Zuccon International Project, designing space

This is the concept that underpins Martina and Bernardo Zuccon’s work. In a short interview they describe their enormous passion for their work and the joy it gives them, inherited from their parents Gianni and Paola

by Carla Pagani – photo by Andrea Muscatello

MARTINA AND BERNARDO ZUCCON ARE FULL OF LIFE, BUSINESS SENSE AND ENTHUSIASM, with a bond that is stronger than a powerful anchor and smiles that offer a way into their ideas, which they forge and develop at a surprisingly rapid pace. Two creative minds, different and complementary, that march in unison like the hulls of a giant catamaran ready to take to the sea no matter how ferocious the storm. Strengths like an ability to listen to others and the boundless curiosity they express in their work enable the heirs of the studio founded by Giovanni Zuccon and his wife Paola Galeazzi to develop large-scale projects with determination, longsightedness and creativity.

Sanlorenzo SL96 Asymmetric.
Sanlorenzo SL96 Asymmetric

There’s no hiding their DNA – Martina and Bernardo inherited an extraordinary story of success and innovation. But since taking the reins of the design studio, founded in 1972, they have given it their own stamp. «We want to build on what we inherited, but without standing still», Bernardo says. The asymmetric design of the Sanlorenzo 102 was undoubtedly an important turning point. «That was the start of our fruitful partnership with Sanlorenzo. We considered various aspects: expanding and changing the on-board experience, the way the boat is used and people’s enjoyment of the sea», Martina notes.

Sanlorenzo SL102
Sanlorenzo SL102
Sanlorenzo SL102 Zuccon International Project
Sanlorenzo SL102, photo by Fernando Lombardi

«The asymmetrical design of the Sanlorenzo 102 was an important milestone for us. It was the start of a new form of experimentation that changed our way of working». Martina Zuccon

«Asymmetry was like opening Pandora’s box», Bernardo adds. «As soon as you realise that you can change the balance of certain things, a world of infinite possibilities opens up in front of you. Every boat we produce now poses new questions». Bernardo and Martina are both architects, and as a result they come with a lot of architectural ideas. It is no coincidence that one of the Zuccon siblings’ heroes is Adolf Loos, considered a pioneer of modern architecture and the founder of European rationalism. «It was his concept of raumplan that gave rise to the idea that a conventional container could hold within it a constantly shifting structure, while giving the illusion that nothing is happening», Bernardo explains. In the same way, the Zuccon studio develops extraordinarily innovative solutions inside defined types of boat.

Sanlorenzo 44Alloy Zuccon International Project
Sanlorenzo 44Alloy
Zuccon International Project
The new Sanlorenzo 44Alloy is a highly innovative boat, particularly in the way the internal volumes have been developed. The owner’s cabin on three levels is inspired by New York open-plan living.

It’s what Bernardo calls ‘typological research’. «Take lobster boats, for example. They were designed for fishing. But when they started to be used for pleasure boating, they came to epitomise elegance. I believe you can achieve this transformation with almost any type of boat», Bernardo says. «That’s why being able to work with a single brand is a fantastic opportunity for us», Martina adds. They conduct research into living, something almost unheard of in the nautical world, and absolutely nothing to do with thinking that a boat has to look like a house. Indeed, nothing could be further from the Zuccon philosophy. Listening to the shipyard is crucial.

BGX70
BGX70
BGX70
The Bluegame BGX70, like the new BGX60, which was unveiled at the Genoa Boat Show, is a revolutionary yacht with an open stern and a deep connection between the interior and exterior.

«We need to outlaw the phrase this boat is designed like a house. A house is a house and a boat is a boat. A house stands still, a boat moves». Bernardo Zuccon

«It is important to bear in mind the history of the brand and what has been done before us», Martina explains. «Some designers chase the owner and try to convince them to build the perfect boat as a one-off, and then, like tailors, stitch it together», Bernardo explains. «We, meanwhile, have chosen to work with mass-produced or semi-mass-produced products: we design something for the market so that as many people as possible can enjoy our creation. And if lots of people choose our design, it means we’ve made a significant contribution to keeping our clients happy».

The fulcrum of the innovation of Sanlorenzo SD118 is the upper deck, which thanks to the intuition of Bernardo Zuccon has an asymmetrical configuration.

What, indeed, is architecture, if not a way to make people live better and be happy? It brings to mind the great Frank Lloyd Wright, the supreme creator of buildings with a genius loci that perfectly combines man and nature.

Zuccon International Project
Zuccon International Project
Sanlorenzo SD96, photo by Thomas Pagani

«Our parents passed on a great passion for work to us. I don’t remember a day that they weren’t immersed in their designs, and they always involved us in them». Martina Zuccon

Zuccon International Project
Sanlorenzo SX112, photo by Thomas Pagani

«A boat is a complex and flexible living container, where the spaces can be taken apart to create different scenarios, adapting to the owner’s needs each time». Bernardo Zuccon

And Wright is one of the main luminaries that inspire Bernardo and Martina, alongside Michelangelo, with his absolute perfection, and their ultimate role models: Giovanni Zuccon and Paola Galeazzi, revolutionary innovators with brilliant, razor-sharp minds. «They certainly passed the joy of work on to us», Martina says. «We inherited determination and the idea of never being satisfied, always keeping everything open for discussion, from our father». A trait one might call the art of doubt. «Our mother, meanwhile, gave us the skill of keeping everything together, of always ensuring that ideas and dreams are feasible and practical at all levels, both professionally and in one’s personal life». Paola Galeazzi remains a blueprint for the Zuccon siblings, even though she is sadly no longer with us.

Her notes can still be seen on the desk of the historic studio on Via Poma, still relevant, a reference for both current and future projects.

Martina e Bernardo

Meanwhile, the Zuccon siblings are working on a new headquarters. «A large new studio with open-air spaces, a swimming pool and communal areas; a genuine ecosystem that follows the principle of mens sana in corpore sano», Bernardo explains. «A place that reveals – and disseminates – the deep ethical grounding our parents passed on to us and that underpins our relationships with clients and colleagues». A space, in other words, for work and sharing ideas, which, after all, are both essential in any true understanding of ethics.

(Zuccon International Project, designing space – Barchemagazine.com – January 2021)