Benetti 65 - Silver Angel
Benetti’s first launch of 2009, Silver Angel, is visually stunning on the inside, and continues the obsession with opposites that is the hallmark of her mysterious owner
Boat reviewers often tell their stories in numbers: how many horsepower, how much displacement, how many knots, litres per hour, length overall, beam and many more. With Benetti’s new 65-metre launch, Silver Angel, one could look at those numbers and learn nothing about this boat. For this yacht, which often defies belief as you look around, there are other sets of numbers that tell the real story. For instance, over 1200 square metres (nearly one-third of an acre) of glossy black oak was used throughout Silver Angel’s interiors – with 400 of that used in the crew quarters alone. That black oak is set against over 700 square metres of white marble.
Silver Angel is the second yacht owned by the mysterious Lady Green, the woman behind the design firm Argent, a London-based firm whose website reveals virtually nothing about the company. That Argent (Latin for Silver) would be the name of this woman’s company should come as no surprise. Her previous yacht was the ISA 120, Illusion, and featured a similar, black, white and crystal art deco interior.
With Silver Angel, Lady Green has been given a much bigger platform to expand on her taste for extreme contrasts, though in deference to her namesake, there are plants scattered her and there, apparently from a on-board nursery.
The first thing to note about this yacht is the desire for internal volumes. Silver Angel will not win prizes for speed or performance in any category. But then, that’s hardly the point. Silver Angel is about indulgence of the most extravagant sort. Firstly, the beam was widened by an extra two metres to maximise internal volumes. The space that was thusly opened up was filled to the max with Lady Green’s specific sense of visual fun.
The 65-metre Silver Angel is part of the Benetti FB series, which is the custom build portion of the line, with steel hulls and aluminum superstructures. Long-time Benetti collaborator Stefano Natucci worked on the design under the guidance of Lady Green and the people at Argent. With ten cabins, including an unbelievable master cabin, Silver Angel has mind-bending accommodation for up to 18 priviliged guests. As you enter the black-and-white themed main saloon, you enter a world unto itself. Not only is nearly every material black or white, the ubiquitous presence of figurines, sculptures, decorative touches and mirrors in Lalique crystal. The mirrors in particular add to the incredible spaciousness and the slightly surreal feeling of being in a true palace.
The main saloon also benefits mightily from a very apparent effort to develop a symmetrical look that would have left the ancient Greeks in a delighted reverie. Much of the furniture is finished in a silvery upholstery that lends itself to the feeling of luxury and is a good accoutrement to the yacht’s christening. Looking around the main saloon, it’s hard not to feel that you’re in a space that’s twice the (already ample) size.
One minor touch that, amid all the black, white and crystal, stands out far more than it would otherwise, is the green of the plants that have been decoratively placed nearly everywhere onboard Silver Angel. Lady Green seems to have taken a liking to gardening, and many of the plants are said to come from her own greenhouse onboard the boat. The dashes of green are multiplied by the mirrors, resulting in a very mind-bending effect. Sinking into the plush settees that have been artfully arranged about the saloon, it’s hard not to imagine a Roman empress enjoying something similar.
Moving to the master cabin is a walk through the sublime, passing corridors that repeat the art deco themes of Silver Angel, yet find intriguing ways of being distinct at the same time. The lobby, the entrance for most guests, is stunning. The internal staircase connecting all decks is wide and exemplifies the art deco styling. Rather than tightening the stairs for more deck space, the stairs and each landing are wide and spacious. It is here that the heavy use of white marble comes into its finest display. The staircase and flooring are solid marble, punctuated by inlays of Lalique crystal, something normally admires on a stand rather than feels underfoot.
In keeping with the art deco theme, there are figurines of flapper girls from the 1920s placed throughout, but especially it seems in the common rooms. If ever there was to be a point of reference for the inspiration behind Silver Angel, this would be it. The so-called flapper girls of the era were known for their
In the master cabin, one finds a full-beam masterpiece, with marble flooring juxtaposed against black columns and panels. Side tables and smaller furniture items are finished in Lalique or mirrors, causing them to nearly fade from the room – a settee in the master cabin almost seems to stand on its own, until, upon closer inspection, you see the side tables.
In the master cabin ensuite, one finds more mirrors and more art deco. But amazingly, there is a bathtub carved from a solid block of marble. The sink is also done in a similar fashion. In an especially intriguing touch, the tropical rain showerhead has been fitted with LEDs that shine multicoloured lightbeams down through the water streams, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. With the many surrounding mirrors and standing on solid white marble, what effect it has on the one taking a shower can only be guessed at, but is surely psychedelic.
Guest and VIP cabins display similar levels of luxury and all-out extravagance. Solid marble bathtubs, hand-pounded silver-lined sinks set amid marble countertops, crystal mirrors on ceilings and delightful artistic touches on everything from panels to door knobs punctuate every corner aboard Silver Angel. Throw rugs and fabrics that employ grey faux-fur and satiny pillows make the whole experience both a visual and textural treat.
Moving upstairs to the upper saloon, one finds the first real break with the centrally-aligned symmetry that characterises the main saloon below. Here, a comfortable lounge area is set against a nearly all-black bar area that screams 1920s decadence. Solid black varnished oak wood bar stools and black marble countertop provide the perfect counterpoint to some magic elixer at the end of a day on the water (or the beginning, as this boat does recall the 1920s). Ironically, mirrors are often in place of windows on this deck, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the boat is as much a part of the scenery as the surroundings.