Son of legendary yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, Dickie Bannenberg together with business partner Simon Rowell head London-based studio Bannenberg & Rowell Design. With a long line of projects under its belt, the studio continues to produce award-winning designs, with eight projects underway across Heesen, Feadship and Palmer Johnson. Projects by the English studio include Galactica Star, Aurelia and Lady Petra and Dream, which won the ‘Best Refit 2014’ at the ISS Design Awards. Here Dickie comments on the next generation of designers and the importance of experience. 


Dickie Bannenberg

How much time do you invest in researching new technologies and materials?
We are always on the lookout for new materials and invite people to show us new pieces that we could potentially use in our designs. We have a couple of big A/V driven projects on at the moment, on the back of which I learn more than is healthy! When it is all said and done though I am most interested in interior finish and materials.

What aspect of yacht design do you enjoy the most and why?
I have a global and overarching overview of the studio, with Simon leading the creative side. I’ve always said that my role and remit is to ensure that what comes out of the studio is a Bannenberg & Rowell Design. This overarching picture is one side and then on the other I have to say that I get weirdly obsessed with the typography of names when they go up on boats and that kind of detail is important.


Bannenberg at SuperyachtDESIGN Week

What is your biggest concern with the next generation of designers who are entering into the market under their own name?

Simon and I were talking about this topic this morning, particularly the timescales of young designers breaching out on their own and when is the best time. Simon pointed out that he has been part of the team here for 9 or 10 years but in the broader scheme of things, he was identifying how you have to have patience. You can't expect to rock up and produce something notable and famous after a period of a few years, it takes a long time. I would say you need 15 years at least under your belt before thinking about branching out on your own.

What are your views on free pitching and creating designs for little or no fee?
We've created exterior designs for a few people such as Lürssen, Abeking & Rasmussen, Oceanco and Benetti, and we've done these happily within certain perimeters. Sometimes you are doing something bespoke for them and other times you are part of a bigger group that has been enticed in to produce something new such as the Benetti exercise that took place a year or two ago. That is part and parcel of what goes on and it is a less comfortable area but it is a sort of necessary evil and these beauty parades, or dog shows as Simon likes to call them, are increasing in frequency. We are typically finding that three designers, for example, are being put forward for a particular project by the broker or owner's representative, and in an ideal world you wouldn't be doing that, or you certainly wouldn't be doing it for free. It is tricky though, especially with the increasing number of new designers on the block.