- Fleet - A new era of crossover design

By Dario Schiavo

A new era of crossover design

Interview with Michele Dragoni of Dragoni Design Lab about future trends in the market…

Michele Dragoni, founder, Dragoni Design Lab

Shipyards at full capacity until 2026-2027, record sales, new shipyards opening, but where is the market going? What is it demanding? Italy Editor Dario Schiavo speaks with Michele Dragoni, founder of Dragoni Design Lab, a design studio specialising in both exterior and interior yacht design, about where the market is heading ...

In the market today a yard with limited building capacity, that can therefore only build a small number of yachts, does not have the same access to resources as large yards so it has longer lead times. Large yards have greater purchasing potential for the procurement of materials and so enjoy clear competitive advantages over yards with limited production numbers.

“What is happening today is related to the timing of delivery. If an owner orders a custom yacht today, construction sites would only start taking it over in a year’s time. The main problem is related to product supplies, wood in general and teak in particular,” says Dragoni.

It is well known that the ranges of the biggest Italian shipyards such as Sanlorenzo, Ferretti and Benetti cover mainly series products. Also, for yachts between 27 and 35 metres, there are difficulties in finding available build slots.

“This is why I see the series product as more commercially successful, because construction times are obviously shorter and more competitive, especially for boats moulded in fibreglass. In my opinion, the quality of series products is rising; just look at the yacht divisions of the major yards that are aiming for a higher level of customisation. Some yards even offer four layouts with four different styles, precisely to meet the many requests from owners.”

Rendering of 29-metre crossover yacht Orion, conceived by Dragoni Design Lab and presented by Lynx Yachts 

We are witnessing a historical period in which the mass-produced product is whetting the appetites of the custom customer, especially due to the timing of the boat’s delivery. Therefore, “I foresee less development for small yards specialising in custom products up to 45 metres,” says Dragoni.

For all the above reasons, the market is rewarding the use of fibreglass to a greater extent: “I would say that up to 30 metres, fibreglass is in the lead precisely because of the supply problem. In the beginning, some customers come with a request for a metal boat, but then they choose the quicker and easier route of fibreglass.”

As far as the market is concerned, Dragoni says, “I notice that some ‘hysterical’ trends have come to an end. I’m referring to a number of common features, such as open decks and terraces, which have reached a saturation point, I would say fortunately. Now the market is looking for more personal, sophisticated designs than before, when the design revolved around solutions. On the other hand, form is catching up and imposing itself more among the stylistic choices. The bar is being raised on the quality of design, so there is more sensitivity to the stylistic approach of the boat.

“If we take a look at what the market has to offer, we see a trend towards ‘crossovers’: the various types are mixing together – a phenomenon we have already observed in the automotive industry. It is almost impossible to define exactly to which type a car or boat belongs any more. This trend, however, turns out to be in favour of design, which loses the imposition of stylistic features dictated by the market and customer demands and ensures a diversification of ranges that leads straight to the concept of pure design.”

The supply problem is changing the market by giving a greater share to mass-produced products with fibreglass hulls built by yards with higher volumes. Even owners who initially opted for custom metal boats are now seeing contracts signed for production boats with a very high level of customisation and short delivery times.

Profile links

Ferretti SpA



Lynx Yachts

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