Hot Lab – Under The Spotlight

Yachting is a business like no other. The glamour, the glitz and the jet-set lifestyle that goes with it is what makes it so tantalisingly appealing.

To many, they are a distant
dream. Whilst to others just another of their many homes, to relax, entertain and have fun in. And, as with any home-proud owner, their yachts need to be designed and fitted with the same care and attention to detail as their residences. In this, our first ‘soft’ feature on yachting; we are talking to Hot Lab, an award-winning boutique design agency, about their experiences in designing yachts. This Q&A will shed some light into what’s involved in the whole process, from concept to the finished product and delivery.

Further down the line we will be focussing on more extensive coverage of this fascinating business, with guest writers and more profiles of companies involved in all aspects of the yachting industry. Hot Lab Studio was formed in Milan back in 2004, when three designers; Michele Dragoni, Antonio Romano and Enrico Lumini decided to join forces and form a partnership. Armed with a working
knowledge of the luxury automotive and interior design sectors, they decided to take their expertise and move into yachting, and haven’t looked back since. Working closely with private clients and shipyards, they have produced some exceptional designs and won numerous awards for the projects they have worked on over the years. We recently caught up with Antonio Romano, one of the partners and spokesperson of the company, and posed some questions to him…

Urban Life: what made you decide to make the transition from automotive to yacht design?

Antonio Romano: The idea from the beginning was to have our own studio, since in automotive design you mostly work in-house for big car brands. The work involved in yacht design is also much more complete. You play with exterior shapes, interior design, fittings
and decorations and so on. We’re talking about architecture that moves, or floats.

UL: How do you approach each project and what steps are involved once you’ve taken on a brief?
AR: First of all we have a meeting to talk about the brief. The best of our clients are private yacht owners, so they usually give us an idea of style, dimension and budget. The first step is to then determine the competitors in that range after which we design the GA (general arrangements), which are then constantly updated. At the same time we start on the first exterior
sketches, side views and perspective and we plan several internal meetings amongst our team. And when we arrive at an interesting solution we plan a second meeting with the client to receive their first impressions and feedbacks. If we’re in line with the client’s idea, we then start to do the first 3D models and after that several realistic renders. If we’re also involved in the interior design, we show some materials, colors and style suggestions, after that we get on with our interior design proposal.

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