2018 Infiniti Q60 & Motali Yacht – Video
Alfonso Albaisa grew up on the ocean, cruising around Miami’s coastline in the 1970s with his brother, stopping to sleep on islands and drifting off to the sound of the waves. These early childhood adventures sparked a deep fascination with water that continues to influence his work as a designer today.
“I want to harness the power and beauty of nature in my designs,” said Albaisa, senior vice president, Nissan Global Design and chief creative officer, INFINITI (Instagram). “But no matter how big your ambition, I’ve also learned that as a human your physical presence on the ocean is very small. I want to capture this sense of tranquility and humbleness too.”
Albaisa’s long-held respect for the water is what led him to take on a project to design Motali, a 33-meter, three-story luxury yacht. It was a considerable challenge, especially given the taxing nature of the brief from his client:
“Imagine Motali backing into its bay at Monaco,” said Albaisa. “The rear view of this vessel should be like no other. With any yacht, the look and shape are so important. For Motali, it was clear from the beginning that the most important thing was to create something truly beautiful. That’s why I designed it with a bullet-like expression and with romantic tapering at the stern that tumbles inwards, similar to the classic vessels of the 1950s.”
While Albaisa could draw on many of the design and creativity skills honed during his day job, the key challenge of moving from four wheels to none was the sheer sense of scale.
“A car can be treated as a single thought with one gesture supported by details,” said Albaisa. “Yet on a yacht of Motali’s size, the gesture is dictated by the architecture – more like a building than a vehicle.”
Unlike with a building (or, indeed, a car), though, Albaisa had to look beyond the vessel itself during the design process. Here, once again, he was able to turn to those early years on the Atlantic.
“As someone who has spent a lot of time sailing, I knew the views out Motali’s windows would be as important as the vessel itself. On a yacht, the surrounding environment is not static in the same way it is for a building. Plus, it’s nearly always majestic – whether you’re looking at an island, the open ocean, a city harbour or the lights of a coastline. The exterior of Motali had to fit seamlessly into all those surroundings while the inside needed to be more than just an interior. It’s designed to give passengers an experience of travel.”
Alfonso Albaisa has spent more than two decades creating some of the planet’s most popular vehicles, first for Nissan and, more recently, for the company’s premium brand INFINITI. From the Nissan Juke to the INFINITI Q80 Inspiration, he has consistently explored the natural world for inspiration.
Q1: What is Motali?
Albaisa: Motali is a 33-meter, three-story luxury yacht. It is privately owned and designed to give passengers a true experience of travel. The design features a bullet-like expression with romantic tapering at the stern that tumbles inwards, similar to the classic vessels of the 1950s, done in a completely modern way. Guests enjoy a fundamentally different shaped yacht, with curved windows downstairs, creating a unique view from the inside out.
Q2: How did the opportunity to work on the Motali design project come about?
Albaisa: We were approached by a client in Turkey to design the yacht in August 1990, during my second year working for Nissan. He told me: Imagine Motali backing into its mooring at Monaco. The rear view of this vessel should be like no other. It was an exciting but extremely challenging brief.
Q3: What made you get involved?
Albaisa: I grew up on the ocean, cruising around Miami’s coastline on a six-meter powerboat with my brother. Ever since, I’ve had a deep fascination with water, and I am still a keen sailor today. At INFINITI Design, we are inspired by the power and beauty of nature and the ocean in our car designs. Creating Motali was a chance to combine my lifelong passion with the job I love. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Q4: What did you enjoy most about the project?
Albaisa: I’ve always been captivated by the look of yachts at rest, so having the chance to create my own vessel was very exciting. I also enjoyed having to think beyond the design of the yacht itself. Unlike with cars, the views out Motali’s windows are as important as its own appearance. I had to design something that would fit seamlessly into a range of majestic surroundings – from Monte Carlo Harbor to the open ocean or the bay of a deserted island.
Q5: What was the biggest challenge?
Albaisa: The sheer scale. Whereas a car can be treated as a single thought with one gesture supported by details, on a yacht of Motali’s size the gesture is dictated by the architecture. It was more like designing a building than a vehicle.