As a market, we’re extremely lucky that so many designers are willing to push the boundaries in order to introduce something new and different, which is essentially what innovation is all about. But, should there be a line between serious superyacht design and projects that are primarily investigative in their purpose?
While it’s important to toy with ideas and speculate over the desires of ‘tomorrow’s owner’, there is a risk the more far-fetched ideas could have an adverse effect on the designers that produce them, and more broadly speaking, even give false representations of what is actually feasible.
Although, from a feasibility standpoint, as Alex Meredith Hardy, naval architect at BMT Nigel Gee explained in a recent discussion about materialising superyacht concepts, “the only thing that cannot be changed are the laws of physics; barriers such as regulatory compliance, established engineering, construction practices and industry-specific limitations can all be challenged.”
There is no doubt that this is an exciting position to be in as a designer, but my fears are that, by trying to innovate and create something new, the forms upon which the superyacht industry was built, are brushed aside in favour of differentiation or being pinpointed as ‘out-there’.
The trends that we are seeing more and more of within the futuristic sphere of conceptual superyacht design, are these sharp and offset angles, usually described as ‘aggressive’, that tend to go hand-in-hand with any attempt at ‘innovation’. But surely this isn’t innovation if everyone’s doing it?
It’s great to be presented with new concepts regularly, and the fact that so many designers are willing to set aside their paid work to create a new concept is fantastic. But, with this influx of ‘innovation’, even the most far-fetched ideas run the risk of falling into an archive of ‘futuristic’ superyacht designs, dismissed and replaced by well-designed and stylish concepts that whet the appetite of today’s owner, rather than tomorrow’s.
I’m left wondering if we’re getting preoccupied with creating something ‘cutting-edge’, to the point where we lose sight of more traditional superyacht design values - finding the essential aspects of style and proportion in superyacht design.