Boat International Design & Innovation Awards 2018 Winners Announced

Best General Arrangement & Deck Design


Length: 96.6m

Naval architect: Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects

Interior designer: RWD/Chahan Interior Design

Exterior stylist: RWD

Builder: Feadship

In this complex category, judges surveyed not just the arrangement of guest areas but the space and layout for crew service, tender operations, maintenance and safety. Faith shines on all counts thanks in part to a clear owner’s brief to create a yacht for intensive use with private spaces and open areas for friends and family gatherings. Driving length and layout was the helicopter hanger; when the air tender is stored, the deck can be used for netted games. The beach club nearly doubles in size when transom and side terraces are open, its sloping ceiling being the bottom of a nine metre pool. Ease of movement is highlighted with separate elevators for crew and guests plus multiple staircases. Guests are treated to a hair salon and pantry next to their cabins, while the owner has a full private deck. His office is cleverly one deck below on the bridge/helideck next to staff cabins and the captain’s office. A portside loading bay, separate crew mess and lounge, dedicated hospital, crew gym and lower deck tender bays are top features. Proving size isn’t a precursor to good layout, tying for second place were sailing yachts Pink Gin and Ribelle.

Best New Production

Azimut Grande 35 Metri

Length: 35.2m

Builder: Azimut Yachts

Naval architect: Pierluigi Ausonio

Exterior stylist: Stefano Righini

Interior designer: Achille Salvagni

To create a new flagship for the Azimut Grande range, length was not the builder’s sole criteria, in fact the driving force was volume. To keep the line’s sporty DNA, an innovative wide-body design facilitates all the features the market is seeking, including a side tender garage, stern beach club, main deck owner’s suite and four guest cabins. Add to this a surprising foredeck sunning area with spa tub, a full flying bridge and optional sun deck. For this tall order Azimut turned to carbon fibre and aerospace technology to reduce weight, increase stiffness and control noise. The D2P hull with wave-piercing bow increases efficiency through the range to 25 knots. Stefano Righini’s RPH lines are dramatic even to the unusual flared foredeck and this is neatly balanced by Achille Salvagni’s light and sculptural interiors. The builder has not cut corners by insisting on easy-to-replicate square boxes for the interior, instead allowing sensuous curves and a variety of exclusive materials. Of particular note, the master stateroom’s port “window” opens out while a large terrace floor with integral handrails slides out of the hull creating an instant balcony.

Best Lighting


Length: 60m

Interior designer: Dante O Benini & Partners

Exterior stylist: Perini Navi

Builder: Perini Navi

Lighting design was added to the awards programme in 2017 after our judges commented that lighting lagged behind other achievements in large yachts. By focusing on this area, the awards programme hopes to elevate the quality of lighting design across the range. Of those who submitted their yachts for scrutiny, by far the most complex lighting plan was presented by Dante O Benini & Partners and Perini Navi for Seven. Not coincidentally, the owners are experienced yachtsmen. Benini notes he approached the interior commission as “an architect trying to interpret the human spirit”. As seven is the owner’s number of grandchildren, the team was aware there would be three generations living on board, each with needs and activities. As with a fine home, on Seven some lighting functions are automatic and anticipatory, others highlight architecture or illuminate art, and some provide safety at night or support specific activities or tasks using  the latest technology. Even chromotherapy is considered. Much use is made of backlit onyx and elsewhere the programmable, dimmable light is tuned to warm tones.

Best Ecological Design and Operation Innovation


Length: 50m

Builder: Heesen Yachts

Naval architect: Van Oossanen/Heesen Yachts

Exterior stylist: Omega Architects

Interior designer: Cristiano Gatto Design

Just three teams were brave enough to submit projects for scrutiny in this new category seeking significant investment in design, equipment and operational procedures to reduce environmental impact. Diesel-electric hybrids are today’s most widespread environmentally friendly propulsion solution, but even this is evolving with differences in application from yacht to yacht. For a project that began on speculation by the builder, the Heesen brief was for low- and mid-speed efficiency with top priority on quiet and comfort. Sharing both its decision matrix and performance results, the yacht now known as Home combines aluminium construction and a Fast Displacement Hull Form with relatively small 840hp main engines. Two-speed diesel generators powering electric shaft motors deliver low speed cruising at 9 knots, burning just 45 litres per hour in electric mode while producing only 46dB of noise in the owner’s stateroom. The mains coupled to shaft generators can push her to 16.3 knots while still powering the house load without requiring a separate generator. While this yacht does not offer “silent mode” operation on batteries, the power train is future-proofed for this quieter option.

Best Lifestyle Feature Design


Length: 98.4m

Lifestyle feature: Padel Tennis Court

Interior designer: Reymond Langton Design

Naval architect: Abeking & Rasmussen

Exterior stylist: Reymond Langton Design/Toby Silverton

Builder: Abeking & Rasmussen

Two of the finalists admit that the entire yacht project was driven by the desire to maximise a single activity space. While both are spectacular, one required so much research, engineering and innovation that it claimed top prize. Consider the issues of building a permanent, professional padel tennis court measuring 10m x 20m x 6.65m inside a yacht without detracting from the profile or other indoor areas. From prescribed flooring and side walls for proper bounce and regulation artificial turf including the two tons of special sand that keep it springy, to sound deadening, HVAC, damaged stability and evacuation concerns, this is a major undertaking. With such a special space, no ordinary access would do so an undulating grand staircase delivers guests from a main deck lobby two decks below to this surprising luxury sports hall.

