Pure Genius: Luca Bassani

Re-envisioning what boats can be.

Luca Bassani
Bassani has turned Wally into a rare thing: a marine brand that is known outside of the marine industry.Courtesy Wally Yachts
Wally Yachts
One look at a wally yacht and you know it’s a Wally.Courtesy Wally Yachts

One look at a wally yacht and you know it’s a Wally.

Luca Bassani founded the Monégasque brand in 1994 and has not looked back since. Indeed, nothing of Bassani’s aesthetic palette could ever be accused of looking back at all.

Bassani's sloop Genie of the Lamp, which launched in 1995, is one of the most influential yachts of the past quarter century. Echoes of her lines can be seen in boats the world over. This is notable since Bassani is perhaps better known for his motoryachts, including the 60-knot spaceship 118 Wallypower, which stops both hearts and conversation whenever she shows up.

Born in Milan, Bassani nurtured a love for the sea on his family’s boats off Portofino before earning a Ph.D. and joining the family company, Bticino. The Bassanis sold the company in 1989, and Luca found himself a very rich man at a very young age. The next logical step? Yachting. But he had trouble finding a designer who could cater to his demands, and he began to believe that the industry as a whole was behind the times. So he forced the issue by founding Wally.

For his part, Bassani says this: “My experience of the onboard life includes all the different positions and roles — I was a child of the owners, a crew member, an owner. I was a builder, designer, professional captain… I have experienced yachting from every point of view. So when I design a yacht, I try to remember all the different angles from which I’ve seen boats.”

But when it comes to inspiration, the Italian is a bit less, shall we say, nostalgic.

“I don’t accept limits,” he says. “Whether they are imposed by technology or by the rules, it does not matter to me — they have to be overstepped!”