Team for Design Enrico Gobbi, the Venice-based studio of yacht design and architecture is a crucible of ideas and projects. Passion and talent are the ingredients of its success
by Francesca Ciancio – photo by Andrea Muscatello
MESTRE IS PART DRY LAND, PART WATER. You may not be able to see the sea, but you can smell it in the air, that maritime hint that leads the way to the lagoon. That is also why a true Venetian like Enrico Gobbi decided to set up his design studio here, a few steps from a canal that announces the arrival of a more open horizon. But his work takes him to the water with his creations, which are large-scale boats that sail the open seas.
Team for Design is his yacht and architectural studio and was founded in 2005. His relationship with the water, however, comes from a long back, from his native city, Venice, and from the love of boats that comes from his father. Then there is a passion for design, for the use of a pencil and the architecture, and so he signed up to study the subject in the lagoon city. Boating is the focus of his interests, but at that time the university didn’t have anything that meant he could specialise in it. And in fact, it was Enrico’s thesis, with a design for a luxury ship for as many as a hundred people, that has helped to drive interest in the sector. «It was there that I decided», the designer explained to us, «that I wanted to handle both exteriors and interiors. My thesis immediately brought me into contact with the world of boatyards, first at Fincantieri and then in Bremen, in Germany. The last step, before coming back home, was in California, which was already far advanced in the field of yacht design».
«Italian style is always highly sought after, and if foreigners come to us, it is because they know we hold the keys to beauty».
He started his career at Nuvolari&Lenard, but Gobbi aspired to become fully independent and at the end of the day not long passed between finishing his degree and going freelance. That choice didn’t mean he was immediately out on his own, which also explains the name of the company, Team for Design, to underline the importance of working as a group: «The ideal team», Enrico told us, «is made up of just a few, close-knit people, maximum ten, all of them focused on tailor-made work that starts from a blank sheet and ends up with choosing the dinner plates. The approach is that of a studio, or what you could call a Renaissance atelier. I have always had my right-hand man, Carlo Lionetti, who is also an architect, with me. Then we have people you can count on, which doesn’t just mean that they are good from a technical point of view, but that they also have a wider and further-reaching viewpoint on individual projects, and that they experience individual creations as a step in a more far-sighted journey. To have a vision like that, you have to be able to agree on just about everything».
It is an idea of beauty that coincides with the right proportions, in line with the most traditional Italian architectural doctrine. Other sources of inspiration for the Venetian designer come from the work of Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe.
«The ideal team is small and close-knit, with a maximum of ten people, all of them focused on tailor-made workthat starts from a blank sheet of paper and ends up with choosing the dinner plates».
What emerges from the two-storey Team for Design studio are projects for super and megayachts, which are floating luxury homes that lack for absolutely nothing: «But the functionality of something that moves across the water should never be reduced to a secondary issue», the Venetian architect stressed. «The important measurements must nevertheless allow more freedom for aesthetic display. You have to consider smaller boats, where it becomes complicated including right angles, which could prove dangerous». And indeed, when you see the interiors created by the “Team for Design”, what comes to mind are beautiful villas, with wide-open spaces and a lot of light. «We have our own, very recognisable, style», continued Gobbi. «Our clients are people who like light colours, shade upon shade, clean lines and not too many frills. From my point of view, colour comes from the outside. These boats get to places that feel like paradise, with lively and bright landscapes. So, what point would there be colouring the interiors, when outside there are the marvels of nature?».
«The functionality of something that moves across the water should never be a secondary issue. Larger measurements should nevertheless allow more freedom for aesthetic display».
«The effect of the pandemic comes out in the desire to live a full boat experience, no longer opting to spend part of your holidays in hotels or restaurants».
It is a style that is made up of just a few colours, with nuances from white to beige, which is appreciated by boat buyers to such an extent that some of them have even entrusted the design of their houses to the team.
It is a style that has been so appreciated that some clients have entrusted their team with designing their homes: «But I don’t like talking about boats that look like houses», the designer explains. «It is more houses that look like our yachts: they are dynamic, full of light, with clean lines». Faced by such grandeur, it is instinctive to ask Gobbi as to his concept of luxury, and he was quick to reply: «Italy – that’s the first word that comes to mind. Italian style is always highly sought after, and if foreigners come to us, that is because they know we hold the keys to what is beautiful. Then as an architect, the concept of beauty corresponds to the correct proportions. It is not by chance that the shapes created by Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe are still sources of inspiration for me. And concerning art, I would like to tell you about my latest project: a company that has me and a friend involved in creating marble sculptures. I wanted to create unique pieces, by involving Venetian craftsmen. The goal is not a commercial one, but I have to say that the idea came in part from owners who always ask for more design pieces to decorate their boats».
«We have our own, very recognisable, style: people who employ us love light colours, shade upon shade, clean lines and not too many frills. For me, the colour is provided by the exterior».
It is a market, the one for large yachts, that hasn’t suffered a significant slump from the health emergency. Even though the demand to increase the liveability of areas on the boats has changed: «The effect of the pandemic has shown itself in the desire to fully experience a boat, and no longer opting to spend most of one’s free time in restaurants or hotels, but rather having an even more intense relationship with the sea, thanks to areas that are more intimate and personalised».
(Team for Design Enrico Gobbi, love for boats – Barchemagazine.com – July 2021)