A new custom-built Codecasa My Legacy celebrates the best of Italy’s tradition with an opulence that’s becoming rare. Clare Mahon looks beyond the brocade.
Its name and classical interior may suggest otherwise but the 55.8 metre Codecasa My Legacy, delivered in 2021, will not be this owner’s last hoorah. “I have owned a few yachts in my lifetime and My Legacy is my largest to date, but she won’t be my ‘forever’ yacht,” he says.
This isn’t his first time working with Codecasa either; he’s already built two yachts with the boutique Italian shipyard. Founded in 1825, the business is in the hands of three generations of the Codecasa family, and that is part of the charm. The continuity has allowed the owner to work with the same group of architects and designers on his projects. “I have a good relationship with the Codecasa family, especially with the CEO, Mr Ennio (Buonomo),” he says. “It was that good relationship, their ability to meet my needs and the fact that it’s a quality, family shipyard that brought me back.”
The shipyard is low key, a bit mysterious even, despite and perhaps because of its high-profile clients, many (but certainly not exclusively) from within Italy. Giorgio Armani, Stefano Gabbana and the late Leonardo Del Vecchio, all passionate yachtsmen, are just a few of Codecasa’s repeat clients. The builder likely owes this following to its tradition of craftmanship and willingness to build what clients dream up, although it also offers semi-custom yachts on pre-engineered platforms.
The owner's previous boat was one of these semi-custom yachts, part of the shipyard’s Vintage line. With its nearly vertical bow, protected side decks and window mullions, the yacht is so classically graceful that you would expect a rounded stern, but it has a more modern beach platform for easy access to the water. The owner initially intended to do a slight refit of his much-loved Vintage yacht but that proved unpractical, according to designer Tommaso Spadolini.
“When he realised that it wasn’t going to be possible to change her to meet his needs, he decided to go with a new build, slightly larger and a bit more comfortable,” says the Florentine architect who created My Legacy’s classic interior. That classic interior was the focus of the brief.
“The style reflects [the owner’s] personal style. We improved on some aspects of the previous yacht that didn’t work well for the owner and his guests,” the designer says. For instance, they did away with a guest cabin to create a large VIP suite on the lower deck. “The first (smaller) yacht had four lower deck cabins while My Legacy has three, one of which is a real, full beam VIP, a better option for the owner’s guests.”
The owner kept the paint scheme from his previous yacht – white hull and superstructure with thin red stripes at the waterline – and details such as the satellite domes. The new My Legacy, however, is a full custom yacht with a steel hull and superstructure in aluminium. The exterior design by Codecasa retains a classic, evergreen style but with modern cues, such as a continuous sweep of glass that open the main deck to great views.
The aft guest cockpit is a classic hospitality space with a banquette and wicker furniture shaded by the overhang. The outdoors-friendly textiles are from Pierre Frey and Gaston y Daniela. While comfortably luxurious, nothing here hints at the opulence of the main deck saloon. Opening the doors provides a wow effect, revealing ruby red silk upholstery set in gilded furnishings, double drapes with tassels and tiebacks and abundant cut crystal and gilded bronze. Precious mahogany marquetry, ceiling panels, custom wall-to-wall carpeting and tone-on-tone Rosso Francia marble complete the decor.
What makes this decor exceptional is the level and kind of craftsmanship, Spadolini says. It has been handed down from generation to generation. As a result, the yacht’s interior is “a timeless classic style with special attention to materials and fabrics and valuable pieces of art.”
Gilded side chairs, couches and tables are by DL Decor, a company that has specialised in the production of furniture in classic and traditional styles since the mid-1900s, and furniture maker Zanaboni. Both are family-run businesses based in the Brianza region. Gilded bronze and cut crystal pieces are by Badari Firenze, another historic company that started with classic crystal chandeliers. Sumptuous silk damasks, brocades and other luxurious fabrics used aboard are by Loris Zanca, based in Verona. Spadolini says the knowledgeable owner chose all the materials. “You can see the care and attention that has gone into every tiny thing.”
The owner requested the same woodworkers who had worked on his previous yacht. “He wanted marquetry that is as beautiful as a work of art,” he says. “The panels were produced one by one, with each of the tiny pieces positioned and laid by hand; it’s an Italian tradition that all the world envies. No machine can achieve this quality; you can feel the passion for handcraft that has gone into creating it.”
Located in Viareggio, the shipyard maintains a network of reliable craftsmen. “We have a pool of local artisans we can turn to for any range of custom jobs,” Ennio Buonomo says. “Here in Viareggio, we have Simone Lari’s Falegnameria Stilnavi for woodwork and Crilu for custom upholstery, just to name a couple. We can source and produce practically anything to suit any taste while keeping the highest quality standard.”
The pandemic was one of the project’s challenges when it came to selecting materials. “Fabrics are very tricky to choose via video call,” Spadolini says. “We agreed to go ahead with a certain selection knowing that we would probably change (a few items), and that’s the way it went.” For example, after a first season in the Mediterranean, the owner decided to change a couple of sofas and table. “We also changed the colour scheme (in the sky lounge) to stay closer to the reds and golds used in the rest of the yacht.”
The sky lounge with its views and the bridge deck aft, with its large dining table shaded by the overhang, are the owner and his family’s favourite spots aboard.
The yacht’s exterior is designed for relaxation and easy access. An elevator reaches the sun deck. Here a Jacuzzi lined with turquoise and gold mosaic and surrounding sun pads can be shaded by an awning. The upper deck overhang shades the aft lounging area, which offers spaces for casual dining. The elegant fabrics are water resistant, just in case, although Spadolini says no one would gather at the table in wet bathing suits. That’s not the family’s style.
Still the yacht is water friendly. Its swim platform is long and wide, and its sturdy swim ladder provides easy and safe water access. For a little more recreation and docking space, an inflatable extension by SeaRaft can be fitted to the transom and forms a sea pool that keeps out marine life. And when the sun goes down, the yacht has more than two dozen flat screen TVs so that everyone aboard can stay up with news coverage or entertainment.
The owner kept some of the design cues from his former yacht, but more importantly, he’s brought over most of his crew. “I see My Legacy as a second home,” the owner says. “The crew takes care of us, so we look after them in return.” Suffice to look at the bridge, which is finished in red leather and briar root wood and the deep red leather helm seats in front of it, to know that the captain and crew are valued.
In a sea of sameness, My Legacy stands out with its unabashedly classic interior, individuality and as a testament to Italy’s long tradition of craftmanship.