20 April 2023
It has felt like the yacht sector has been skyrocketing in the past two years since pandemic restrictions started to ease, and the demand for yachts of all sizes is clearly reflected in the design sector. Take Milan-based studio Hot Lab, part of the Viken Group, for example. The studio says it is busier than ever with 16 yacht projects in build at Mediterranean shipyards.
Of those, six that are due to be delivered in 2023 land squarely in the big boat category with designs ranging from 24 metres to 50 metres LOA. Founded in 2004, Hot Lab’s client list includes plenty of prestigious names and its interior and exterior design work has graced a number of yachts up to 70 metres in length. Recent changes to the studio’s ownership have only catalysed growth further.
“The last four years were very profitable for us and the studio increased in terms of style, the quality of its works and the self-confidence of the team,” says Co-founder and Business Director Antonio Romano.
“This is due to the hard work done day by day (and sometimes by night!), and thanks to our customers that believed in our firm. More recently we moved Hot Lab under the umbrella of the Viken Group. It has been a major change of gear and already in 2023 we have signed four new contracts. We are exceedingly pleased.”
The structural changes have been mirrored by a change in the design process, overseen by Design Manager Enrico Lumini. “That’s when we crystallised our motto of ‘architecture for voyagers’,” he explains.
“The idea was to simplify exterior design to become more essential, pure, clean. We wanted to give more importance to the volumetric, architectural aspects of design.
“It has struck an immediate chord with our clients.”
The Hot Lab portfolio ranges from day cruisers to superyachts. But despite the breadth of the fleet, there is a recognisable Hot Lab style, according to Lumini. “We definitely have a house style,” he asserts.
“Extremely clean lines and seamless surfaces are our traits outside. And for interiors, we prefer natural materials whose qualities you can clearly perceive and touch.
“If we use stone, we’d rather have it natural rather than glossy. We like open-grained wood and cotton or raffia. That said, we are designers, and that means doing our all to represent the client’s wishes.”
Among the deliveries for 2023 are the 50-metre Bilgin yacht Eternal Spark, for which Hot Lab designed the interiors.
Marking the start of a new relationship with the Turkish yacht builder, this 50-metre project, with the exterior design of Unique Yacht Design, makes incredible use of natural light.
Hot Lab designed a broad staircase that carried light from the sundeck down to the lower deck, amplifying it through the use of mirrored strips. A skylight design also brings light down through glass floor panels to the main saloon.
A huge palette of more than 60 natural finishes makes this a complex project, including some 14 different marbles alone.
The studio also created the design for the Atlantique 43-metre model for Columbus Yachts, which has already proven popular.
A perfect example of Hot Lab styling, the first hull of this yacht was bought by a keen owner who simply loved the interior and exterior design.
The boat’s lines are smoothly curved, with a dramatically cut-away aft deck and drop-down bulwarks.
The pool forms the centrepiece on deck, while inside, the main saloon features full-height glazing and a naturally calming woody finish. This yacht is designed to be a luxurious cocoon.
MY Kasif is another yacht scheduled for 2023 delivery, coming in at 42 metres and built in Antalya, Turkey.
Hot Lab created the interior – one of the owners, says the team, is an architect, and wanted this explorer to have a very fluid, organic interior.
Light wooden panelled walls contrast with darker wood floors and grey carpets, and there are curves everywhere.
Featuring exterior and interior design by the studio, the AES 35-metre features an extremely masculine explorer exterior coupled with a clean, slightly reflective interior in a dark palette.
Surfaces are typically three-dimensional, with vertical wood showing some relief, and glass given a slightly distorted finish.
This year will also see the launch of an Arcadia Sherpa 80, for which Hot Lab was called in to tweak the styling of the fifth and sixth hulls having designed in the interior for the original Sherpa 80.
Lumini terms this “incremental design”, referring to a process of making very small improvements.
In particular, the galley is getting slightly more space and the saloon layout is improved, while storage is optimised throughout the boat, making use of every cubic millimetre.