30-40m design studios
The Superyacht Agency analyses the most prolific 30-40m design studios of the last 10 years…
While large custom projects receive more than their fair share headlines, the 30-40m market remains the beating heart of the superyacht industry. This unique segment acts as both a feeder market for world’s semi-custom and custom manufacturers, as well as being the end goal for many UHNWIs and superyacht owners. When considering large custom vessels, much of the discourse focusses on the originality of design. However, given that the designs are created to suit the specific needs of a particular client, working to an extremely detailed and bespoke specification, it could be argued that the work of a production designer, given the need for far reaching appeal with less specific input, is in some ways more challenging. Herein we explore the numbers, provided by The Superyacht Agency, and highlight the most prolific 30-40m superyacht designer studios of the last 10 years. Please note, the analysis does not explore the prevalence of in-house teams.
In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, the 30-40m market was hit harder than any other size sector and this is reflected in the decline in the number of unique exterior and interior designers employed across the declining number of active shipyards highlighted in in figure 1. Indeed, since 2010, the number of active shipyards in this sector has nearly halved, which is reflected in the declining unique exterior and interior builders which dropped by 44.6 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
While the percentage decreases between both exterior and interior design are relatively similar, that the number of interior designers employed across the 30-40m fleet is now higher than the number of exterior designers may be an indication of how the usage of superyachts is changing and how the flexibility and perceived individuality of interior spaces is now at the forefront of shipyard and client minds. Regardless, the steep decline in active design studios in this market segment aptly highlights just how competitive this market is.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the exterior design studios that have dominated the 30-40m sector over the last decade are Italian, thanks in large to dominance of the Italian shipyards in this size sector. That being said, one must not overlook the excellence of the work produced by the Italian studios, which still has a great deal of international allure and prestige. It would be naive in the extreme to assume that the success of these studios has more to do with proximity than quality. Indeed, the wider market owes much to the success of these studios given their importance when it comes to introducing clients to the market and its possibilities.
Across the five most prolific exterior designers of the last 10 years, a number of the usual shipyards in this size category are represented, including Sanlorenzo, Azimut and a number of the Ferretti Group shipyards. The US shipyards Westport and Christensen are represented across Taylor Olson and Evan K. Marshall respectively, with Marshall also representing the designs of Ocean Alexander in Taiwan. Interestingly, Benetti is not represented, which suggests that within the 30-40m range, the shipyard handles much of its own design work. The same can be said of many of the other prolific yards at this size range, such as Sunseeker and Princess.
In terms of interior design studios, the image is much the same with the four most prolific design studios all coming from Italy, with Evan K. Marshall taking the other top spot by dint of his studios work with Ocean Alexander and Christensen. Perhaps of most interest is the addition of Nauta Design to the list. While on the outside it may look like the unsurprising addition of another Italian studio, that Nauta has worked with seven shipyards to account for its 26 projects over the last 10 years is telling.
With more than double the number of shipyard partners than any of other studios, as well as Nauta’s experience with working with large custom projects, it speaks to how the production market is increasingly looking to emulate the look and feel of the semi-custom and custom markets. Furthermore, having worked across studios like Moonen, Nauta is also a bastion of the beleaguered – but returning – custom 30-40m market.
With the custom end of the market often stealing the headlines, both in the yachting and mainstream media, the market would do well to remember the importance of an active and evolving 30-40m sector. Without this sector firing on all cylinders and adapting to the needs of today’s clients, the market at large would suffer. Much is owed to those design studios that continue to stimulate this market and develop projects that appeal to a broad spectrum of ownership demographics.
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