|Cantieri di Pisa’s Element — By Diane M. Byrne
— February 2003
|Part 2: Another welcome feature: the size of Element's engine room.|
The choice of wood is also quite different: limed teak. It's at once an understated yet sophisticated look--understated because the wood is not covered in coat after coat of glossy lacquer, and sophisticated because the block pattern and the prominent grains combine for an artistic effect.
Since this same look flows throughout Element, it was important to ensure that the furnishings and accessories didn't detract from it. Whether you look around the combination saloon-dining area, walk forward into the master suite, go down the stairs to the five guest staterooms, or walk up to the panoramic sky lounge, you'll notice that settees and chairs are covered in unembellished white fabric and that desks and end tables are architecturally simple pieces as well, stained black. Blinds in the saloon and sky lounge are thin and bamboo-like, not the customary wood slats or shades. In addition, you won't find traditional knobs and related hardware for doors and closets; instead, they're replaced by old-fashioned keys, which remain in place.
Even with all of this emphasis on simplicity, the design and construction teams did grace Element with a few imaginative touches. In the full-beam VIP stateroom below decks, for example, what appears to be just a solid bulkhead to starboard actually conceals an entertainment center. By pressing a portion of the limed teak at eye-level, the guest can unveil a flat-screen TV, which pivots out for optimal viewing from either the king-size bed in front of it or the seating area on the other side of the room. Because this room is so well-arranged, it feels as if it's larger than the main-deck master--although the master certainly doesn't feel cramped, particularly because it has an amazing ten feet of headroom (headroom is about seven feet everywhere else).
Another clever touch lies outside the sky lounge--or, to be more accurate, between the sky lounge and the sundeck. It's essentially a half-deck level, outfitted with a small seating area. The location makes it an ideal spot for enjoying breakfast or just private time. Element's transom is fitted with a large door for the tender garage; once opened, the door becomes a large bathing platform and is reachable from the main deck by either internal or external teak stairs. And despite what is traditionally found on many European-built and European-owned yachts, the crew's quarters--four cabins, a large dinette furnished with cooking appliances, and a separate laundry--are on par with what an American yard and American owner would want.
Another welcome feature: the size of Element's engine room. It's generous, particularly given the size of those on some Italian-built yachts. While there isn't walk-around access to the twin 3,700-hp MTUs, there is a separate, full-beam workroom just aft, something that's becoming more common on yachts in this size range. According to Cantieri di Pisa's sea trials last summer, Element achieves a maximum speed of 28 knots and a cruising range of about 2,000 miles on about 9,000 gallons of fuel.
While Jean-Michel Frank probably never imagined his style would be so admired decades after his passing, he probably also never imagined it would gain admiration beyond his country's borders. Similarly, the founding fathers of Cantieri di Pisa could never have imagined their small wooden boatbuilding operation would one day become an international player in the custom-yacht arena. Element shows how the unexpected can sometimes result in something everyone can appreciate: simple pleasures.
Cantieri di Pisa Phone: (39) 050 220551. www.cantieridipisa.it.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.