Meet the 26 speakers at the 2016 Superyacht Design Symposium

Stephen Bayley

For the first time, speakers at the Superyacht Design Symposium will consist of superyacht industry experts and some of the biggest names from the wider design community.

Stephen Bayley, Chairman of the Superyacht Design Symposium

Stephen is an author, critic, columnist, consultant, broadcaster, debater and curator, of whom Tom Wolfe famously said, “I don’t know anybody with more interesting observations about style, taste and contemporary design”.  He also works with designers, architects, consumer goods and manufacturing businesses at the highest level, including Ford, Coca-Cola, BMW and Conran.

His best-selling books and award-winning journalism have, over the past thirty years, changed the way the world thinks about design. With Terence Conran he created the influential Boilerhouse Project in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, which became the capital’s most successful exhibition space during the Eighties and evolved into the influential Design Museum in 1989.

Stephen was formally educated at Manchester University and Liverpool University School of Architecture and, as well as his books and broadcasting work, he writes for a huge range of publications including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, GQ, The Official Ferrari Magazine and The Financial Times.

With the backing and guidance of Stephen Bayley, the Superyacht Design Symposium will continue to stimulate and inspire debate and will encourage designers from all over the world, from all genres, to share their stories and expertise, sewing the seeds for the superyacht projects of tomorrow.

Nick Candy

Superyacht Owner


Nick Candy is a British real estate entrepreneur and businessman best known for co-founding global luxury interior design firm Candy & Candy and for his role in some of the most high profile real estate projects in recent times.

In 1995, Nick and his brother Christian bought their first property in with the help of a £6,000 loan from their grandmother. They renovated it in their own style and successfully sold it on 18 months later at a substantial profit.

Candy & Candy was then established in 1999 and quickly went on to become one of the world’s leading luxury interior design firms, recognised internationally for designing the most luxurious real estate in the most coveted locations, as well as designing superyachts, jets, luxury cars and a wide range of commercial environments.

The company’s most high profile project – the globally celebrated One Hyde Park residential development in Knightsbridge, London – revolutionised the residential property market worldwide, breaking industry records and setting unparalleled new standards in luxury design and living.

Nick has also diversified his interests outside of Candy & Candy by adding several new companies and investments to his portfolio in real estate, technology, media and telecommunications, healthcare and natural resources.

Ilse Crawford MBE

Founder, Studioilse


Ilse Crawford is a designer, academic and creative director with a simple mission to put human needs and desires at the centre of all that she does. As founder of Studioilse, together with her multi-disciplinary, London-based team, she brings her philosophy to life. This means creating environments where humans feel comfortable; public spaces that make people feel at home and homes that are habitable and make sense for the people who live in them. It means designing furniture and products that support and enhance human behaviour and actions in everyday life. It means restoring the human balance in brands and businesses that have lost their way. As founder of the department of Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy Eindhoven, her mission extends to nurturing a new generation of students to always question why and how their work improves the reality of life.

Terence Disdale

Terence Disdale Design

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: Is beauty a science or an art?

Terence Disdale Design is one of the world’s leading companies specialising in yacht design. The company employs a team of 15 and was formed in 1973.

Prior to this Terence Disdale worked as one of Jon Bannenberg’s two design assistants for a few years. His other experiences were in the hotel design industry and with shop fitting and joinery specialists.

In his forty years of experience Terence has participated in the design and construction of more than a hundred yachts including fifty of these above the category of 45 meters. Eighteen of his projects have been completed above the category of 60 meters & he is the holder of thirty international design awards for his projects, including their latest creation the 81 metre Kibo which won the 2015 Showboats Holistic Design Award.

In 2015 the 163 metre Eclipse was recognised by Boat International with the status of ‘Motor Yacht Of The Decade.’

His forte is in creating the total design concept of the yacht from the water line upward. The design team develops the complete deck by deck planning, the superstructure lines, design and detail as well as the complete and totally bespoke interior.

Occasionally they have been invited to work on the interior of private aircraft and the houses of various clients where they have carried out extensive architectural work, landscape design and interior design.

Axel de Beaufort

Director of Design & Engineering, Hermès

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: What is the new luxury?

Axel de Beaufort graduated in design and naval architecture in Southampton University. He set up his own design office (Nacira) in 2002 after having worked with different architects such as VPLP. He was involved in different large yachting projects.

Axel de Beaufort was awarded for his own designs of 60 and 70 feet sailing yachts. He received the Yacht of the year award of the London Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in 2005 and the Milano Nautical Design Award in 2012.

He joined the Hermès bespoke department in 2012 as consultant for special projects. In 2013, he was appointed design and engineering director for special projects from yachts or private plane interiors to cars and exceptional objects.

Lapo Elkann

President and Founder of Italia Independent Group and Garage Italia Customs

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: What is the new luxury?

Entrepreneur Lapo is the grandson of the late Gianni Agnelli, the famous chairman of FIAT, Italy’s much loved car company. The Agnelli family built FIAT with an inimitable mixture of industrial innovation, shrewd investment and a passion for art and design. Lapo is an inspiration at both FIAT and Ferrari and his Italia Independent consultancy carries on the family work in fashion. He has founded eight companies the latest of which is Garage Italia Customs, which customizes cars, aircrafts and boats with tailor made Italian flair. He’s a passionate sailor and owns Lap1, the first Baglietto MV13, which unsurprisingly showcases Garage Italia Customs fabulous style. Work is currently underway on Lap2.

