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Winners Revealed for the 2020 BOAT International Design and Innovation Awards

Winners Revealed for the 2020 BOAT International Design and Innovation Awards

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Lifetime Achievement Award

Martin Francis

Company: Francis Design Limited

Nationality : British

First Yacht Design: Prototype,1978

From his first 14m sailboat, Prototype, to 119m Motor Yacht A, from a Rolling Stones stage set to Swarovski crystal fabrics, and from his work with architect IM Pei on the Louvre’s glass pyramid to inflatable Tour de France event platforms, Martin Francis is a designer who can’t be pigeon-holed into just one field. Born in Britain, Francis, a furniture design graduate of Central St Martins College of Art and Design, started out as a cabinet-maker for high-end shops and private clients in London. He soon began to work with structural engineer Tony Hunt, who introduced him to a rising architect named Norman Foster. They collaborated for two decades. In 1981, he co-founded RFR, a firm noted for pioneering cable-braced glass walls. Boats came about by accident. Britain’s financial crisis of the mid-1970s sent him packing to the South of France, where he found work building sailboat masts. The decision to sail the world with his family led him to design and build his own boat. Racing it locally led to commissions and the 28.2m Diablesse established him in yachting – by 1985, the four largest sloops in the world were his design. In 1988 Emilio Azcárraga offered him his first motor yacht project, which became 73m Eco. With innovative design, high speed and radical use of glass, Eco was the springboard that launched subsequent commissions for yachts as small as the Silver Arrow Granturismo, as unusual as Senses and as large as Golden Odyssey, and now cruise ships in excess of 120,000GT. Throughout his career from architecture to fine art, Martin Francis has brought to the table innovation and collaboration, enthusiasm for his craft and a profound artistic nature.

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