Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta, Officina Italiana Design studio: Creativity That Writes Nautical History!
Officina Italiana Design first opened its doors in 1994. Co-founded by Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta, the studio has long links to the famous Riva yard, with which it has worked for over two decades.
Officina Italiana Design applies the same principles to a wide range of different contexts, including interior design, industrial design and custom projects. They are also the cornerstones of its collaboration with Sanlorenzo which commenced in 2014.
Exclusively for our magazine, Mr. Beretta and Mr. Micheli was kind enough to talk about their work.
N: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and helping us learn more about your work How long have you been involved in designing vessels?
M. M.: For more than 30 years so far! I began designing boats almost by chance. After attending an art-focused high school in Bergamo and then the Accademia di Brera in Milan, I entered a competition launched by Riva to find a new designer. I won the competition and in 1984 I start as assistant designer in the technical office at the Riva yard. I spent 10 years as part of the in-house design team at Riva, during which period I developed an in-depth knowledge of both the brand’s history and design. As a result, I worked alongside architect Giorgio Barilani and interior designer Mauro Pagani for many years. Carlo Riva’s son-in-law and the yard’s astute CEO Gino Gervasoni was also impressed by my ability to draw freehand. Then Sergio Beretta came up with the idea that it was time to open our own studio.
S. B.: We decided to set up a design company together. In 1994, Officina Italiana Design opened its doors with Mauro providing the creative input and I taking care of the managerial side of the business. The first studio was housed in a shed just in front of Mauro Micheli’s parents’ house in little town just inland from Lake Iseo. Mauro never stopped working for Riva. After Riva the opening of the studio Riva asked us immediately to collaborate with it on a consultancy contract basis. Yard and studio have been working together ever since. Today OID is based in a late-19th century palazzo on Via San Tomaso, a street redolent of art as it is also home to the Accademia Carrara (which reopened to the public recently after a five-year restoration) and the very active GAMEC, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, of which me and Mauro are both supporting members. The Officina Italiana Design team comprises 10 designers all and looks set to continue to grow.
So for over 20 years, Officina Italiana Design has been responsible for crafting the signature Riva design which is synonymous the world over with elegance, status and perfection.
N: What are your priorities when designing new models?
M. M.: Our priority is designing clean, spare lines, resulting in elegant, exclusive boats. A brilliant balance of elegance and innovation. Riva boats have always been the favourite of royalty, sporting heroes, business people and stars of stage and screen. They still retain their gloriously classical allure. What makes Riva so unique is the strong link between tradition-inspired design and a yard that uses unique skills, talents and experience handed down from one generation to the next, to build its lovely boats.
N:Is there any motive that guides you?
M. M.: Being a very curious person, I am interested in everything that is around me. I am fancy with art: Classical art as is the main source of guide and contemporary art as a way of pushing aesthetic boundaries. Art is ever-present in my life and influences everything I do. There are moments in which I have visions, flashes of what I am going to design next. What I try to find is the perfect balance of the project. Like in art. At the end a good design must be of high quality, timeless and easy to be sold.
Design in general is not a source of inspiration but maybe car design is an area yacht design looks to a lot. And I love being surrounded by nature, whether it is a lake or a sea. But at the end it is the instinct that drives ideas and the everyday training in your job. Ideas comes from who you are, from what you have learned day by day, years after years, working on projects and on a particular brand (knowing it deeply and trying to maintain alive all the traditions that are inside that brand). The job of a designer is also trying to translate into the project all the possibilities offered by technology and research.
N: Every new Riva is a fresh, thrilling chapter in a nautical story that enthrals millions of fans across the globe. What is your favorite project and why?
S. B.: Aquarama has been our biggest challenge. We had the task to reinterpret the lines of this successful boat after 40 years. She is the most famous boat in the world, I would say an iconic boat in the international boating industry, for her perfect balanced lines. Working again on that yacht it was very risky but the result is in front of us: Aquariva and Rivarama are the new boats that came from her iconical lines.
N: How you feel about creating boats that have gained iconic status in the international nautical world?
M. M.: Well, very proud of course. We can easily say that Officina Italiana Design has penned a slew of boats that have gone down in nautical history: the Aquariva Super (260 sold), the Rivarama Super (120 examples built thus far) and the Rivamare, which is the new Riva icon and style-setter in its own right. I am proud of nearly all our projects but in particularly of the tiniest: Rivamare, she has incredible balance in terms of lines and forms, she is a boat born from the instinct. The real challenge lies in creating contemporary craft in tune with the times we live in, but which are also always reflective of Riva tradition.
N: Riva 110′ Dolcevita is the newest project you’ve been working on for this Italian shipyard. What were your guidelines for designing this boat?
M. M.: We will see her very soon! 110’Dolcevita is a sort of gateway to big dimension, to the sector of superyacht Division. Infact she is the new fiberglass flagship. Although her sporty look with the intergrated Fly, it is a project that takes inspiration from the comfort and the allure of a big floating villa. With huge spaces, heights and lots of glass wall and integrated portholes for marvelous panoramas on the surrounding nature and lots of light inside. The interior is welcoming, elegant but always with an understatement luxury as in Riva tradition.
N: At boot Düsseldorf we saw exterior design of the Riva 90’. Could you tell us something more about this project?
S. B.: The Riva 90’ is a very sleek, slender boat despite being quite large volume-wise. Its lines are balanced, sporty and elegant, brilliantly epitomising the Riva DNA. We exploited the headroom in the interiors and used large windows to bring air and light into the big saloon and forward suite (likewise the four cabins on the lower deck which can be upped to five). Despite the large volumes, we used an aesthetic trick to keep the exterior forms of the boat fluid and sleek. The fly is very generous for a boat of these dimensions. Riva 90’ is a beautifully balanced boat.
N: At 2014 you started collaboration with a shipyard SanLorenzo. Could you tell us how it looks designing mega yachts for this yard?
S. B.: Yes, the collaboration with Sanlorenzo commenced in 2014 when the yard selected Officina Italiana Design to design six new models and now the contract has been successfully concluded. Officina Italiana Design was commissioned by Sanlorenzo to redesign its range of fibreglass planning yachts and this produced: the SL76 and SL86; from this collaboration sorted out also the exterior lines of the innovative SX88, the 52 Steel Seven Sins and the project of a 64-metre. We have developed a long list of design innovations, most of which focused on optimizing spaces and volumes. With Sanlorenzo we established a great collaboration and I think that Massimo Perotti, is a very good open minded businessman; it has been really a pleasure to work with him.
Izvor: Nautika magazin