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This is the first time the famous yacht builder has worked with a high-profile designer from outside the company. It is also the first time that 22 waterborne design items are being sold through a gallery. Riva of Italy, and its Officina Italiana Design, has taken the plunge with Marc Newson to reinterpret its Aquariva in a limited edition, to be sold through Gagosian Gallery. And it is all the more remarkable since the boats are built at the world’s oldest shipyard belonging to Riva in Sarnico. The yard is a protected area under the Italian Fine Art Heritage Foundation.

“Aquariva by Marc Newson is a natural extension of the artist’s work with planes and automobiles. The result is a brilliant blend of form and function, looking back to La Dolce Vita of the 1950s and 1960s and forward to the latest trends in nautical design,” says Larry Gagosian, whose gallery will be selling the boat. “I can’t wait until it is on the water.” And Norberto Ferretti, Chairman of both Ferretti Group and Riva added: “Officina Italiana Design and Marc Newson represent the best in international design. It is an honour for me to witness this partnership, one I am firmly convinced will both win great approbation and mark the history of design”.

Riva was established back in 1842 by Pietro Riva, and since then their boats have received fulsome praise. They still reflect Italian craftsmanship, with B&B seating, Poltrona Frau and Minotti draperies, Dedar fabrics, Richard Ginori china, furniture by Scarpa, and Antonio Luppi and Flexform tables. The first Aquariva was launched in 2001. Each and every craft is a speedy work of art, joined now by the Marc Newson edition.

He has used a wood-like, textile-based laminate for the deck area and instrument panel. This material was in fact the precursor to fiberglass. It has an organic feel and appearance, yet it is far more durable than wood. To give the exterior a more high tech look, Newson used anodized aluminum. The most striking features are the redesigned transom, the wrap-around windscreen in laminated glass and the split-cabin entrance. He has enhanced the functionality of the lounge and dining areas and reintroduced separate driver and passenger seating. The designer has aimed at optimum functionality and simplicity, yet this edition of the boat is still an unmistakable, genuine Riva.