Meet the Superyacht Design Festival 2020 Speakers


Kai-Uwe Bergmann

Partner, BIG

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, FAIA is a Partner at BIG who brings his architectural expertise to proposals around the globe, including work in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Kai-Uwe heads up BIG's business development which currently has the office working in over 35 different countries as well as overseeing BIG's Urban scales projects and supporting BIG Landscape. Registered as an architect in the USA (thirteen states) and Canada. Kai-Uwe most recently contributed to the resiliency plan BIG U to protect 10 miles of Manhattan's coastline.

First envisioned through the Rebuild by Design competition to develop proactive responses to Superstorm Sandy it is now being further developed and construction will begin on the first 2.5 miles in 2020. Further projects include Smithsonian Master Plan, Pittsburgh Master Plan, Miami Beach Square and Zira Island Master Plan. He compliments his professional work through previous teaching assignments at the University of Pennsylvania, IE University in Madrid, and his alma mater the University of Virginia. Kai-Uwe formerly was on the Board of the Van Alen Institute, participates on numerous international juries and lectures globally on the works of BIG.


Piero Lissoni

Founder, Lissoni & Partners

With offices in Milan and New York, Piero Lissoni heads up the Lissoni Studio, which develops projects at an international level in the fields of architecture, product design, graphic design and corporate identity. Lissoni is art director for Alpi, Boffi, De Padova, Living Divani, Lema, Lualdi, Porro and Sanlorenzo, for whom he has also designed an extensive range of products. Recently completed architectural projects include the Sanlorenzo SX88 (2017) and SX76 (2018) yachts.

His interest in the art world has also led him to work on a variety of temporary exhibitions, such as the retrospective of the photographer Giovanni Gastel, curated by Germano Celant at Palazzo della Ragione, and an anthology dedicated to the Renaissance painter “Bernardino Luini e i suoi Figli” at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Lissoni has received a series of international awards, including the Good Design Award, the Red Dot Award and the Compasso d'Oro ADI. He is a board member of the MAXXI National Museum in Rome, and he is a visiting professor and part of the Advisory Board at the Politecnico di Milano. He also serves as an honorary member of the Altagamma International Council.


Terence Disdale

Terence Disdale Design

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.

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.


Matthew Cruickshank

Art Director, Google

Matthew Cruickshank studied graphic design, illustration and traditional hand drawn animation in England. After working for Disney and Warner Bros. in London he moved to San Francisco in 2012 to work on the Google Doodle team. This position gave him the possibility to make short films, online games and animated illustrations for one of the most visible art spaces in the world. In his spare time he can be found sitting on the streets painting and sketching everyday life around him.


Joe Michaels

Chief Revenue Officer, HaptX

Joe Michaels is Chief Revenue Officer for HaptX, leading business development, marketing and sales for the premium haptics solution that brings lifelike touch to virtual reality and robotics. With 20 years of business development experience, Michaels specializes in structuring partnerships for companies on the leading edge of new media including digital publishers and VR and AR technologies.

As Microsoft’s Senior Director of Business Development and Strategy, Michaels negotiated partnerships on behalf of MSN, striking deals with television networks, film studios, television producers, music labels, news publishers, sports leagues and many others. He was instrumental in the development of MSN Video, the first major ad-supported video service on the Internet, as well as MSN Originals, a pioneer of digital video series.

Prior to Microsoft, Michaels co-founded affiliate marketing company Nexchange Corporation which earned 5 U.S. patents. He began his career as a television writer and producer in Washington, DC. Michaels earned his BA from Georgetown University and MBA from The Wharton School.


Rob McCallum

Co-founder and Expedition Leader, EYOS Expeditions

Seattle-based New Zealander Rob McCallum is the Co-founder and Expedition Leader of EYOS Expeditions and is regarded as the foremost provider of expedition services to the superyacht industry and holder of several world records. The team at EYOS Expeditions have lead over 1200 expeditions for private clients, scientists and film makers (often with all three groups combined) to the most pristine and challenging destinations on Earth.

