Philippe Briand and the Style Behind the Picchiotti Range

By Ben Roberts

With an impressive portfolio of over 12,000 yacht designs under his arm, we spoke with Philippe Briand at the Picchiotti event in La Spezia, Italy, to find out more about his relationship with Perini Navi and the inspiration behind the Vitruvius line.

“I started with sailing, because this is my passion,"  begins Philippe. “I did a lot of racing and from that I started to design a lot of boats, racing boats and sailing yachts, and we got experience from this as racing requires a lot of research to improve the speed of such a sailing yacht so through this process during many years we learn a lot about the hydrodynamic. So when we started looking at motor yacht hulls, about six or seven years ago, I had a fresh approach and saw some kind of improvement.”

After becoming a globally known name in the world of sailing yacht design, Philippe Briand joined forces with Perini Navi in 2006 to create their first motor yacht – the 50m Vitruvius M/Y Exuma. This partnership brought together two of the giants in the sailing industry and promised a new wave of motor yacht.

“We came at the right time when we joined together to build Exuma,” adds Philippe. “Perini has a parallel experience, like us they were involved in building sailing yachts but they got the kind of experience where it was usable for building motor yachts as well. I think they had an approach where they got all of their experience in sailing yachts and it was directly applicable on motor yachts and it’s worked very well.”

But with such a distinctive design attached to the Vitruvius fleet – currently two strong with one stunning 73m project under construction in La Spezia – are Perini Navi and Philippe Briand trying to create the same notoriety they had in the sailing yacht world by challenging the status quo of how motor yachts are made?

“I’m not so sure, you’ll have to ask our competitors,” notes Philippe jovially. “We’ve always tried to do something new which is slightly more innovative, or much more innovative, I never like to repeat one of my designs. This is my challenge.”

“We applied what we learned with the hydrodynamic on the hull of motor yachts and with this we believed that the hull of motor yachts could be improved with better proportions … the first we’ve designed is the Vitruvius, built by Picchiotti … it was different from other motor yachts, the boat was lower, narrower and had less superstructure.”

The design of the 73m superyacht currently in construction at the Picchiotti yard holds Philippe’s signature exterior design with an interior layout concept by Remi Tessier, a tour de force of talent; however did working with Remi mean compromising on ambition?

“Because this boat is big there is a lot of interior action between all of the compartments of the design,” concludes Philippe. “Of course there is the hull and there is the design of the superstructure but this has to be done in consideration of the interior layout. Remi Tessier was in charge of the interior layout and the decoration and of course he asked for more light or larger windows and this impacted the exterior line of the boat.”

By Ben Roberts
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