Sanlorenzo's SX88 tempts younger owners with uber-cool design and progressive technology.

The Shock of the New

Sanlorenzo describes its SX88 as nothing less than a ‘Copernican revolution’ in yacht design. Following three years of development, it is the first in a nascent series of crossover yachts from the Italian builder, offering contemporary living, flexible layouts and innovative energy and propulsion. 

“I believe the market needs something new, and we’re pinning a lot of hopes on this new model,” Massimo Perotti, Sanlorenzo’s chairman, said at the launch. “The idea was to appeal to the emerging generation of owners, so you could say it’s aimed at the children of our current clients.”

Like crossover cars, the SX88 represents a clever compromise between the classic elegance of Sanlorenzo’s fiberglass flybridge models and the rugged versatility of its steel-hulled Explorer series. The exterior by Officina Italiana Design, with angular lines and a forward-leaning windscreen on the carbon composite superstructure—playfully inspired by the fictional vigilante Zorro’s signature—introduces a new aesthetic. The studio, known for its work with Riva Yachts, has transformed the Sanlorenzo DNA without diluting the brand’s chic appeal.

The new Sanlorenzo SX88 takes a crossover concept to the high seas with a version specifically aimed at the U.S. market.   

The new Sanlorenzo SX88 takes a crossover concept to the high seas with a version specifically aimed at the U.S. market.   

The open transom brings guests closer to the water, serving as a beach club and sports utility area. It is spacious enough to dock a 15-foot (4.5-meter) tender and water toys when the yacht is underway. A deck crane is integrated into the portside bulwark, blending with the exterior styling. The transformer-style swim platform lowers into the water as a bathing ladder, or raises to serve as a passarelle.

The helm station is under the louvered hardtop on the flybridge, which has 9-foot-long (2.7-meter) windows that raise or lower at the touch of a button to create an enclosed, air-conditioned space. This frees up room on the main deck for layout options beyond the traditional salon. Owners can choose a galley in an open-plan main deck, with four ensuite guest staterooms (including a full-beam master) on the lower deck; or the owner’s stateroom can be on the main deck forward, with the galley below. Sanlorenzo achieves the variations without moving any structural bulkheads, which streamlines production and minimizes build time. In both layouts, the crew quarters are between the engine room and accommodations.

Available in a choice of layouts, the European version is based on an open-space main deck arrangement with interior design by Piero Lissoni and free-standing furniture.   

Available in a choice of layouts, the European version is based on an open-space main deck arrangement with interior design by Piero Lissoni and free-standing furniture.   

Sanlorenzo turned to Milanese architect Piero Lissoni to develop the interior layout and design. The residential designer describes himself as an “interloper” in the marine industry, having worked on just two previous yachts: the 165-foot (50.5-meter) Mondomarine Tribù, once owned by fashion magnate Luciano Benetton, and the 122-foot (37.2-meter) Vitters Ghost. His fresh take on yacht design included introducing the open-plan main deck, with sole-to-ceiling windows and no interior bulkheads.

“I keep picturing boats, even superyachts, as if they were loft apartments,” he says. “That is, a very open and highly livable space, which makes it possible to be in contact with what’s around us, namely the sea.”

The main salon opens flush onto the aft deck.   

The main salon opens flush onto the aft deck.   

The galley on the first SX88 is on the main deck, in the form of a “cube kitchen” by designer brand Boffi. When not in use, the stainless steel unit looks like a stowage cabinet, but the countertop can quietly slide to one side, creating a work surface and revealing Miele appliances, a sink and a fridge. The concept jibes perfectly with Lissoni’s notion of open-space living. Its designer, German-born Norbert Wangen, conceived the idea while renovating a loft apartment in Munich.

“The starting point revolved around space, or rather the lack of it, and that is the same concern aboard even the largest yachts,” Wangen says. “By encasing the kitchen in a block of furniture, I wanted to remove the feeling of a work area and integrate it with the living spaces. After all, this is how we use our kitchens at home; they are not just a place for cooking, but also for socializing with friends and family.”

Officina Italiana Design played with the ‘Z’ of Zorro’s signature in creating the forward-leaning windscreen.    

Officina Italiana Design played with the ‘Z’ of Zorro’s signature in creating the forward-leaning windscreen.    

The SX88’s GRP hull is a new semi-displacement design by American naval architect Lou Codega. It was tank-tested in the Netherlands using self-propelled models to optimize performance to a top speed of 23 knots. The propulsion package comprises three Volvo Penta IPS drives, reduced fuel consumption and lower perceived noise levels, according to the builder. At anchor, a lithium battery bank can power all hotel services including air-conditioning in silent “zero-emission” mode for eight hours. This and other eco-friendly features—such as LED lighting, bioresins (instead of polyurethane-based coatings), low-energy appliances, formaldehyde-free furniture, and woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council—earned the SX88 RINA’s Green Plus notation.

Sanlorenzo’s gamble appears to be paying off, with nine units of the SX88 purchased before the model made its debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September. And more innovations are in the pipeline. In 2015, Sanlorenzo announced it was working with American automotive guru Chris Bangle, formerly chief of design for BMW. The results of that collaboration are scheduled be revealed this year. Perotti promises they “will take the industry by storm.”

Gallery: Sanlorenzo SX88

Have a closer look at the Sanlorenzo SX88 in the gallery below:

Italian, With An American Accent

With a sales office in Fort Lauderdale, Sanlorenzo developed the SX88 Americas Edition specifications to suit the U.S. market in particular.

“The primary differences between the European spec and Americas Edition are in terms of layout, décor and technical upgrades, such as tropical A/C and redundancies built into virtually every major component of the yacht,” says Marc Welch, marketing director for Sanlorenzo Americas.

The standard layout has a forward dining room and adjacent galley on the main deck, which is more likely to appeal to the U.S. market than the open-space arrangement of the European version. (Although American owners can have whichever version they like.)

The interior décor on the Americas Edition is also different, but retains an unmistakeably Italian flavor. The sole is white French oak that’s cut to resemble the pattern when looking up into the branches of a tree, and a geometric Mondrian painting inspired the paneling. Edgy, graphite metalwork, along with industrial mesh sandwiched between mirrored glass in the staterooms, provide contemporary highlights. Surfaces of honed white lava stone from Mount Etna in Sicily add a final touch of Italian chic. 

For more information: sanlorenzoamericas.com

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