During the 2018 London Boat Show (LBS), Superyacht UK’s annual Young Designer Competition, in partnership with Olesinski and Pendennis Shipyard, took place. Here, 10 university students were tasked to transform a 52.12m ex-navy vessel, Ocean Star, into a bespoke superyacht, proving their creativity, knowledge, scaling and engineering capabilities. Christopher Mobley, a transport design student from Staffordshire University, was crowned the winner, followed by Ashely Scott, a product design student from the University of Plymouth.
This annual competition is the only one of its kind in the UK and run by industry body Superyacht UK, an association of British Marine. It offers gravitas to the work of young designers and often aids their entry to the market. With experience ranging from transport to product design, the 10 candidates were presented with a clear refit brief and asked to complete their work with a presentation to the panel, consisting of world-renowned designers and shipyards, including Chairman of Superyacht UK, Peter Brown from Burgess; Stephen Hills from Pendennis Shipyard; Justin Olesinski from Olesinski; Tony Dixon from RWD; Bill Dixon from Dixon Yacht Design; Dimitris Hadjidimos from D-iD Ltd.; and former Superyacht UK Young Designer 2016 winner, Dastinas Steponenas.
“This year’s quite different. Previously the brief has been very open-ended,” says judge, Justin Olesinski. “The market is refit now, as there are so many refits in the world, so we’ve given them an actual boat and the brief is to make it look good for the client and to be in line with what he enjoys doing. We’ve also given them photographs of the brief as well, so it’s far more structured than previous years and we have given them a good basis to work.”
According to the judges, the competition was extremely close between the winner and the runner-up, both of whom had a clear understanding of the brief. “Both Christopher and Ashley’s designs were sympathetic to the DNA of the original vessel whilst still coming up with innovative designs, truly encompassing the character of the brief,” says Peter Brown, Chairman of Superyacht UK. “Huge congratulations to both Christopher and Ashley; their accolades are well-deserved.”
The basis of the competition is to seek out the skills and talent that are essential in superyacht design, as well as a talent hunting exercise for the judges .“The superyacht industry needs ideas and it needs creativity that will excite clients,” says Stephen Hills of Pendennis. “In the competition, we were looking for something that has an extra wow factor, and a novel idea that perhaps other people haven’t thought of - and ways of exciting people with what they have come up with and they need to communicate that clearly.”
Winner, Christopher Mobley has won a four-week internship at Pendennis, and runner-up Ashley Scott has secured himself a two-week internship at Olesinnski. “During the internship, we try and use their design talent to an extent, and provide them with a practical understanding of how designs get converted into production,” says Hills. “So, it would give them a bit of appreciation of how this works. It will give them a practical understanding of turning a design into reality.”
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