With summer now a distant memory in comparison to the pace of the industry, we look back at our experiences aboard the Italian masterpiece, and speak to PH Design Founder Peter Hawrylewicz and Partner Ken Lieber about the breaking the mould on their first yacht project.
How were you first introduced to the yacht?
Peter: “It was an evening at dinner with our client Bill Duker, we weren’t expected to be asked but he surprised us and popped the question! “Would you be interested in doing the boat?” and we almost fell over in our chairs and said yes, of course we would.
Ken: “We’ve been doing residential projects for him for about 20 years, but the boat was a totally different thing.
Peter: “We would completely understand if he went with somebody else who was familiar with boat interiors but he chose us.”
How did you approach the project at the very start?
Ken: “You agree first and you figure it out later […] Bill took us to the Bucket in St. Barths and he took us to Sardinia, and he took us on every sailing boat that we could possibly go on, just to see what people were doing. We immersed ourselves into that.”
Peter: “We wanted to see what people were doing, and it was very instructive because it was easy to identify what we didn’t like and we thought if this was our first boat, let’s try to bring something fresh to the game and that’s what we tried to do. I hope we did that.”
What was the vision?
Ken: “[Bill Duker] wanted it open. He wanted to show off the art collection, he wanted you to see it from all angles with an open loft-like feel, and because of the size of the boat and the very broad beam, you can achieve that.
Peter: “Also, we wanted a simple palette and a few materials repeated throughout; as another way to make the space feel simpler and bigger. That’s why we used American Ash, for a driftwood kind-of feel. We wanted modern but not stark.”
Was this created as a space for art, or as art itself?
Peter: “We hope it comes across as both. Every detail from door handles to joinery and titanium, we looked at as a piece of art or sculpture. Each piece of hardware on the alligator trunks was hand-drawn (the dining area of Sybaris houses 12 very large alligator travelling trunks suspended off the floor with cast titanium straps) and then 3D modelled in plastic. Even down to the last screw we looked at the details, and we hope the boat expresses itself as a piece of art.”
Are you aiming to design on the water again?
Peter: “Of course, we would love to do that. We have an apartment in Rome, projects in Miami and New York and we’re only small. There are only 5 of us but we produce a lot of work for how small we are.”
Challenged with respecting the traditional and elegant craftsmanship so well associated with the Perini Navi brand, yet striving to create a contemporary platform for incredible works of art, the design brief behind Sybaris is reflected in the vessel’s attention to detail and results in a truly outstanding finish.