Very few people have ever stepped foot on a boat made by yacht design studio Wally — builder of the fastest yachts on the planet — and even fewer have stepped foot inside their loud, hot workshop in Monte Carlo. British photographer Benedict Redgrove is one of them. Here's what a $US33 million yacht looks like before the paint job and leather.
Calling Wally's machines "boats" is almost a misnomer — these gigantic and gigantically expensive vessels are almost alien in proportion. But clients who are willing to spend millions of dollars on boats let the engineers at Wally fund some outrageous R&D projects. For example, their 118 model (of which only one has been built) has a deep fibreglass and carbon fibre hull that was developed with a Swedish shipbuilding facility and smoke tested at Ferrari's wind tunnel facility. They're also developing a "floating island" called Gigayacht, which is so big it literally needs a new name. Other than "megayacht."
Redgrove was invited inside the studio to shoot the construction process behind Wally's fleet, which includes the contested fastest yacht in the world. "It was incredibly hot in the workshop and then inside the boat it was even hotter still," he said over email. "Me and my assistant were literally dripping wet in sweat, but we only had a certain amount of time we could shoot it, so we just got on with it."
Excessive though it is, Wally's yachts have won the Compasso d'Oros (the European industrial design prize founded by Gio Ponti in 1954) twice over the past few years. Redgrove's photos show us the pristine white dry docks where Wally's prototypes take shape under the oversight of the company's designers. It's a rare glimpse inside a rarefied world, and even if you're disgusted by the idea of a boat that costs $US33 million and glugs 15 gallons of fuel each nautical mile, it's hard to dispute that these are beautiful objects. [Benedict Redgrove]