiet tapas bars. The clear turquoise waters are ideal for trying out your charter yacht’s water toys – spend a morning paddle boarding, go diving, or snorkel at a treasure chest of beautiful beaches and coves.The diversity on offer is excellent for all yacht charter guests – whether you prefer to lounge onboard your private yacht during the day and party at night, go shopping, head inland for outdoor activities such as hiking or indulge in a yoga retreat or spa day ashore. Menorca, located northeast of Mallorca is a quieter alternative to Mallorca or Ibiza. It is a fantastic island to begin your Balearics yacht charter, after which you can visit Mallorca then Ibiza. Mahón, also known as Maó, is the capital of Menorca and a port town with a leisurely pace – the ideal yacht charter base. We recommend Café Mirador with a terrace overlooking Mahón Port to enjoy a pomada (local gin and lemonade) or platter of sobrasada sausage before embarking on your private yacht charter.First stop for many yacht charters is Palma de Mallorca, known as Palma. Palma de Mallorca is the island version of Barcelona with funky wine bars, stunning architecture and great shopping. It is the perfect jumping off point for any yacht charter to explore the rest of Mallorca. Other towns to visit include Port d’Andratx, Sóller, Alcúdia, Deià or Valldemossa.Mallorca has over 300 beaches with diverse surroundings such as pine groves, coastal rocks or dunes. Renting a yacht to explore Mallorca is an excellent option to find the best deserted coves and beaches away from the crowds.Known as the ‘White Isle’, Ibiza is famous for its hedonistic nightlife however it is a fantastic yacht charter destination for relaxation too. Away from the busier southeast coastline, you can find quieter sandy beaches and white washed villages with idyllic settings.The west coast of Ibiza is sheltered from the prevailing winds from the east and from San Antonio to Es Vedra you’ll have a hard time picking a beach or cove more perfect than the next. Enjoy a romantic meal ashore at Ses Roques restaurant admiring the beautiful view over Cala Conta, anchor in picturesque Cala Porroig with fisherman’s huts fringing the tranquil cove or spend a leisurely afternoon on land at El Chiringuito at Playa Es Cavallet, a chic beachside restaurant with an excellent wine list, mouth-watering cocktails and superb food.Ibiza’s sister island is just half an hour south by boat and the perks of having your own private yacht charter means you don’t have to abide by the ferry timetables back to Ibiza. With no airport servicing Formentera, there’s generally less crowds and the island exudes a chilled-out vibe with plenty of opportunities to relax on your luxury yacht charter and decompress from daily life once the day trippers leave Es Pujols and return to Ibiza.Known for its amazing azure waters, there’s no shortage of breath-taking beaches on Formentera including Playa Migjorn in the south and Cala Saona on the west coast of the island. Playa de Ses Illetes will make you think you’re in the Caribbean with fine white sand and transparent turquoise water. Popular with visiting charter yachts and A-listers it is a fantastic place to relax for a few hours, though best visited outside of peak summer when the crowds are busiest.Regardless of your itinerary when arriving to the Balearics, booking early is key in Spain as few yachts are in the region during peak months, leading to last minute requests, often finding no suitable yachts in the region.Sponsored by Bespoke Yacht CharterT. +44 20 7368 3328E. info@bespokeyachtcharter.com
New 70-metre trimaran superyacht concept
Wind Motion 70T is a 70-metre trimaran concept by French-based yacht designer Mathis Ruhl. New rigs, developed by a designers are capturing and transforming wind energy into an efficient propulsive force.Named the RTW ², Ruhl explains: “We previously developed the MRTW rig as a wind propulsor suited for larger vessels. With the RTW ² rig, we took the concept even further, breeding it with the articulated two elements thick wing concept. A larger wing mast section and foldable articulated thick sail reduces the compression load in the mast, and unties the two spars in a central pivot. The result is higher aerodynamic efficiency, a lighter structure, and lower required deck space.”
50-metre Project Ayla launched and named White
Dutch yard Heesen has announced that 49.8 metre superyacht previously known under codename Project Ayla is launched and christened White at its Oss shipyard on 8th of February. White was originally built on speculation, but has been bought one year into construction in October, 2017.White is from Heesen's 5000 Aluminium series class, with a gross tonnage below 500GT - the limit which is currently continuing to influence yacht design, comes with exterior styling from repetitive Heesen Yachts collaborator Frank Laupman and his Omega Architects studio, and the yard describes the look as “an emblem of sporty elegance”. The superyacht sundeck is measuring 70 square metres and has been fitted out with decorative fabrics from Hermes. The other highlights on the upper deck are the spa pool, surrounded by sunpads, and the full-service bar area. The fast and comfortable hull was created by the yard’s in-house naval architects.Interior design comes from Italian designer Cristiano Gatto, who worked in deep contact with the owners to customise the yacht : interior in glossy ebony and Canaletto walnut was inspired by the work of New Deco designer Jean-Michel Frank and has been extensively fitted tothe owner's tastes. Key pieces include an ebony, leather and stainless steel coffee table with a hidden ice bucket beneath, and custom-designed Loro Piana upholstery with bookcases built into the armrests. The accommodation up to 12 guests in 6 cabins, including a main deck owner’s cabin, full-beam VIP below decks, 2 double staterooms and 2 twin cabins, all with their own private en-suite bathrooms.Power comes from twin MTU 16V4000 engines, reaching top speed of 23 knots and 11 knots economic speed with range of 3,200 nautical miles.White's sea trials procedure will be held at the North Sea. Delivery is scheduled on April, 2018.Another superyacht project at the Dutch yard is the recently sold 60 metre Project Falcon.