How many times have you heard, “what’s old is new again”? In the case of the Benetti Motopanfilo 37M, it’s not hyperbole. Neither, though, is the yacht a carbon copy of the past. The builder pays homage to the spirit of well-known yachts of the 1960s, simultaneously honoring what today’s owners and guests cherish in a midsize megayacht.
While moto panfilo means “motoryacht” in Italian, the term gained popularity all those decades ago in reference to large yachts enjoyed by royalty, celebrities, and other well-heeled people. Benetti particularly reaped the rewards of building for them, attracting clients like the late Prince Rainier and David Bowie. The yachts were quite linear in profile, though they did have rounded transoms. Furthermore, hulls and superstructures reflected more visual cohesiveness due to literal connecting geometric planes. Interior areas were homey, with a wealth of wood and classically nautical blue tones.
For the profile of the 126’6” (36.8-meter) Motopanfilo 37M, Benetti collaborated with designer Francesco Struglia. You’ll note the linear styling and geometric planes immediately. For more modern flair, the transom is curved, not fully rounded. This further serves a practical purpose, making the all-important beach club a beamy space. Additionally, you’ll note bronze paint where back in the 1960s you’d have seen wood caprails.
When Benetti announced the series in 2020, Carl Pickering of Lazzarini Pickering Architetti asserted, “We wanted to design a yacht, not a house.” In stepping through the curved glass doors from the aft deck into the saloon (top), you have no doubt. The owners of Koju, the first Motopanfilo 37M, appreciated the studio’s whalebone concept. Specifically, rib-like architectural curves run from floor to ceiling, harkening to earlier-era ship beams. Interestingly, these curves draw more attention to something you won’t see, that being walls. Koju’s owners enjoy the open-plan design, and appreciate the studio choosing not to square off below-decks staterooms. Therefore, the VIP suite (above) and other accommodations for 10 show off the bow flare. All rooms also show off Loro Piana linen fabrics in tones of blue, warm white, and rich malachite. Not coincidentally, these same tones characterized 1960s-era yachts.
Custom art niches throughout Koju draw attention to the owners’ prized collections, as do the modern picture-window-like ports. The open-plan nature of the main deck makes the 26-foot (7.8-meter) beam look and feel more voluminous, too. Similarly, the essence of classically curved 1960s transoms allows the beach club (above), as mentioned earlier, to look and feel more comfortable. Configurable as you wish, the area can come with a hooded sunshade, as Koju’s owners requested. They further requested a hidden sink, and the crew benefits from abundant stowage. This slice of life at the waterline is even more possible due to a side-launching tender garage, which holds a combination of a primary boat and PWCs.
Speaking of possibilities, when’s the last time you saw a 127-footer with a fourth deck? Benetti includes a cozy observation deck (above) atop the sundeck. A sizable sunpad makes it the ultimately private place to catch some rays during the day, curl up with a good book, or take a nap. Glass windscreens keep it nicely protected while still allowing you to enjoy the views.
From custom slide-in tables accompanying sunbeds to arranging the skylounge as a fun family TV room, Koju shows how Benetti’s past-meets-present vision comes together without clashing.
Francesco Struglia Design francescostrugliadesign.it
Lazzarini Pickering Architetti lazzarinipickering.com