The Judges’ Commendation Award

Seasense began as a concept sketch based on the designer’s perception that yachts have disproportionate indoor space. For an owner seeking a yacht with a big pool deck, it was the perfect start. Complete with privacy/wind/sun screens and  a misting system and located next to a full open dining room, the judges felt this pool deck deserved recognition.

Best Tender Design

Faith - Limousine Tender

Length: 10m

Builder: Tenderworks

Naval architect: Allseas Design

Exterior stylist: RWD

Interior designer: RWD

This category attracted 14 exciting tenders including open boats, enclosed limo tenders and even specialised landing craft. Although the subcommittee members evaluating the entries studied  the entrants separately, they came to the same conclusion for the top finisher, the 10-passenger limo tender matching the gentle curves and design ethos of its mothership, Faith. Design perfection was the primary objective for the owner but functionality still had to be paramount for the safe operation of the 40+ knot craft. Indirect lighting for night use is superb. The construction is mahogany veneer over carbon composite with an interior of leather and walnut crafted with the same detail as the yacht. The concept is a convertible tender with maximum possible headroom as a closed limousine that can automatically switch to an open boat. Its 3D curved glass roof panels slide forward utilising a cable drive system and disappear into a dedicated storage compartment, while the glass door aft and the side windows drop via a rack and pinion system. In all it took 18 months to design, 22,000 man hours to execute, 2,500 parts and seven servomotors to make an extraordinarily beautiful tender that goes from limousine to open with the touch of one button.

Young Designer of the Year - Student Designer

Nicolò Piredda

Concept Name: Galàna

Nationality: Italy

College of education: Politecnico di Milano

The judges were highly impressed by the overall quality of this year’s student category, whose entries numbered 26 from 12 countries. Reducing this entry to six finalists, was neither a quick nor easy process, and was achieved only after lively discussion and a detailed study of all the entries. The difficulty of this process is reflected in the judges’ decision to honour not just our winner, who is Nicolo Piredda from Italy but also Guehun Lee from the Republic of Korea who was awarded a Special Mention. Our youngest ever entry, 13 year old Jens de Klerk has also been awarded a Judges’ Special Mention for effort even though he does not feature amongst the finalists.

In the view of the judges, Nicolò Piredda’s work stood out because he excelled in all three of the requested tasks. The exterior styling of his 60 metre project was both practical and elegant, while displaying the necessary ruggedness required of a “go-anywhere” explorer. In the interior, the general arrangement plan exactly met the requirement and at the same time provided a workable flow for both guests and crew, while the requested design development sketches were executed in masterful manner. This was considered to be an exceptional effort by a 24-year-old candidate.

Young Designer of the Year - Professional Designer

Damien Bovie

Concept Name: Mirage

Nationality: France

Current Employer: Freelance Designer

This professional division saw a sizeable entry of 18 professional designers from 13 different countries. The task given to this category was the same as that for the students, but was made more complex by entrants being given a very specific set of realistic technical guidelines by the sponsor shipyard, Oceanco. The judges experienced little difficulty in refining this entry to eight, but only three finalists were needed and selecting these required a great deal of further work. In due course, just five entries were put under the most detailed scrutiny and, somewhat reluctantly, the judges eliminated Dani Santa and Katarzyna Tarczon. This left Damien Bovie, Francesco Conte and Yilin Huang as finalists, and prompted more lively discussion before 26-year-old Bovie from France was recognised as the winner. In view of the closeness of this decision, it was decided that Yilin Huang should receive  a Judges' Special Mention for his work.

The judges chose Mirage, Bovie’s entry for its combination of excellent presentation, practical ideas, and a nicely drawn general arrangement plan. While the exterior looks could be mistaken for a Mediterranean cruiser, its lines conceal well thought out interior storage for the helicopter; a good range of tenders and toys that, most practically, include a snowmobile; and excellent crew facilities.

Lifetime Achievement

Giovanni Zuccon

Company: Zuccon International Projects

Nationality: Italy

First Yacht Design:1978, Technema 65, Posillipo

Giovanni Zuccon’s achievements in yacht design began as a happy accident. After beginning college as an engineering student he switched to architecture at La Sapienza University. Truth be told, his first love is arguably research. After graduation, Gianni, as he is affectionately known, and his beloved late wife, architect Paola Galeazzi, opened a studio in Rome in 1972. Also an industrial designer, he approaches problems by first studying the relationship of objects and spaces. Among his first projects was helping design a city for 50,000 people on the banks of Zaire's Congo River. Here he learned to design for a cultural context not his own. Likewise, he is proud of designs as diverse as intercity and tourist buses and buildings for the European Space Agency since 1984.

In the mid 1970s Posillipo Shipyards solicited input from architects for two recreational boat projects. Zuccon declined to submit on the basis that he knew nothing of boats. But when the shipyard said it wanted someone without boat knowledge, someone with a new approach, he relented. He and Paola submitted two small interior drawings. When Posillipo called their submission “interesting and viable”, Gianni threw himself into researching boats, from materials to methods. The rest is history. Actually, it's the history of the dawn of semi-custom boatbuilding, a modular process of standardised bulkheads for preset wiring and piping. He noted a theatre thus arranged made a variety of stage scenes possible. It was Zuccon’s idea to create designs that matched the builder’s industrial production objectives while allowing boat owners to satisfy specific needs.

In 1978 Gianni and Paola galvanized the core of their design philosophy around the belief that to secure its future, the yachting industry had to create and give space to a new kind of close relationship between craftsmanship and industry. Our database reveals 430 yachts beyond 20 metres with the Zuccon name attached ranging from a 38-foot open to the 80 metre CRN Chopi Chopi. We salute Giovanni Zuccon for a lifetime of yachting achievement.

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