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Making waves: the ultimate floating home

Designing the ultimate floating home was a great opportunity to be creative, writes Joanne Lam

 

SPEC CHECK
Superyacht: The €80 million (HK$839 million) Chopi Chopi, by CRN shipyards
Interior designer: Laura Sessa
Exterior designer: Studio Zuccon International Project
Interior size: 1,000 square metres, spanning five decks suitable for living and one subdeck used as a technical area
Exterior size: 800 square metres
Special feature: An owner's deck, a 190-square-metre floor reserved for the owner and his family

 

To create a superyacht is an enjoyable challenge. What if you wanted more, though? Maybe a week on the coast of Bali followed by a short stay on Christmas Island, or perhaps a quick dip at one of the many beautiful Mediterranean islands - all the while enjoying the comforts of your own bed and being catered to by your own staff?

It sounds almost impossible, but one man has found an easy solution: a holiday home that moves with you.

Turning a megayacht, the 80-metre Chopi Chopi, into a portable vacation home was an €80 million (HK$839 million) task, but the Middle East-based owner can now cruise around in his cabin to his heart's desire.

Perhaps calling it a cabin is an understatement, as the Chopi Chopi is more of a mansion on the sea. With living areas spanning five decks, a meeting patio and a subdeck for crew and technical works, the vessel is a rare gem in the yacht world.

In fact, it is one of the biggest ships ever built in Italy and the largest vessel built by CRN, an Italian shipyard owned by the Chinese Ferretti Group. But instead of using the yacht for commercial purposes, the owner decided to save it for his personal enjoyment and make a home fit for family and friends to lounge in and soak up the sun the world over.

Decorating a vessel of such calibre requires a special touch. The owner entrusted this task to Laura Sessa, an experienced yacht interior designer who helped transform the aluminium- and steel-based engineering beast into a cosy and comfortable refuge.

For Sessa, the sheer size of the yacht was a delight, as she saw it as a "great opportunity for [her team] to be creative".

The designer, who has previously worked with the owner, was given an all-access pass to let her vision take control of the vessel.

The owner only had two simple requests, she says - "to create a space that can be enjoyed by the whole family and … that colour be injected through their extensive and impressive art collection". With this in mind, Sessa set out to work on one of her biggest projects yet.

One of her major challenges was maintaining a sense of warmth and unity within the wide, empty spaces. Taking a cue from the owner, she infuses life and soul into the rooms with statement art pieces, with Andy Warhol's neo-pop art pieces and Fernando Botero's surrealist sculptures providing a lighthearted touch that contrasts classic impressionist paintings by Renoir.

Aiding the decorative endeavour, of course, are the natural light and panoramic views of the sea. The designer takes full advantage of these features, opting for large windows that let the light stream in and sliding doors which disappear into walls to combine rooms and create airy and spacious living areas.

Desks, armchairs and sofas are positioned so that the owner and his guests can enjoy the utmost amount of sunshine as much as possible. The megayacht also boasts a lot of open-air space, as Sessa strived to provide as many ways as possible for the owner to enjoy the sea: on balconies, open terraces and a special "beach club" - a stern hatch which can be transformed into a large platform by the water.

The sun deck and patio are an "oasis" designed for relaxation in the open air. This 90-square-metre space can only be reached via a lift and boasts a dining area for 12, a barbeque, bar, jacuzzi and designated sunbathing area with large sun pads to lounge on.

Sessa used a light white-and-beige colour scheme to create a relaxing and peaceful area for the owner and his guests to enjoy some downtime under the sun.

When it comes to creating a home-like environment, Chopi Chopi stands out with its private owner's deck. And the owner certainly spared no expense on his private abode.

"Designing the owner's deck was a pleasure," Sessa says, citing it as one of her favourite spaces on the yacht.

The 190-square-metre private deck is almost a vessel within a vessel - it has a VIP master bedroom, a smaller en-suite guest room, a TV room, a beauty salon and a convertible helipad, for easy - and definitely private - access and departure.

The beauty salon - a special request from the owner - is filled with a huge array of hairstyling products and equipment, including a professional shampoo basin.

A special his-and-hers walk-in wardrobe was built in the master bedroom so that a wide arrange of clothes and accessories can be kept on the Chopi Chopi, making it feel even more like a floating home away from home.

For Sessa, the results are something to be proud of. Much of the furniture on board is customised and designed by her, with the remainder being limited-edition pieces sourced from boutique galleries in France.

In the end, she completed what she set out to achieve - "a relaxing atmosphere to complement the panoramic views of the sea" - and she believes that it is a space which the owner will truly enjoy while he sails around the world.

 

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