Marc Newson's Retro Riva Speed Boat

Photo Courtesy of Marc Newson
Riva goes back to 1842 when a young carpenter, Pietro Riva, opened his own shipyard in Sarnico, Italy. The luxury yacht company was passed through generations, always concerned with crafting elegant boats for those who take true pleasure in the small details.

In 2000, Riva joined the Ferretti Group, one of the world’s leaders in luxury boats, working to integrate their style with Ferretti's knowledge. With the partnership came new research and ideas, ultimately leading to Riva's collaboration with Australian-born industrial designer Marc Newson in 2010.

While the luxury speed boat isn't exactly breaking news, it's still really cool. Newson created the limited edition boat by reinterpreting Riva's classic ‘Aquariva.’ With such a broad range of design experience under his belt (including aircraft, furniture, jewelry, and clothing design), his transition into nautical design was probably an easy one.
“My own career has undoubtedly been influenced by the Italians’ ability to impact so many areas of design,” explains mega-designer Marc Newson, “That influence is fully evident in ‘Aquariva by Marc Newson’, my first nautical design project for the iconic Italian brand.”

Choosing to create a unique vessel, Newson used phenolic composite (a wood-like laminate that is textile-based) for the deck and instrument panel. According to Riva, the material "was developed in the first half of the 20th century, and was a precursor to fibreglass." It supposedly maintains the organic feel and aesthetic of wood, while being significantly more durable. Another neat feature is that instead of the standard stainless steel and chrome brass generally associated with small boats, Newson decided to use the more modern and lightweight choice of anodized aluminum.
Newson is known to incorporate biomorphism into his designs, which is a style that uses organic lines and patterns, and his preference shows in the way he chose to design the boat using flowing lines in lieu of sharp edges. The decision also helps to give the speed boat a more retro look. When discussing the creative process involved with developing his glamorous new boat for Riva, Marc Newson explains, “So much of my work is about simplification and elimination. Once you’ve done that the design starts to emerge. I wanted to hark back to the time before boats became such complex pieces of machinery.”

Only 22 of these sleek vessels were manufactured and sold though Riva dealers, along with the New York-based Gagosian Gallery. With a cruising speed of 41 mph and a maximum speed of 47 mph, this retro beauty looks like it belongs in a classic James Bond flick (Bond girl not included).

For more information on Riva’s luxury boats:

Annalisa Solari

Annalisa is a recent graduate from San Diego State University. She received a degree in journalism with an emphasis in media studies and a minor in Italian. At SDSU she was a member of PRSSA as well as the campus Italian club. Set on taking advantage of all the great city of San Diego has to offer, Annalisa spends most of her free time reading on the beach, hiking and attending concerts....(Read More)

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