Mario Pedol

Nauta Design

Founded in Milan in 1986 by Mario Pedol and Massimo Gino, Nauta Designs elegant performance sailing yachts and motorboats with a production that ranges from performance sailboats to tenders to explorers to giga-yachts. After designing iconic sailing yachts such as the five sailing yachts in the My Song series along with Nilaya and Nikata, in 2000 Nauta began to design motor yachts of different types and sizes. Success came quickly and 2009 Nauta was commissioned with the exterior design of the Lurssen 180m AZZAM, the largest privately owned motor yacht in the world to date. Nauta is internationally recognized for clean and elegant designs that combine form and function masterfully. Different projects in different size ranges and for diverse final uses, but with a constant stylistic cypher that harmonizes interior and exterior conferring timeless elegance across the range. From our origins as sailing yacht designers to our current work that includes motor yachts, we have designed and delivered a variety of projects all with a clear Nauta imprint. Different sources of inspiration are behind the lines of the yachts we design and together they combine to create the style that defines our projects. We design for balance and harmony and are constantly inspired by the best automotive design, by the shapes and volumes of avant-garde architecture, and by the patterns and designs we find in the natural materials we work with. We owe a lot to our Italian roots for an aesthetic sensitivity that derives from our culture, art and history in general. We are also inspired by our experience on the water, by our love for it and our designs are informed by our knowledge of what it takes to fully enjoy time spent aboard and the special sense of peace and freedom that comes with exploration. We listen closely to suggestions from our clients, ready to unlock sensations and experiences in priceless and unique voyages. Nauta designed yachts are welcoming, relaxing, elegant and never over-designed. Our clients have the pleasure of staying in close contact with the sea without barriers, obstacles, or cumbersome structures getting in the way of the pure pleasure of living and immersing oneself in the natural elements. This is Nauta’s design cipher: purity of lines that free owners and guests to enjoy experiences and emotions, that create yachts that are extremely well connected to the elements, that let them delight in the sea and the world they sail in. In almost forty years of continuous productivity, we have fulfilled the dreams and desires of passionate sailors and visionary owners, who have shared our viewpoint and supported our search for timeless, light, harmonious design: a pure Nauta design which they know and love.


What does it mean to you to be an ISS judge?

It’s a great honor for me to be an ISS judge and it’s also an important responsibility. In this role I will evaluate the many different and delicate aspects of the best yacht designs that are produced yearly. I will contribute my point of view as an Italian designer who has based his vision on a sincere passion for the world at sea and on the continuous effort to combine form and function in the frame of comfort and elegance. Possibly, timeless elegance…

What do you like about the ISS Design & Awards Gala?

When I first came to the FLIBS I heard about the ISS Design Awards Gala and decided to become member of the International Superyacht Society. I wanted to know more about this institution and its top-level industry network. I liked the kind of networking tool that the ISS can provide and the superyacht industry insider’s point of view it can offer. It is a very important industry event where there is a jury of professional experts in the field that makes this award particularly authoritative. It’s also the occasion to meet the most important players in our industry. For me it’s a “can’t miss” yearly appointment and I’m happy to see that the most important designers, shipyard directors and brokers share my point of view on it.

How did you get your start in the yachting industry?

My introduction to the sea and sailing came on my grandfather’s knee; he lit the flame that is the passion for being on the water that I still feel today. He served in the Italian Navy and then as chief engineer aboard cruise ships. Later, I was studying economics at the Bocconi University in Milan when a friend proposed that we ask the designer Andrea Vallicelli to design a Mini Tonner (the Class had just been established at that time), named Avventura 703.

What started as a kind of game became a serious job as we sold 40 units in total, and I quit university to cope with it. After that I became the Italian dealer for Oyster Marine. Two years later I decided to take one year off and sail to the Caribbean with my own Oyster. Living on board for almost a year taught me what you need on a yacht and where.

Upon my return in Europe, I enrolled in a course in yacht design in Milan followed by an internship in New York with Scott Kaufman, the former Sparkman & Stephens designer whose stylistic sensitivity has been very important to me as a designer. In 1985, with Massimo Gino and Enzo Moiso we founded Nauta Yachts and we designed and built the Nauta 54 sailing yacht. That was our real beginning as yacht designers. We later named Nauta Design the design division of the company.

What is your biggest challenge?

It’s a daily challenge to run a yacht design studio with over 16 employees that produces projects that range from custom superyachts to series production sailing yachts. It’s complex yet stimulating to work on such a variety of projects while still keeping a clear Nauta imprint. I think the biggest challenge is having that versatility while staying true to our style and design philosophy. Clients and owners acknowledge that we are recognized for that, but there will always be another challenge ahead. And we will always be there, giving it our best, trying out new solutions while keeping our Nauta imprint.

If you could choose one location for your next travel adventure, where would you go and why?

I would go sailing somewhere in the Med which for me is the most beautiful sea in the world. The beauty of the natural environment, the light towards the end of the day, the intriguing historical and cultural aspects: you never stop learning when sailing around the Med. There are three millennia of history in this sea…… from the ancient Egyptian and Greek civilizations up to those of North Africa and the Roman Empire, and up until today……

 Where do you find inspiration? Why?

Throughout my life and career as a yacht designer I’ve found inspiration in historical yacht designs. I started working with Scott Kaufman as I said before, he was my menthor in terms of elegance of shapes and balance of volumes and areas. I have always tried to create designs that remain beautiful through the years. I also owe a lot to my Italian roots and have been influenced by the design world here.

All this is combined with an aesthetic sensitivity that derives from our culture, art and history in general. Italy is a trendsetter and world leader in all aspects of design from fashion, to furniture, cars and yacht design too.

What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?

As a yacht designer we anticipated a trend towards bringing the outdoor in: we rethought the relationship between a superyacht and the surrounding environment, looking for a seamless inside/outside areas connection, designing extraordinary outdoor spaces, breathtaking views from both inside and outside. And we worked at enframing all that in an extreme balance and neatness of lines, in the quest for utmost elegance and visual lightness.

In example we also recently patented a new concept for aft beach areas with multiple fold-down platforms which we have called “the Island.” We’re applying the Island concept for some important new projects which we hope to be able to disclose very soon.