The 282-foot Lurssen Quattroelle is a definitive use of exponential space. By Dudley Dawson
October 8, 2013
Building on a history of some of the most exceptional superyachts currently cruising the world’s oceans, Lürssen has done it again, this time with a 282-foot masterpiece christened Quattroelle. She is not the largest Lürssen, nor the most innovative, but in my opinion, she is among the best. Her arrangement and styling are superb, and her engineering spaces and systems are the epitome of what such “little ships” should be.
Although the yacht was built in Germany for an American owner, the name Quattroelle is of Italian origin. Maserati’s Quattroporte is a four-door sedan; Quattroelle’s name means four L’s, and they stand for love, life, liberty and luxury. The design is from Italy as well. You may recognize the firm Nuvolari + Lenard from its work on both American and European production yachts, but it has a rich heritage in superyachts. This is the firm’s first collaboration with Lürssen, but, having the privilege of being acquainted with all of the major players on this team, I feel safe in predicting it’s unlikely to be the last.
Carlo Nuvolari, the senior half of the design duo, is a talented naval architect, quiet and always aware that, after all, boats must go to sea in conditions that are seldom ideal. Dan Lenard, who once seemed to me in danger of exploding from youthful exuberance, has matured into an experienced and thoughtful designer. Despite a few gray hairs, he still dares to dream the impossible and then make it happen. The impossible in this case was creating exponential growth in this 282-footer’s available space when compared with the owner’s earlier 197-footer, which is easier said than done.
Such design dreams happen, though, only if a skilled and capable builder is a willing part of the team. I first met Peter Lürssen when we sat on opposite sides of the table during the preliminary planning for Limitless, a yacht much longer than 300 feet, some 20 years ago. Limitless also was a new step for Lürssen, with a unique diesel-electric propulsion system, plus the added complexity of meeting the requirements for flying the American flag, something no other yacht her size had done before or since. Lürssen and his team enthusiastically embraced the challenges, and the results then, as they are with Quattroelle, were indisputably a resounding success.
Such success, on such a scale, does not come easily or quickly. Lürssen alludes to the sheer size of the project, built under the code name Bellissimo, with the observation: “The size of the yacht with its massive volumes was a challenge, but with careful volume distribution and a study of proportion, Nuvolari + Lenard nonetheless achieved a sleek appearance. The funnel design reminds us of the air scoop of a Formula 1 car and, with its inverted shape, creates the distinctive silhouette of Quattroelle.”
Styling aside, doing the basic math — 282 feet, six decks, 12 guests — yields well over 100 feet of deck length per guest. It’s more complicated than that, of course, what with crew, machinery and service spaces, but it is obvious, as Lürssen says, that the guests have a lot of space at their disposal. This is more than a function of Quattroelle’s length overall. As yachts grow longer, they also grow wider and higher, and they must be built stronger and carry more power, equipment, supplies and complement. Remarkably, the interior volume, the displacement and tonnage, the crew requirements and even the price have traditionally increased at an exponential rate that remains fairly constant over a wide range of sizes. Let’s call it “the power of 2.6.” What this means is that when comparing two yachts, such as Quattroelle, at 282 feet, with the owner’s previous Lürssen, at 197 feet, you can get some idea of the comparison by taking the ratio of the lengths and raising it to an exponential power of 2.6. I’ll save you the trouble of doing the math (282 / 197 = 1.43, and 1.43 ^ 2.6 = 2.54 ). The bottom line is that Quattroelle is only 43 percent longer, but she’s more than 2½ times as “big” as the owner’s earlier Lürssen. That’s quite an upgrade for any owner, and it’s something to keep in mind as we mere mortals consider a comparable move, say from 30 feet to 43 feet — the math, the rewards and the consequences are the same.
Nuvolari + Lenard calls Quattroelle one of its most detailed designs ever: “We defined its exterior style and its interior and all the details of its hardware. We designed a lot of details expressly for this yacht.” The effort of the designers is evident in these details, which include a Murano glass chandelier above the dining table, a bronze railing on the main lobby staircase and a limo tender as well as a center console and even the crew uniforms. It seems, as you view both the interior and exterior of Quattroelle, that they covered the entire 282-foot length and 45-foot beam one square inch at a time, leaving no opportunity for improvement unexplored. We were not permitted to reproduce the arrangement plan with this article, but having reviewed the layout in depth, I can assure you that the plan is remarkable, even when compared to other yachts in this class.
