With four decades of experience behind him, Spadolini has been first choice for high profile clients such as the King of Spain and Roberto Cavalli. However, a lesser known string to his bow is his refit work. “A successful refit requires understanding what the owner wants. But it also involves appreciation of what the original designer was trying to achieve,” Spadolini says, “More than a science, it’s an art that demands knowledge, experience and respect for the heritage of yacht design.”
Having established that refitting a yacht is not simply about stripping back and starting again, Spadolini clearly has his work cut out for him with four projects in the pipeline. The first will be Gigagi, a magnum 70 with lines penned by Pininfarina. Her young owners get a lot of use out of Gigagi as a day boat in the Cote d’Azur, and felt that she was due an overhaul.
The original hull and Arnon drives were saved, whilst the biggest renovation occurring on the inside. Spadolini explains: “The original layout had three smallish cabins and a décor that had not aged well, so I proposed a complete redesign of the interior. We enlarged the salon and moved the owner’s suite forward to provide space for a bigger bathroom.”
The next refit is a 20m Baglietto. A classic wooden boat which has been in the owning family for close to 30 years, Cujo is a family heirloom - something that Spadolini is taking into account during the reimagining process. “The original boat had no sunbeds, awnings and other features that are considered essential on a yacht today, so we had to make quite substantial modifications without losing her classic Baglietto charm,” says the designer. Cujo will be refitted with a carbon fibre swim platform, whilst retaining original fittings such as the aluminium detailing.
Next up is Lady Stella, a 20m sailing yacht that underwent mechanical and aesthetic refits in 2015/2016 before being sold. Her new owner was so pleased with the quality of her refit that he decided to make further enhancements. “One issue was that the owner’s cabin had quite a small bed up against the side of the hull, which was inconvenient for a couple,” says Spadolini, “Her young owners wanted something more modern and comfortable, so we moved the bulkheads around and introduced a full double bed that you could walk around.”
The final project on the horizon for Spadolini is A2, formerly called Madhuri. The 38m Eurocraft model poses a particular set of challenges to the firm - her owner is requesting significant changes to both the exterior and interior in the short space of six months. “His brief centred on light and space, but the original boat had no hull windows and was built on a very traditional layout,” explains Spadolini. The interior layout of A2 will be completely revised, with a big open-plan lounge being fitted and windows opened up.
The architecture and designs firm’s full calendar is indicative of their continued success, and the culmination of their 2019 projects will doubtlessly echo the clean, essential and timeless style that has earned Spadolini his success.