INFINITI takes to the water with a unique design challenge

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Nissan Global Design Chief, Alfonso Albaisa finally meets the luxury yacht he designed 27yrs ago

Alfonso Albaisa (Senior Vice President, Nissan Global Design & Chief Creative Officer, INFINITI) is one of the motor industry’s most creative personalities. He is the man behind vehicles that are loved and admired all over the world. Cars like the INFINITI Q60, Q30, Nissan Juke and, more recently, the INFINITI Prototype 9.

In August 1990, during his second year working for Nissan, he was approached by a client in Turkey to design a yacht – Motali. The brief was rather challenging: ‘Imagine Motali backing into its bay at Monaco. The rear view of this vessel should be like no other.’

Finally, in 2017 he had the opportunity to see the craft he had designed all those years ago.

Alfonso grew up on the ocean, cruising around Miami’s coastline on a six-metre powerboat with his brother. Ever since he had a deep fascination with water. Creating Motali was a chance for him to combine his lifelong passion with the job he loves. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“With any yacht, the look and shape are so important but, 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” said Albaisa.

Yet while he 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. 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 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 harbor 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.”

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