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Form and Function

by Maria Roberta Morso 
Roberto Angel

With that face a bit like that, that expression a little like that, which we have seen Genoa ... thinking back to Roberto Angel, after the interview he gave me in his studio in the Foce district, in Genoa, I found myself humming to myself with Paolo Conte's song, and I wondered why. Maybe because Angel has a face a little ... Mediterranean, and an expression a little so ... intense, but with a certain reluctance that is contradicted by the flicker of dark eyes. I wanted to present him as a person, rather than as a designer, because the interview was strongly influenced by his way of presenting himself, as well as by the many projects he presented to me and which will be the main object of the article.


We talked about his professional career a bit 'in bits and pieces, from one project to another, from one idea to another, but the leitmotif that I traced, in retrospect, is his great creative charge, his desire to experiment.


Enrolled in a degree course in 'traditional' architecture, he already had in mind a path aimed at boating and his degree thesis focused precisely on the study of the ways in which, in Italy, nautical design developed: "Motoryacht and architecture - Caliari, Harrauer, Spadolini: three architects who contributed to the typological and formal evolution of pleasure motor boats ".


The problem of the formal evolution of boats remains a key element of his activity as a nautical designer who continues to study, experiment, develop ideas and concepts. From this intense activity some original projects have taken shape such as, for example, that of the Sea Cube 43 '.


The Sea Cube 43 'was the first project entirely made by Angel for the Milanese Sea Cube shipyard. The 13.35m long boat immediately seized the favor of professionals and the public for extremely versatile solutions, especially in the exterior. Angel defines the work on the Sea Cube, intense and tiring: "It is not a big boat, but every part I have studied meticulously, trying to find the most functional and simple solution to build and use!" In fact, the result is an open with elegant lines, extremely usable, both internally and externally, with modifiable elements, such as the automatically transformable external dinette with folding seats and retractable hydraulic table, the electrically rotating pilot seat, the awning that disappears in a slot on the end of the hard top. On the occasion of Seatec 2007, the project obtained the millennium Yacht Design Award (MYDA) in the 10 to 16 meter boat category, an acknowledgment that Angel received with justified pride, being a first work.


In his activity in recent years there are numerous collaborations with the engineer Sergio Cutolo, owner of the Hydrotec studio, including the project of a classic 30-meter explorer developed for a customer who wanted a yacht that resembled, in its features, a robust tugboat . In this project Angel declares that he vaguely let himself be inspired by Bannenberg's style. "In the variety of the shape of the windows that, rounded and vertical towards the bow, become rectangular and more horizontal towards the stern, I like to recognize an echo of some of the master's superstructures". Among the other recent projects, still being defined, always in tandem with Cutolo and always in the style and forms of an explorer, there is A 36 meters "perhaps less daring, but with interesting peculiarities; I am currently defining two proposals for the external lines, small mutations of the external skin to demonstrate that the style is independent of form and function ". And to finish with the expedition vessel genre, the largest project, still in the embryonic phase, is that of a 52m explorer: "Sergio likes expeditions, and so do I! The yacht has a large aft area in contiguity with the sea, a central body with the living area and with open spaces characterized by angular shapes with exaggerated balconies saying that they remember the style of the great Mario Ridolfi! "


On another front, that of the open, Roberto Angel is currently working on a delicate restyling of the Jaguar 76 'stylized by Paolo Caliari: it is a new 80-foot Jaguar, built on the platform of the immediately lower model. The changes are concentrated displacements and a remodeling of the openings. "These interventions - Angel is keen to underline - have inevitably altered the harmonious lines of the Jaguar 76 'designed by Caliari, but were not designed to improve what remains a splendid boat, but to diversify two models similar in size, but very different for capacity, interiors and way of living the sea holiday. For the interiors my intervention, more than this.

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