WHY: a step forward is about to be taken (Part 1)


10/2009 –

When the thought gets outside the state of cultural, industrial or artisitc knowledge, a step forward is taken which may lead the human being to an upper state of his evolution. People able of such abstraction, such extraction, are usually, sooner or later, classified in the cathegory of “genius”.

The WHY project (Wally Hermes Yacht) presents some characterisitcs that let us think that a step is about to be taken forward. This project may be considered as extravagant, extreme, spectacular, etc. it is the meeting of two worlds: the “Home” and the “Boat”. Of course, when big names of the luxury world meet each other, such as the Wally shipyard (lead by Luca Bassani Antivari) and Hermès (with Pierre-Alexis Dumas as Artisitc Director and Gabriele Pezzini as design Director), one don’t speak about “Home” and “Boat” but “luxurious house” and “mega-yacht”. The result is amazing, consistent with those two names’ reputation and the visionary people who personify their value. A step forward is about to be taken.

Extracts of a conversation between Luca Bassani Antivari, Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Gabriele Pezzini about the WHY project

Do you remember the first time you set foot on a boat ?
Luca Bassani Antivari It was in Portofino. My parents loved the sea. What I remember is a large boat, Miranda, which won all the races! I was six and there were big waves. I was spellbound! My father retired when he was sixty and he and my mother boarded their sailing yacht to tour the world, a tour that ended up lasting twenty years. It was a yacht that I had designed free hand. My first boat …

Pierre-Alexis Dumas I was two years old and just starting to walk. We were in Greece, on the Island of Spetses. It was a fisherman’s boat in the Aegean.

Gabriele Pezzini A sailing boat, while on holiday in the Mediterranean. I was a student, invited by a friend who loved sailing. It was fantastic, complete with a storm. We weren’t the least bit afraid! I even thought it was funny.

How did the first meeting between Hermès and Wally come about ?
P.-A.D. I knew that Luca Bassani wanted to do something with Hermès. I like Wally boats a lot. Their design is efficient, the hulls are sharp, the colours are those of the sea. And that idea of extending the deck inside … We met in Paris. At that time, Luca was thinking about an accessorised interior project for one of his boats. My intuition was to get on board. In autumn 2007, I went down to Monaco with a sailing friend who knows all the tricks in the book. I saw Luca again and he pulled out his 100-metre supertanker project with a tennis court and palm trees. I was impressed by the sheer audacity of the project, but I wasn’t too interested in all the speed power.

L.B.A. Yes, my initial idea was a Wally decorated by Hermès. I’ve been a loyal client for a long time now. What I’ve always liked about Hermès, aside from its intrinsic quality, is its audacity and radicalism; its desire to go beyond trends and not follow them, to make no compromises and to maintain the authenticity of the brand. Wally has the exact same values. “Hermès-on-Land”, “Wally-on-Sea”.

Over the course of your discussions coasting against the current, how did you come up with the idea of a triangular hull ?
P.-A.D. Everything happens in cycles. We don’t move forward because we get bored of a shape or a colour, but rather because our values evolve with time. My inspiration is still the Greek caïque, roomy, generous and slow. This eulogy to slowness is demonstrated in such a magnificent way. A pared-down craft with nothing superfluous about it. We needed a stable hull in order to hold the sea comfortably. The idea of a triangular hull, which doesn’t exist in the world of leisure boating, came from the utilitarian merchant marine.

L.B.A. Yes, he’s right, it took me a few months to let go of my idea, my taste for speed! In summer 2008, I came across a picture of a supertanker while reading a professional magazine. A cable-handling vessel, used in the geo-mining and seismological industry in the North Sea, invented by a Norwegian naval engineer, Roar Ramde, and fully patented. There was nothing new about this ship. It had been in use for twenty-five years. As soon as I saw it, I picked up the phone and called my consultant naval architect, Mauro Sculli. He looked in the Rina, the Italian naval classification registry: never seen or heard of before in the world of yachting! It was perfect. We had our hull.

G.P. Instead of choosing a structure that conveys and calls for speed, we opted for a dynamic that involves slowness via stability. When you look at this cable-handling vessel in its rigging, it’s ugly, stark, powerful, unbelievably stable; its proportions are astronomical. And then, you see that it’s like an adjustable spanner. All its potential is concentrated in a single function.

P.-A.D. And its maximum speed was 14 knots. The entire project took off from there.

What kind of maritime vision did it inspire ?
L.B.A. An amphitheatre on the sea. Like Portofino.

P.-A.D. A piece of land that had broken off, but wasn’t adrift. Living the legend of the mythical wave. Or that of the whale. Surfing and Moby Dick: the image of the “tube” and the white whale. A new territory.

To be continued…

See the Photo Gallery of WHY

– AlP –

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