As many of you will know, the summer heralds The Superyacht Design Forum, but what you may not know is that this year’s edition will take place 12th-14th May. And following feedback gleaned from a series of closed sessions with leading designers and key industry stakeholders, we know it is time to reimagine certain elements of the event, and make it the best it possibly can be. 

The message is clear – the market doesn’t want the same old subject matter and the same old formats, it wants networking and it wants a programme that is educational but different.

Gathering at the Design Club at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, we sat down for the first of our round table discussions to discover what will make the 2020 edition of The Superyacht Design Forum our most exciting event to date.

“When you go away these days, you want [key] takeaways and something that we can use,” begins Justin Olesinski, principal of Olesinski. “We want to feel inspired and understand what is really going on in the market.”

Right from the off, we are laying down a mission - to provide delegates with a clearer understanding of the market than when they stepped foot inside those domes. The feedback clearly shows that it is critical for us to provide real, and I mean real, market insight for those attending The Superyacht Design Forum in May this year.

Our first task is therefore to provide insight and illumination, but on subject matters which are relevant and interesting to those in attendance. In response, we have set out to collect data prior to the event that will showcase how superyacht designers are performing  within the current market paradigm. By issuing pre-event delegate questionnaires, we will formulate a candid overview of what the market really thinks and really understands about the sector they operate in and the people they work with and for.

“This would be so much more interesting to see that than those endless snapshots on the number of deliveries there are this year and length of yacht delivered; everyone has been stated to death,” says Dickie Bannenberg. “It would be much more interesting to do something that is ‘day to day’.”

In response, we are exploring the practicalities of the marketplace - discovering what software designers are using, how designers power their offices or how they manbage cashflow. Our aim for The Superyacht Design Forum is to expose how people are really operating their business in today’s marketplace.

But it’s not just about discovering what the market is already doing; a core component of The Superyacht Design Forum will focus on what can we do to make a difference. “It’s important to come away from that and feel that there is something that you as an individual can actually do that is practical - that makes a difference,” says Fiona Diamond. “I would like to be given an actual guideline rather than thinking that it’s up to the shipyards and the big corporations.”

The majority of the superyacht industry is made up of small businesses, and the feedback from these round table sessions, means that we need to focus on subjects that can be effectively applied to small businesses. While it’s important to showcase the incredible things that large companies are doing for the environment, for example, we also want to highlight what small companies should be doing to help the cause.

But this isn’t just an environmental focus. Based on industry feedback, we want to give delegates the tools to improve their businesses, and the work they do in this industry, and we believe that this is done, not by putting designers on stage, but from a series of inspiring talks from outside the industry.

The sessions have been conceived to deliver practical knowledge and learning that can be used to improve efficiency and business development in the real world.

“I want it to feel like a community”, says Wayne Parker, “and have the opportunity to sit and talk with my peers”, which is why we have focused on the social and networking side of the event to an even greater degree in 2020. By spreading the event over three days, we have created a number of new social opportunities which will bring the sense of community that delegates are after, without compromising on the quality of our programming.

Focusing on a range of fascinating subject matters in Planet Superyacht, from the psychology of design and how people react to it, to understanding what clients want, how to better engage with, market to or sell to clients at both ends (owners and shipyards), or improving workflow and output through new design tools, the sessions have been conceived to deliver practical knowledge and learning that can be used to improve efficiency and business development in the real world.

I am so incredibly excited to bring the 2020 edition of The Superyacht Design Forum to you. We have listened to what you want and have responded, putting on an event that is truly helpful, interesting and worth attending. We are working to pour energy into the newly-unveiled domes of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour to deliver an event which is truly exciting and inspirational.

Register here to secure your place at The Superyacht Design Forum 2020

Profile links

Bannenberg & Rowell Design

Olesinski Limited

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour


If you have enjoyed reading this article, you’ll love our upcoming event, The Superyacht Design Forum, taking place on 12 - 14 May 2020 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. The Superyacht Design Forum provides anyone in the superyacht design world with a unique opportunity to explore new thinking and share smarter solutions for the future of superyachts. To find out more or to register, click here.