Last year saw the launch of SuperyachtDESIGN Week, which brought together the world’s most influential and innovative designers and suppliers in the superyacht industry. The event has returned again this year with a packed programme and speakers that are at the top of their game. Over the next three days, we will report on the key aspects of each session and breakout brainstorms and artisan activities.

With the domes of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour buzzing with activity and excitement, the first morning of SuperyachtDESIGN Week 2014 got underway with an insightful opening keynote speech by Ernesto Ortiz Rincon and Tatjana Janine Schiele from the European Institute of Yacht Design.

This first session raised the importance of the next generation and in bridging the gap between academia and the business side of the industry. "We are here to share information and to help improve awareness of yacht design," said Rincon. "We can learn and benefit more if we work together, as each new project reveals something new that could better the industry."

Some members of the audience struggled to understand what the European Institute of Yacht Design are trying to achieve but could appreciate the need for an organisation to bridge the gap between flag states and regulatory bodies. The conclusion of the session highlighted the need for the institute to engage more with the yacht design community and to evaluate how it can better serve the market.

Watch an interview with Rincon and Schiele following their presentation by clicking here.

Founder and designer of furniture studio Gosling, Tim Gosling presented some of the latest pieces to come from the studio, including the Folding Lounge Chair from the Gosling Marine collection. Gosling also presented two carpet samples produced by The Rug Company. The pieces were both designed by the British designer and inspired by BBC radio waves and Art Deco buildings.

It was standing only for many who attended the much anticipated Materials breakout room, hosted by James O'Callaghan of Eckersley O'Callaghan. Whilst a very busy breakout, O'Callaghan educated attendees on his experience with glass and how it's improved over the years; however, the intimate set up meant the floor was open for questions providing a rare one-on-one discussion for those looking for answers. As O'Callaghan commented, “Glass has seen incredible improvements in recent years, likely because historically, general innovation is greater during a recession". O'Callaghan challenged those in attendance when he posed the question, “As designers, do you have the time and budget to explore and research new innovations in material?" Resoundingly, more of such things is needed and surely a topic to be explored further over the next three days.

John Leonida and Margaret Tofalides lead the legality breakout room

In Interior Supply, Poltrona Frau representative Kevin Craig walked visitors through the different types of leather produced by the Italian manufacturer. He discussed the various tanning methods that are applied, the effect each one has and the best applications for each leather. All the collections were on show and can be seen throughout the week at Interior Supply's showroom.

"Designers are bad at acknowledging that what they do is valuable”; John Leonida and Margaret Tofalides lead a discussion on the implications of design registration. It was noted that while designers are enthusiastic about sharing their designs this can lead to the hindrance of registration later on, and therefore restrict the commerciability of a design. It was stressed that owners need to be aware that when they employ a designer they do not then own what has been created for them. This is why protecting the design is an important aspect of the process and that with 3D designs on the rise the need to register them is essential to protecting them from being copied. As Leonida put it, “Owners think they can come into your restaurant and eat your food for free".

In the breakout session lead by Rob Doyle and Matteo Conti of the Royal College of Art at the Dedar showroom, the issue of the next generation of yacht designers was explored with a room full of delegates that included representatives from the likes of Abeking & Rasmussen, Awlgrip, BYD, ICON Yachts and Van Geest Design. With the discussion revolving around how new graduates can get their foot in the door, what skills they could be better equipped with and how to make their mark on the industry, Conti raised the interesting question of whether graduates would be wise to take placements within other areas of the industry, specifically brokerage, in order to better understand the industry and its clients: "Perhaps design students and graduates could benefit from experience with brokers" he suggested.

"Brokers understand selling, they are good at working out what clients want," agreed Doyle, who stressed that designers could perhaps learn more about marketing themselves and their designs better, as well as educating themselves on how to get what clients want quicker. "Clients are good at telling you what they don't want but not so good at what they do like." One delegate went further to suggest that design graduates could benefit from a stint at a shipyard to better see how their design works in the larger picture. "Their success as a designer relies on their creativity but also on negotiating with the other parties in the process," he pointed out, emphasising that there is nowhere better than a shipyard to see design as it works from the ground up.

A room full of delegates considers the next generation of yacht designers

We would like to thank our sponsors for this event: Gold Level: Awlgrip, Blohm+Voss; Silver: Clyde & Co, Jonathan Fawcett and Kevin Glancy; and Bronze: AIM Yacht Interiors, Decored, Heirlooms, MyYachtMyMusic and OceanLED.