Heesen YachtTalk Specials, Season 4, Episode 3

In episode three of YachtTalk Season 4, Heesen continues its discussion with renowned Italian superyacht designer, Cristiano Gatto, who is currently working on several projects for the Dutch shipyard, including Project Orion. Like her pioneering sistership Home, Orion will feature Heesen’s innovative hybrid propulsion system offering silent cruising, flexible power management and maximum energy efficiency. The yacht also features a lavish interior, and Heesen sat down with Gatto to learn more.

Lessons in layout

Project Orion is the fifth hull in Heesen’s advanced and ultra-efficient 50-metre FDHF aluminium series. This prior experience is a huge advantage, says Gatto, who has penned the interiors for all the yachts in the series to date.

“We are able to learn from the sisterships that have been built, delivered and experienced by their owners, and adjust the interiors accordingly,” he says. “It allows us to understand which areas work well as planned, and how owners like to use the available spaces on board.”
One important change to Orion’s layout, which Gatto believes makes the biggest difference, sees the lower deck gym moved further aft, putting it in direct connection with the beach club.

“It’s now a multifunctional space that can be used as a gym and for exercise sessions or serves as an extension to the beach club with access to the sauna, steam room and, of course, the ocean,” he says.

Efficient propulsion

Project Orion’s super-efficient propulsion also comes as a direct consequence of all the in-house research that Heesen carries out, says Gatto. Home was the first Heesen yacht fitted with hybrid propulsion, and the expectations for Project Orion’s propulsion package is for even bigger improvements.

“I remember when we delivered Home, we left the port at 8 knots and there were zero vibrations and zero noise,” says Gatto. “It was unbelievably quiet – the kind of peaceful sailing where you follow the winds and appreciate life on calm seas. The owner of Project Orion can look forward to enjoying that type of experience aboard his yacht on many different occasions.”

Designer decor

Covid-19 highlighted how much of an intimate escape the yachting lifestyle offers, where owners and guests can enjoy peace and privacy in a safe and comfortable environment with family and friends. It’s this essence of tranquillity that Gatto has aimed for with Project Orion’s interior, where the choice of décor, colours and materials reflect the quality of the yacht’s construction.

“We always look forward to working with the lucky owner to finalise the more personal details of the loose furniture and tweak the interiors, but our main goal is to provide an interior that evokes richness and peace,” he says.

Project Orion’s interior comprises veneers, leathers and marbles that come together to produce a series of sophisticated combinations. Multiple types of wood also feature on board, including farmed teak and high-gloss and matte Ebony that has been sourced from sustainably certified forestry. “Using these types of wood delivers the same level of quality and yet is much better for our planet,” says Gatto.

Within Project Orion’s beach club, Gatto also selected a synthetic teak substitute for the decking, which is sustainable, resistant and durable, available in a wide selection of colours and finishes for personalisation, and requires far less maintenance. “I’m always trying to find and use new alternative materials, and in terms of its longevity and guest usage this teak substitute is highly successful,” he says.

Looking forward

Project Orion is currently in build and on schedule for delivery in 2025. In the meantime, Heesen and Gatto are collaborating on another exciting yacht – the full-custom all aluminium motor yacht,   .

“For us as designers, Project Setteesettanta presents a really appealing challenge as a full custom yacht, and I believe it’s on the path to becoming a Heesen flagship,” says Gatto. “It ticks all the boxes for a great project that possesses Heesen’s DNA.”

You can watch this episode here.




Sara Gioanola   PR & Press Office Manager
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