We speak to the design team behind 71m UNIQUE to better understand its design philosophy…
Following the Denison Yachting announcement that introduced the wider market for SkyStyle’s 71m UNIQUE superyacht concept, we speak to the design team at SkyStyle to better understand their design philosophy and to explore the various lessons that they believe yachting can learn from the complimentary markets of aviation and automotive. SkyStyle, led by designers Lucas Colombo and Max Pardo, is a design studio based in the US, Spain and Argentina that primarily focussed on advanced conceptual design in the aviation world.
“Our focus is primarily on advanced design. As such, we always set out to produce something new and innovative, something that hasn’t been seen before, however, we do everything at the applicable level,” starts Colombo. “Once we meet a legitimate client, we will then change the design as much or as little as required because more innovative ideas will be created beyond the initial discussion. In order to achieve the correct results, you need to start with a credible project, we don’t want to propose something that can’t be built.”
The discussion about the value of conceptual design in the yachting space is a well-trodden path and one must be considerate to accept the difference between impractical and impossible. The UNIQUE project, while almost certainly impractical, especially if one considers how difficult it might be for a crew to clean, it has been designed to push boundaries.
“We always try to guarantee that our concept designs are doable and we aren’t proposing something that can’t be built,” says Pardo. “That being said, we also understand how conservative the industry is, but it is exactly because of this that there is so much scope for innovation within proposals. Will this project be built next year or the year after? Probably not. It may take longer for the wider industry to make the shift and become more innovative, but it is a matter of starting now and highlighting possibilities. If we don’t propose new, credible ideas, then nothing is ever going to change.”
The UNIQUE project, as well as being visually impressive, contains virtual windows, smart surfaces, holograms, adaptable surfaces and a variety of other advanced technologies, the like of which are now being talked of with ever greater regularity and legitimacy within the superyachting space. Are all the technologies likely to be adopted in one fell swoop across all superyacht projects? Unlikely. Nevertheless, buyers need to be made increasingly aware of what is possible and the design, technology and build sectors need to become increasingly willing, or indeed eager, to implement these technologies, some of which are already doing today.
“There are plenty of technologies that can be transferred onto superyachts from other sectors because, quite frankly, it is much easier on boats than it is on aeroplanes. Really it is just a matter of time and budget, especially given that we are already in contact with our design and aviation contacts to make these technologies transferable,” continues Colombo.
As well as transferring technology from one sector to another, SkyStyle’s experience in the aviation market does beg another question: what can superyacht design learn from aviation?
“The greatest lesson that I believe the superyacht market can learn from the automotive and aviation industries is the ability to create fully integrated interiors and exteriors, areas that blend and weave together, even in the lower planes,” comments Colombo.
“I agree with Lucas in that superyacht spaces often look like palaces,” adds Pardo. “They are pretty impressive, but at some point, they lack the integration within the interior, the blending of spaces has been slightly overlooked because there are fewer restrictions on board a superyacht. Design isn’t just about populating spaces with cool and expensive stuff, it’s about luxury. In my opinion, the yacht industry needs to start thinking about spaces in different ways to make the most of them.”
Both Colombo and Pardo accept that the design is perhaps ahead of its time in terms of widespread appeal, but they are both eager to point out that this design has not necessarily been created to appeal to the set of buyers that is content with the status quo. Both designers believe that their designs will continue to grow in relevance as the younger generations of superyacht buyers reach the peak of their financial powers and increasingly look to purchase into and influence sectors of interest.
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