Australian designer Marc Newson has designed a speed boat in collaboration with Officina Italiana Design for Italian boat brand Riva.

Newson’s design for the Aquariva vessel is unique in its conception, as well as the materials chosen.

A wood-like, textile-based laminate (phenolic composite) was used for the deck area and instrument panel.

This material was developed in the first half of the 20th century, and was a precursor to fibreglass.

While having an ostensibly organic feel and aesthetic, it is significantly more durable than wood.

To give the exterior a more high tech look, Newson utilized anodized aluminum, a material not generally associated with boats.

This lightweight material is used in lieu of stainless steel and chrome brass, yet remains contextual among Riva’s glamour and classical design.

Respecting the DNA of the original project created by Officina Italiana Design was paramount to Newson’s design for Aquariva.

With this in mind, some of the changes he makes are truly innovative: the re-imagining of the transom (at the stern), the wrap-around, laminated glass windscreen, the split cabin door entry, the functionality of the lounge and dining area, and the re-introduction of separate driver and passenger seats.

Aquariva by Marc Newson’s simplicity and functionality are what make the boat truly extraordinary.

The end product of Newson’s design is an uprated Riva complete with a bow thruster and state-of-the-art electronic transmission.

“So much of my work is about simplification and elimination,” Mr. Newson explained.

“Once you’ve done that the design starts to emerge. I wanted to hark back to the time before boats became such complex pieces of machinery.”

A limited edition of 22, Newson’s Aquariva will debut in September 2010 and will be available worldwide through NYC’s Gagosian Gallery.

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