- Fleet - Brainstorming the Simply Custom concept

By SuperyachtNews

Brainstorming the Simply Custom concept

Oceanco invited 15 studios to submit designs on a set platform – how does a top designer such as Winch approach innovation and expression?

 Rendering of Winch’s exterior design for Project Reverie

Business is flourishing for the industry’s top shipyards. The delivery numbers in 2023 for 30-metre-plus superyachts reached levels not seen since 2010. This trend is mirrored in the figures for 60-metre-plus custom yachts, with total deliveries reaching their highest point since 2011.

However, with only a limited number of yards operating in this space, the lead times for these larger, and often fully custom, superyachts are stretching towards the next decade. The man-hour intensity of these projects extends well beyond the shipyards, and with supply-chain issues and labour shortages still prevalent, bringing these dream projects to fruition on time presents a significant challenge. Transforming a vision from pencil to slipway takes years.

The semi-custom approach is gaining traction, partly as a response to these challenges. Far from being perceived negatively, many designers and shipyards embrace this process as a means of delivering a high-end product while tackling some of the factors that contribute to extended lead times. The reality is that there isn’t always significant variance between the naval architecture of many large yachts, and designing around a defined and well-tested platform streamlines the process.

One of the most prominent forays into the semi-custom model is Oceanco’s Simply Custom initiative, where 15 design studios were invited to submit designs based on a set platform. With most of these submissions now showcased in the press, Jim Dixon, director of yachts & aviation at Winch Design, gave us his insight about the company’s striking concept Project Reverie.

Oceanco’s Simply Custom initiative collaborates with a notable array of renowned design studios, demonstrating a commitment to diversity in design and innovation. Among those mentioned are Bozca Limitless Design, Espen Øino International, H2 Yacht Design, Harrison Eidsgaard, Hot Lab, Lobanov Design, Nuvolari Lenard, Pascoli International, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design, Sorgiovanni Designs, Taylor Design, Team For Design – Enrico Gobbi, The A Group, Touch Studio, Vallicelli Design and, of course, Winch Design.

According to Dixon, Winch Design’s strategy for innovation within the Simply Custom framework, and to stand out from this impressive gallery of design talent, focuses on deep market analysis and client needs, recognising the evolving ways clients utilise yacht spaces.

“The essence here is our commitment to a design philosophy that shuns a ‘house style’, opting instead for a reflection of the client’s personality and desires,” says Dixon. “Each project, such as Project Reverie, is treated as a unique undertaking, showcasing Winch Design’s dedication to creativity and problem-solving in the face of unprecedented design challenges.”

Winch is well placed to take up this challenge, having worked extensively within a similar framework with another top Dutch shipyard, Damen Yachting. Dixon feels that Winch’s approach is illustrated in its diverse design contributions to the Amels semi-custom fleet, emphasising customisation and individuality.

Dixon explains, “If you look at the number of different interiors we have designed across the Amels semi-custom fleet, for example, you will see that each interior is completely unique to the individual client and covers a range of different interior styles. In the Amels 242 Limited Edition Series, we designed the interior for Synthesis, Avanti and M&Em, and we are currently working on hull number eight. We have also worked across a number of the Amels 60 Limited Edition Series.

“The way clients use space on a yacht is evolving, and our latest concept with Oceanco explores a unique layout that blurs exterior/interior spaces, offering more flexibility to suit the lifestyle of a dynamic owner.”

According to Oceanco, its Simply Custom technical foundation serves as a blank canvas, offering designers the flexibility to create an Oceanco yacht with distinctive character while adhering to a highly optimised and efficient hull design developed in collaboration with Lateral Naval Architects.

This foundation includes a future-proof all-electric propulsion and energy system, alongside a layout that accommodates the foundational features of a superyacht. The typical configuration provided by Oceanco’s Simply Custom platform, which adheres to the Red Ensign Group Large Yacht Code Part A Regulatory Compliance, includes an owner’s stateroom and six guest suites.

For Project Reverie, this is complemented by luxury amenities such as a forward helideck, a main deck aft pool, a beach club and a dedicated storage room for electric toys that could include items such as e-bikes, underwater scooters or electric surfboards.

“The design introduces a novel three-deck beach and wellness concept, enhancing the connection to the sea and promoting sustainable living by integrating spaces that reduce reliance on air conditioning.”

Rendering of Winch’s beach house design

With the other design submissions now publicly available, the natural next question is how Dixon sees it in comparison to the rest of the field. 

Project Reverie distinguishes itself through its inspiration from the beauty of daydreams and nature, achieving a harmonious blend of sleek lines and simplicity that exudes elegance,” says Dixon. “The design blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living, aligning with the dynamic lifestyle of today’s yacht owners. It introduces a novel three-deck beach and wellness concept, enhancing the connection to the sea and promoting sustainable living by integrating spaces that reduce reliance on air conditioning.

“The semi-enclosed main deck ‘pool lounge’ offers a unique space designed to bring daily family pleasure, breathing new life into a typically underutilised area. This design also fosters a more sustainable approach by allowing interior and exterior spaces to coexist, reducing the demand on air-conditioning systems.”

The shift towards semi-custom yacht builds, as exemplified by the Simply Custom range, offers a strategic response to the prolonged timelines inherent in fully custom projects. This approach not only addresses time constraints, but also empowers clients to commence their yacht journey from a pre-established platform, ripe for personalisation. By streamlining the initial stages with a verified foundation, this trend has the potential to redefine the premium-yacht-market landscape, emphasising efficiency while retaining the hallmark elements of luxury and customisation.

The conventional route of embarking on a fully custom-yacht build is undeniably laborious and time-intensive. In recognition of this, shipyards are increasingly introducing larger semi-custom models into the market. The Oceanco Simply Custom range serves as an illustration of this evolving approach, theoretically offering clients the best of both worlds – a framework for swift customisation without compromising on the bespoke elements that define luxury yachting.

“The unveiling of Project Reverie and its subsequent promotion have generated positive feedback from both clients and the industry, especially following the release of new exterior and interior visuals,” concludes Dixon. “The interest spurred by these discussions at events like the Dubai Boat Show underscores the market’s receptiveness to Oceanco’s innovative Simply Custom concept and Winch Design’s visionary execution.” 

This article first appeared in The Superyacht Report – New Build focus. To gain access to The Superyacht Group’s full suite of content, publications, events and services, click here to join The Superyacht Group Community and become one of our members.

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