Nuvolari Lenard continues to create some of the world’s most elegant superyacht designs. Nabil Ibrahim takes a closer look at the Venetian studio.


Naval engineer and architect, Carlo Nuvolari, and designer, Dan Lenard opened their small design studio in Venice back in 1992.

The keen sailors shared a passion for the sea and it was this knowledge of the ocean that allowed the design duo to grow the studio into the successful business it is now.

Over the years, Nuvolari Lenard has penned some of the most well-known yachts and superyachts on the water and today, they are as passionate about creating one-off designs for the likes of Oceanco, Lurssen, Palmer Johnson and CRN as they are designing series boats for Jeanneau-Beneteau.

The keen sailors shared a passion for the sea and it was this knowledge of the ocean that allowed the design duo to grow the studio into the successful business

“I think we’re good at what we do because we’re passionate about what we do. We treat each new project with fresh eyes as if it were our first and never allow ourselves to become disillusioned or cynical,” says Carlo Nuvolari. “A crucial aspect of all our projects has been the fact that both of us grew up sailing. I’ve always found it bizarre that there are a lot of people in this industry, from designers to builders, who don’t go boating or have a relationship with the sea. That to me seems fundamental if you want to design or build yachts.”

The design duo got their big break courtesy of Palmer Johnson’s Mike Kelsey Sr. This impromptu meeting led to Nuvolari Lenard’s first major work’ creating the exterior and interior of the 59.5 metre La Baronessa (later Pearl). Delivered in 1998, she is still the largest all-aluminum yacht built in the U.S. Over the years, not only did they design superyachts such as Alfa Nero, Vibrant Curiosity, Lady M, Quattroelle and Atlante, but also sailing yachts such as Perini Navi’s Spirit of the C’s and Oceanco’s Black Pearl.

Uniquely for a design studio, Nuvolari Lenard firmly believe in nurturing young design talent. Nuvolari and Lenard as well as studio partner Valentina Zannier, are active speakers at yachting events and have even set up a Masters course in Yacht Design at the Luav University of Architecture in Venice.

“Dealing with young people who are still free of contract terms, delivery times and technical specifications is incredibly rewarding and reminds us that design must be a free activity linked to originality, imagination and innovation,” says Lenard. “Our interaction with these students is all about forgetting about business and getting back to the fundamentals.”

Apart from the University of Venice, Nuvolari Lenard also maintains links with the Politecnico di Milano, Coventry University and the Luiss University of Rome. In fact, Nuvolari accompanied a group of Luiss students to the 2022 Dubai International Boat Show in March.

“Our Firm has always been very active involving young people and students in the design process”, explains Zannier, “both at university’s masters and internship. We believe young generations must have a deep understanding about how creativity and functionality meet in a yacht and how these two principles are essential.”  Nuvolari added: “After 30 years of activity it would be a shame to keep our accumulated experience in a drawer and not share it with a younger audience.”

With such as varied client book, work for the studio is constant. Most recently, the keel laying ceremony for the Nuvolari-Lenard designed Project NL373, a 65 metre CRN took place, a sporty superyacht with classic Italian flair.

“We tried to best interpret the elegant taste desired by the Owner,” says Lenard. “For now, we can only say that it will fully embody the values of ‘Made in Italy’ through the expression of Italian quality”.