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Marc Newson's Speedboat 04.08.11

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Marc Newson's first stab at maritime design is a reinterpretation of the classic Italian Riva speedboat. The Australian designer's 10m-long Aquariva pays homage to the 60-year-old brand while adding a series of signature elements.

"The real challenge was to sensitively reinterpret the design DNA of the Riva craft," says Newson. "I am often faced with challenges like this – such as my work with Jaeger-LeCoultre on the Atmos clock and with Dom Pérignon. When you say Riva, people think of a mahogany silhouette, and you can even visualise the shape of the boat. It was really important for me not to disturb that."

Instead of the mahogany deck, Newson used a milk chocolate-coloured fibre-based laminate, and swapped the traditional stainless steel and brass for anodised aluminium. "What I find interesting is the ability to introduce materials and processes from one industry into another where they've never been used," he says. "I decided to go a bit against the grain, using materials uncommon to luxury boats, specifically ones that differ from the traditional shining chrome aesthetic."

At the helm is a charcoal grey-tinted wraparound windscreen made from a single sheet of glass. Part of the cushioned area at the rear rises and folds out to form a dining table, and a fridge and a sink are concealed in cabinets at each side of the boat. When the sun is too strong, a hidden door in the instrument panel reveals a small room filled with spongy cushions, spacious enough for two.

Perhaps the most daring of Newson's reinterpretations is his take on the transom (the flat section at the back of the boat, sitting above the water line), which he has recessed, sculpting the edges to create a more space-age look. "I associate the boat with the south of France, the jet-set glamour of the 1960s – the era of Brigitte Bardot, Roger Vadim and the Aga Khan."

Aquariva comes in white, orange, yellow or turquoise as a limited edition of 22, sold through Gagosian Gallery.



Marc Newson



Marisa Mazria Katz

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The real challenge was to sensitively reinterpret the design DNA of the Riva craft

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