Eyebrows were raised when Arcadia Yachts presented its first 85-footer (26-meter) in 2010. To traditionalists, the styling of the all-glass superstructure and solar panels resembled a floating greenhouse; for the more forward-thinking, the yacht was a revelation. Unperturbed by the mixed reactions and a market in the grip of global recession, the Neapolitan shipyard continued to add models to its fiberglass range. In the years since, Arcadia has delivered 28 yachts from 60 to 115 feet (18.2 to 35 meters), many of them to repeat clients.
One repeat client is the British owner of RJ, the Arcadia 105 launched in July. His third Arcadia, she is based on the same technical platform as the Arcadia 100, and is the result of the builder’s collaboration with Hot Lab in Milan to evolve the brand’s eco-friendly design and technology.
“We always start with the needs of our owners and how they like to use their boats,” says Francesco Ansalone, Arcadia’s marketing and communications manager. “The alfresco living areas are a big part of their onboard lifestyle, but the semi-enclosed dining area on the Arcadia 100 adjoining the main salon meant a smaller open aft deck. The model slotted neatly into the range, but we felt that there was something missing in its design DNA.”
The Hot Lab team was tasked with optimizing the overall design, from the exterior styling and interior décor to the general arrangement and circulation flow.
“The very first thing we did was push back the sliding glass doors to the main salon by around 8 feet, so the dining area is fully part of the open aft deck,” says studio partner Enrico Lumini. “This provides a much bigger open-air space that can now seat at least 20 diners, which is more in keeping with Arcadia’s philosophy of blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior.”
Hot Lab also revamped the superstructure styling to increase the size of the upper deck aft, or what Arcadia calls the “sun lounge.” On the Arcadia 100, there was room only for a sunbed, but on the 105 it has been widened and lengthened to provide space for a second open-air dining or cocktail area with a bar, four sofas, adjustable tables and skylights in the deck.
Whereas there was no division between the wheelhouse and sky lounge on the Arcadia 100, the 105 has a glass partition that can be screened off to provide guests with more privacy and crew with a distraction-free environment for conning the boat. A smart feature imported from the previous model is that all the windows, including those on the bridge, can be partially lowered to increase natural ventilation.
Guest circulation has been improved compared with previous models, with the addition of a private staircase from the salon to the full-beam master stateroom on the lower deck. There are also a full-beam VIP suite and two guest staterooms, but clients can choose various layouts, including an owner’s stateroom on the main deck forward. On RJ, that space is occupied by a multipurpose “playroom,” but in stateroom mode, the adjoining day head becomes an ensuite bathroom.
A winning architectural formula carried over from the Arcadia 100 includes the sliding glass doors and fold-down bulwarks on either side of the salon. Balconies are common enough on yachts these days, but when combined with the sole-to-ceiling glazing, mirrored surfaces and headroom of more than 7 feet (2.22 meters) on the Arcadia 105, they create a space open to balmy sea breezes. Indeed, the air conditioning remained off in the salon throughout the yacht’s summer cruise of more than 1,500 nautical miles in the Mediterranean.
The use of flat glass is the defining characteristic that lends the Arcadia range its distinctive angular look. Aesthetics aside, however, the laminated glazing fulfills several functions. It provides unmatched visibility and illumination; it transmits enough light to power the integrated solar cells; and it prevents too much light and heat from reaching the interior.
Arcadia’s glazing is made up of an outer layer of self-cleaning, extra-clear glass and a sandwiched layer of tinted glass filled with krypton gas. The heavy gas has a higher density than air to reduce convective heat transfer, allowing the interior to be maintained at around 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) less than the outside temperature, regardless of the conditions, without the use of air conditioning. Arcadia claims its insulation properties are equivalent to an 8-inch brick wall, adding that the gas-filled glass and elastic adhesives that attach it to the superstructure also provide very effective acoustic insulation.
The semi-planing hull form is based on a series of designs by the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom. Originally designed for use by coastal patrol vessels, the hulls are seakindly, but rather wet, so Arcadia added spray rails for a drier ride and modified the hard chines to improve stability and lift.
The interior design by Hot Lab is crisply contemporary and thoroughly Italian. It draws on a contrasting palette of exotic materials such as dark carvalho wood and Macassar ebony for the cabinetry, white oak for the soles, and nero Marquina and white Carrara marbles for the bathrooms. The freestanding furniture, fabrics and accessories are by Italian brands including Armani Casa, Foscarini, Flexform and Minotti.
Punctuating the monochrome tones are decorative panels that Italian artist Alex Turco created with epoxy resin and acrylic paints. In the staterooms, these panels match the color of the headboards, which are made of small wood blocks arranged and finished by hand—all 290 of them—in velvety nubuck leather.
“The owner chose to follow the interior design we had developed as a concept, but we visited the various suppliers’ showrooms together to select the fabrics, furniture and fittings,” Lumini says. “It is probably the most complex interior Arcadia has ever built, but they achieved a level of finish that is more in line with much larger yachts.”
Many of Arcadia’s ideas were ahead of the curve in 2010. Today, although not exactly mainstream, they have gained a niche but loyal following and been widely emulated. The Arcadia 105—with two hulls on the water, two more in build and others under negotiation—looks set to continue this upward trend.
For more information: arcadiayachts.it
When the first Arcadia 85 was delivered eight years ago, photovoltaic technology for generating electricity from sunlight was still in its infancy and the yard was using photovoltaic cells with a maximum power output of 88 watts per square meter. By 2016, it was installing solar panels that could produce 116 watts per square meter. Today, that figure is 121 watts per square meter—an overall increase in efficiency of 28 percent—and the Arcadia 105 is able to reduce reliance on its diesel generators by delivering around 4.5 kW of auxiliary electricity from 36 square meters of solar panels. This energy can be stored in a battery bank with a total capacity of 1,700 Ah (by way of comparison, a standard car battery may have a capacity of 50 Ah), which is sufficient to run the hotel loads without air conditioning for several hours. —J.R.
Have a closer look at the Arcadia 105 RJ in the gallery below: