Day one at SuperyachtDESIGN Week 2015 got off to the start everyone had hoped for. Once the coffee had been drank and acquaintances old and new had been made, David Nelson, co-head of Foster + Partners, set the tone with a keynote presentation on ‘Distractions’ — and their merits.
"There is always something to learn from distractions," started Nelson. For Nelson, a "distraction" can be anything from taking on an unusual project as a designer to a superyacht itself. Whether it be initial experiments with 3D printing leading to the habitual use of 3D printers, or investigating "printing" structures on the moon, or even Fosters + Partners' first yacht project leading to new ways of looking at its other projects, what begin as "distractions" almost always result in knowledge.
Following the opening keynote speech delegates were taken on a guided tour around Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, stopping at choice Artisan and Innovator showcases to listen talks about the products, processes and companies on show. Two such showcases were presented by bespoke decorative glasswork favourites Crystal Caviar and superyacht interior wood specialists Oldenburger.
Once the delegates had had time to stretch their legs and soak in all that the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour had to offer, the doors were opened to a number of interactive workshops ranging in topic from the legality of intellectual property to the dawning of the 3D printing era. SuperyachtDESIGN Week's legal think tank opened with the iteration that copyright, trademarks and design rights lie with designers and all those involved in the build process. Registering a design affords the designer certain rights, but as the panel warned time limits are applicable to designs that are well established in the public consciousness.
Tim Gosling of Gosling Marine led a discussion titled ‘Material Innovations’. 3D printing meets DNA'. Not an altogether obvious topic for the yachting industry, but Gosling told an animated audience just how the DNA-like structures necessary for 3D printing have the possibility to revolutionise the design industry. Designers are staring down the barrel of a design world defined by radically different principles and possibilities.
Returning to SuperyachtDESIGN Week this year was Terence Disdale, who shared his 40-year career in front of a packed audience in J. Robert Scott’s showroom. In this interactive workshop, Disdale touched on numerous aspects of the designer’s role from researching the latest materials, finishes and technologies such as 3D printing, to how the design community has changed since he founded Terence Disdale Design.
“Today there might be 50 yacht designers in this room but in 1969, when I worked for Jon Bannenberg, there wasn’t 50 in the world,” said Disdale, whose first project was a 36ft boat. “Designers today have so much reference material to call upon but in Bannenberg’s day, there were no such references — it all came out of Jon’s head.”
The use of construction materials is always evolving so what can the superyacht industry learn from this? This is the question Hans Koome from AkzoNobel asked the room of delegates in the session on 'Material Innovation' at Summit Furniture. Drawing on his experience from the aerospace cabin and consumer electronics realms, Koome highlighted the overlap between industries and the potential to learn from one another. Koome compared the superyacht industry to the aeronautical industry, saying both are conservative markets. "There are stringent regulations that need to be taken into account," he stressed.
Click here to read highlights from the afternoon of day one.