Rob is presently managing The Five Deeps Expedition as the primary mission planner and as the Expedition Leader for each of the expeditions 10 dive projects. He has led multiple expeditions to Titanic (4000m), Bismarck (5000m) and helped with the design and management of many complex deep-water expeditions, including the search for AF 447 and James Cameron’s dive to the Mariana Trench in Deep Challenger.

Rob managed the refit of RV Nadir into MV Alucia, where his experience with the science, film-making and private adventure was able to be combined and infused into Alucia’s design. This experience lead EYOS Expeditions to be selected as the design partner for Damen Shipyards ‘SeaXplorer’ range of expedition yachts. These yachts continue the theme of enabling luxury yacht owners' full global access and the ability to support science, film making and private adventure.

Rob is a licensed aircraft pilot, a PADI Dive Master, a longtime member of the Explorers Club (NY) and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.


Enrico Bonetti and Dominic Kozerski

Architects & Founders, Bonetti / Kozerski Architecture

Italian-born Enrico Bonetti, AIA, and British-born Dominic Kozerski, RIBA, founded their eponymous architecture and design practice in New York City in 2000.

Working with clients including tastemakers like hoteliers Ian Schrager and André Balazs, fashion designer Donna Karan, and music producer Rick Rubin, the pair strive to create spaces that combine its aesthetics of understated luxury and warm minimalism. The seeming effortlessness that characterizes their projects is in fact the result of a rigorous design process: Enrico and Dominic, who have worked as a team for years, rely on one another to keep every design edited down to its most essential elements, its guiding vision clear.

Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture views each project as a collaboration with the client, working with them to realize their goals while always bringing something unexpected to the design process. The firm thinks holistically, from the small scale to the large, from the subtle details of furniture and art to the overall rhythm of spaces, volumes and materials.

Recent projects include private residences across the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe; a new line of yachts for Italian ship builder Benetti; Edition Hotels in Los Angeles and Tokyo, the Public Hotel in New York; and the first campus of the international independent school network Avenues: The World School, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

The new headquarters for PACE Gallery, a 75,000 square feet building opened in Chelsea art district in September 2019, marks their first ground up project in Manhattan.


Nicolò Favaretto Rubelli

Chief Executive Officer, Rubelli

Nicolò Favaretto Rubelli is Chief Executive Officer of the famous Venetian family textile company Rubelli, as well as the president of APAF (Associazione per le Aziende Familiari), the Italian Family Business Association.

Rubelli was born in Venice in 1964, and joined the family business back in 1993, following a degree in civil engineering at the University of Padua. After several prolonged stays in Scranton, PA - where Rubelli was, at the time, partnering a weaving mill - his responsibilities quickly grew from US to global sales director. He travelled the world extensively in that role, and continues to do so today, a proud ambassador of the prestigious and historical Venetian textile tradition.


Axel de Beaufort

Design director of special projects, Hermès special order division

Axel de Beaufort started his career as a naval architect and became involved with Hermès in 2011, when he was asked to serve as adviser on a bespoke yacht project. Since then he has worked for Hermès on boats, planes and cars, and now stands as the design and engineering director of the Hermès special order division and made to measure projects department. He also continues to run his own yacht design company in France.


Hans Konings

Director, Konings Yacht Consultancy

Hans Konings has over 30 years experience in the marine industry. His career began as when he took up a role as Production Manager with AMELS in 2003. From 2011, he was appointed Design Manager and has been involved in many successful projects ever since, receiving several awards for his work. To date, he’s been involved with the delivery of over 50 superyachts – and counting. A well-known authority in the yachting industry, he launched his own company, Konings Yacht Consultancy back in 2018. The operation has offices in both Vlissingen the Netherlands, and Ancona and Viareggio, Italy.