Theo Fennell

Theo Fennell Limited

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: Is beauty a science or an art?

Theo Fennell went to Eton in the 1960s, and surprised his teachers by becoming the first pupil there in living memory to go to art college. He first studied at the York School of Art and then at Byam Shaw (now part of UAL), and began in portraiture. He soon realised he would starve if he continued down this path, and by pure fate was then offered a job at the great silversmiths Edward Barnard’s where he discovered an aptitude for silver and jewellery design as well as a huge respect for craftsmanship.

As well as his one offs and masterworks, Fennell also designs jewellery which is inherently wearable and of course, impeccably crafted. He has numerous famous fans including Lady Gaga, Cara Delevingne, David Beckham and Sir Elton John, of whose AIDS Foundation he is also a committee member. He has a number of accolades under his belt including winning the ‘Oscars of luxury’, the Best Luxury Craftsmanship Award at the Walpole Awards for Excellence. In 2007 he curated Show Off, an exhibition of his works at the Royal Academy, and has exhibited at the esteemed art, antiques and jewellery fair Masterpiece London, for the past 3 years. He also whole-heartedly supports the work of young jewellery and silver students – The Royal College of Art Theo Fennell Awards for Jewellery and Silver are in their 10th year this year, and he also works in conjunction with Central St Martins and Goldsmiths.

Martin Francis

Francis Design Limited

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: What has a superyacht got in common with a warship? Why should we care?

Trained at the Central School of Art and Design,  Martin Francis worked as a cabinet maker before in 1967 starting working with Architect  Norman Foster on a wide range of projects including the glass wall of the Willis Faber and Dumas building in Ipswich. He was for many years a director of Foster associates in London and the managing director of Foster France, working on Stansted airport, the Tecno range of furniture and the Carre d’Art in Nimes.

In 1982 he joined Peter Rice in the creation of RFR, a Paris based engineering company where among other things he was responsible for assisting IM Pei in the design of the cable structure of the Louvre Pyramid using yacht rigging technology.

40 years ago he started his career as a yacht designer with a number of large sail boats. His first motor yacht was the iconic ECO (now called  Enigma) is now 25 years old and still does 35 knots. This was followed by a number of innovative vessels like SensesGolden ShadowSultan and the 118 meter Yacht ‘ A’ for which he was the Technical and Naval designer, a joint project with Phillippe Starck. He also was engaged by RCCL Celebrity Cruises to design the exterior of the Solstice class – a series of five 120,000 GRT Cruise Ships.

He was recently retained by Vitsoe to head the design tem of their new 2000m2 headquarters and production facility to be built in Leamington Spa UK.

His largest project to date was the new Lürssen built 124 meter  Golden Odyssey delivered October 2015.

Cristina Gherardi

CG Design

An Italian architect with a degree in Construction Science from the University of Florence, Cristina Gherardi Benardeau, founder of Paris-based CG Design, has solid experience in the luxury world.

She began her career by conceiving all the Virgin Megastores and Kenzo stores in France, and several departmental stores for the Brunswig family in Switzerland. In1994 she joined LVMH as Director of Architecture for Christian Dior Couture developing luxury retail projects worldwide. Those years featured close collaboration with Jacques Grange and Peter Marino for a new architectural concept and the opening of flagship stores in Paris, New York, Geneva, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Next she created the first Giorgio Armani Interior Design Studio in New York, working closely with Mr. Armani designing private homes and residential real estate projects worldwide. At Armani Casa, she designed her first yacht, Odessa, a 53-meter Christensen that won the 2010 ShowBoats Design Award for Best Interior Design. The following year, she founded CG Design in part to respond to the request to design a second yacht for Odessa’s owner. Savannah, his 83.5 meter yacht Feadship, is a finalist for this year’s Design Awards. Meanwhile, residential projects for private clients as well as real estate development for Fendi continues in Dubai, Riyadh and Moscow.

She credits the luxury world and working in a varied cultural universe for her sophisticated design yet insists her firm’s primary aim is to conserve a very strong architectural approach.

“Our aesthetic is contemporary, however, each project is the result of thematic research based on the client’s expectations and taste, the site, and the cultural environment, bringing together the French art of living, Italian design and American functionality,” she says.

Nicky Haslam

NH Design

PLENARY SESSION SPEAKER: What is the new luxury?

Nicky Haslam is one of London’s best-known and best-loved interior designers, a charmed and charming agent of style and a taste-maker for the rich. His appeal is global and NH Design interiors are sprinkled around the globe from Mayfair to Moscow to Morocco. He’s a social magician who has created the décor for some of the most iconic parties of our age from the Opera Ball in Hong Kong to the Cartier Polo Gala lunch. Its no wonder HRH the Prince of Wales and Sir Evelyn and Lady Rothschild have enlisted his services for their events. Nicky is also a waspish diarist, a talented memoirist and has, latterly, managed the successful transition to cabaret artiste. He is one of the funniest social observers and was a friend of Elvis, Svetlana Stalin and Liberace.

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