Who is Ivo Enrico Poluzzi

Article courtesy of James Nichols

One of Italy’s leading architects has recently taken up residence in Sydney, Australia. Already, Ivo Enrico Poluzzi is starting to make waves on the southern hemisphere scene. This is no easy matter when mid-career one needs to lay down new roots and establish new contacts. Poluzzi though is a man of the world, completely at home in his native Modena where he previously had his studio, Venice where he studied architecture, and now Sydney where his wife Yvonne works for Lamborghini, the Italian supercar manufacturer.


Perhaps it is because he has crossed so many seas, whether designing a villa for uber wealthy clients, or the façade of the Regent Hotel in New York that in more recent times, Poluzzi has turned his attention to the nautical world and yacht design. This traditional man is not one to throw the baby out with the bath-water though. His work, whilst thoroughly modern, contains many elements of architectural convention and the traditions of the past. He creates work that he dreams of creating and endeavours to, “Let my imagination soar and see a pencil stroke or model translated into an object that works, that rewards the viewer, its users and its designer.”

Poluzzi is still a sketcher of ideas and scribbler on the back of a scrap of paper wherever he may be. Of course, today, much of his work, as with any architect is done on the computer, but Poluzzi is never without something on his body to jot down an idea or record something that sparks his imagination and be the inspiration of his commissions.

These commissions are many fold and various, as befits any Italian artisan who can turn his hand to many things and bring many different ideas to life. One only need to think of an architect like Gio Ponti, an artist such as Marino Marini or car designer Flavio Manzoni of Ferrari to see the broadness of culture and variety of ideas and projects by which an Italian is inspired. Poluzzi, Italian to the core, is no exception. Commissions have included the renovation and refit of an early 20th Century Italian period villa; contemporary residential villas and garden landscaping on the shores of Lago di Garda; ski chalets in Madonna di Campiglio; a new customised layout and interior design for a private country-club residence; and one of the most ambitious, the enormous project undertaking a new residential villa complex in the Appenine Mountains in Italy. Here Poluzzi, creating a brand-new villa, conceived the idea for a building that appeared to have evolved over the course of a long period of time and which took note of the vernacular architecture. Local materials were of course utilised with the building incorporating the tower motif so prevalent in the historic buildings of the local area. The result, an homogeneous outcome incorporating various local styles that looks to have grown organically over a period of time whilst in fact being a brand new build.

His work having conquered all differing topographical elements, in recent years Poluzzi’s oeuvre has moved more towards the stylish and sophisticated interiors of yacht design. His first project was the 36 metre Seawish and unsurprisingly in this field he cites John Bannenburg as an influence. Bannenburg (1929 – 2002), born in Australia, spent most of his working life in the UK and is oft considered as one of the founders of modern yacht design. Another big influence on Poluzzi’s marine work is the lesser known, but no less influential Giorgio Barilani. Barilani was described by the recently deceased Carlo Riva as “mano d’oro” (golden hand) and from 1957 he was engaged by Riva to design many of the details and fixtures of his boats synonymous with la dolce vita. Barilani in the 1970s was responsible for providing Riva with a new look in a new age of new materials such as fibreglass. His 42 foot Super America of 1972 and the St Tropez of 1976 perhaps being his masterpeices.

It is these masterpieces combining classic design with new interpretations that can be seen echoing in the work of Poluzzi. As he himself says, “The beauty and elegance of a design are not linked to a moment or a fashion, but to the harmony of its lines.”

And, so it is with his latest project, literally, just launched. One of Poluzzi’s precepts is to get to know his client well, “When I study a design, I like to know the client so that I can activate a transfer to understand his wishes.” For reasons of privacy we cannot name the owner or the vessel, but the task was to completely redesign the interior of a yacht on the Gold Coast which was being extended from 36 metres to 42 metres. After several meetings, the brief was established and work commenced on totally revamping the main deck saloon, along with the multifunctional Sky Lounge on the upper deck, useful for informal drinks, a little space for the owner’s gym, and a mirror wall with its large hidden screen. Also completely renewed were the entire new owner’s night areas (organized and connected on two levels) with the main owner’s bedroom, including its Studio/Office and a corner with a pair of armchairs for relaxing reading; the family bedroom with new en-suite marble bathrooms. It was a  totally renovated layout throughout with bespoke fittings, and cabinetry. All the original doors were redesigned and new lighting also installed. Last, but not least, new ceiling designs, with new fabrics and Alcantara leather panels, most notably in the Sky Lounge star shaped ceiling, were also established; this continued in the Saloon with a large new custom lampshade surrounded by LED spots recessed in a big timber circular frame, above the circular dining table. Other areas which were also restyled were the kitchen and four double guest rooms and bathrooms.

The final result, an interior that Messrs Bannenburg and Barilani would approve of, which showcases the new Australian owner’s Australian heritage, and of which Ivo Enrico Poluzzi can be proud.