The afternoon of Day two at SuperyachtDESIGN Week got off to a rather different start to Day one, although the high standards of refreshment and networking were maintained throughout the recess. During the lunch break three top superyacht designers; Rob Doyle, Steve Gresham and Greg Marshal took part in a charity ‘Designer Draw-Off’.
In front of a captivated audience the three designers took on the challenge of creating a work of art using the three main themes of SYDW as their inspirations — they would have only an hour to do it. The resulting works varied greatly as each designer approached the problem from a unique perspective. Focussing on smart engineering, Gresham produced a superyacht with a helipad/garage and “added a submarine and large glass panels for good measure."
Marshall opted for Planetary Protection as his starting point and wanted to create a boat without an engine room, using this valuable space for accommodation instead. Doyle’s work focussed on classic design interspersed with contemporary techniques such as a photosensitive material that covered an exoskeleton and allowed energy through but still kept you shaded. All the works will be sold at a charity auction.
Nurturing talent is a perennial topic for the superyacht industry, and as such, this year the designers of tomorrow have been invited to SuperyachtDESIGN Week at a discounted rate, so that they can mingle with today's luminaries in the hope that a transitional bond is established. In line with this succession planning, the Royal College of Art's Matteo Conti and Redman Whiteley Dixon's Charlie Baker led a session for the attendant graduates examining this concept. The discussion largely focussed around entry into the market, how does one translate education, passion and talent into success in a niche industry? "Events like this and the Monaco Yacht Show are the way forward for graduates", commented Baker who was in a similar position not all that long ago.
"Change is constant, if we don't adapt, we won't survive," announced Josef Hargrave of Arup, the independent German firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists that specialises in strategy and innovation for future built environments. The Living Green workshop held at the J. Robert Scott showroom focussed on sustainable technology and the need for regulation to keep up to speed. Hargrave’s colleague, Martin Pauli, addressed the delegates and showcased a bioreactor façade — the first façade in the world that cultivates micro-algae in order to generate heat and biomass.
Away from sustainability and the green agenda the ‘Commercial Value’ workshop discussed not what we can learn from nature or new technologies, but what we can learn from an industry that shares so much in common with our own and why we don’t capitalise on this. "The cost driver for superyachts is mainly because everything is tailor made and constructed to a much higher finish than in the commercial industry," explained Fredrik Johansson of Tillberg Design in his summary. "The reason why the industry can't pre-fabricate is because owners want something unique, which is costly and takes time."
The fourth instalment of Meet the Designer saw Martin Francis, a man who requires no introduction, fielding questions from an enthusiastic audience and sharing information about his most famous projects. Revealing hitherto unseen images of Echo, taken recently to celebrate her 25th anniversary, Francis shared his love of the unique design and why she remains one of his favourite projects. “If you look at my peers and even those who have worked for me, they’ve done maybe five or 10 times the amount of yachts I’ve done. And maybe it’s because I’m not great at self promotion or something!” Francis joked with the audience.
The day was rounded off with a keynote speech from Johannes Torpe, founder of his eponymous Danish design studio and the first creative director of Bang & Olufsen. So entertaining and insightful was Torpe, taking the delegates on a journey through his childhood and design growth, his keynote has been hailed as one of the best to ever grace SYDW. Torpe’s session was full of energy, ideas and laughter as he challenged the audience’s perception of what makes good design and explained his desire to change the nature of user experiences within spaces by breaking boundaries, taking risks and making magic.
“If you do something that truly impresses people, they will buy it,” he stressed. “It becomes about the way people interact with a brand.” As a result of the Bang & Olufsen stores, stores that Torpe himself commanded a significant role in changing, a Chinese client came to him and said “I want magic in my house”.
Click here to read highlights from day three.