The yard’s spec sheet says Quattroelle has three owner’s cabins, five guest cabins and 17 cabins for 29 crew, but that doesn’t begin to cover the scope of what’s aboard. The tank deck level, below the waterline, carries separate refrigerator and freezer rooms as well as a laundry, each the size of a small yacht. The crew mess has seating for more than 20, and it occupies only half the beam at this level, with the crew lounge and office balancing the other side. That’s in addition to dozens of technical and store spaces, as well as the engine room amidships, a tunnel thruster room forward and a pump jet room for the flush-outlet thruster aft.
Next up is the lower deck level. Normally, this level is reserved for guest cabins on “regular” megayachts, but the only guest spaces here on Quattroelle are the guest lobby forward, with a fold-out platform for boarding from a dock or tender, and the guest lobby aft, adjacent to the swim platform. The rest of this deck is for crew accommodation, tender stowage, technical spaces and the galley.
The main deck carries three VIP suites with king berths and two additional guest staterooms with convertible twin/king berths, all located forward where an owner’s suite often resides. All five have spacious heads with both shower and whirlpool tub, and the three suites have private sitting areas as well. A cinema is adjacent to the accommodations, just forward of the main entrance with its remarkable stairway. The dining room, with its glass chandelier, seats 20, and outboard, the bulwarks fold down to allow a more complete view of the sea or shore as well as a fresh breeze while dining. The dining space is separated from the formal salon by a library. A gallery lies abaft the salon and opens onto an aft deck, with twin stairs down to the swim platform and up to the next deck as well as a passerelle for either stern or side boarding.
The multitude of dedicated spaces is one of the many smart features aboard Quattroelle. Too often on yachts of this magnitude, the spaces are oversized, leaving guests feeling overwhelmed. In spite of its size, this is still primarily a family yacht, and there is a certain comfort factor in the coziness of smaller rooms.
From the helipad forward to the open deck aft, the upper deck is a true owner’s paradise. The owner’s suite lies forward, below the brow of the pilothouse, with 180 degrees of glass. His and her baths, as well as a separate vanity room, each rival a guest cabin in size. There’s also an owner’s office and two more family cabins adjacent to the owner’s suite. A guest foyer lies between them and the upper salon, which includes a lounge, bar and TV viewing area. Numerous double doors provide fire protection as well as flexibility in function, so that the after part of the deck can be opened to guests or closed for family privacy. The bridge deck carries the pilothouse, captain’s cabin and ship’s office. It has a private owner’s lounge as well, facing aft and overlooking a centerline infinity pool and two sun pads. Finally, the icing on the cake is the top deck with additional guest amenities including a Jacuzzi spa, sauna, beauty/massage room, gym and lounge area.
The interior decor is difficult to categorize. Lürssen terms it “eclectic contemporary, combining a sophisticated palette of woods, stones and fabrics.” Nuvolari + Lenard, which worked closely with the owners to achieve the look it desired, says the goal was to have wood dominate, but not necessarily in a classic way. So, is it classic with a modern twist, or modern with a classic twist? The answer would seem to be, simply, yes.
Reflecting the experience of the owner, designers and builder in equal measures, Quattroelle is comfort on a grand scale. She includes all of the crew facilities and service spaces necessary to allow five-star service without compromise. Not only do the owner and guests have an elevator serving all decks, but another lift is provided exclusively for crew use. Every deck has crew spaces, as well, for food prep, linen service and other necessities of life aboard such a vessel.
That, dear readers — the power of 2.6 — is what moving up to a larger yacht is all about. You might not choose to take extra guests with you, but those who do go along are destined to enjoy life on a whole new level. Kudos to Lürssen, to Nuvolari + Lenard, and to the owner and his family for this remarkable achievement. Lürssen, +49 421 6604 166; lurssen.com