Meet the 36 Superyacht Design Symposium 2017 speakers

Mike Fisher

_Creative Director & Founder,_ Studio Indigo

Mike Fisher is the creative director and founder of Studio Indigo – an architecture and interior design studio specialising in high end residential work in the UK and around the world.

Studio Indigo’s expertise lies in its ability to grasp how their clients live, what their needs and desires are and to create imaginative and inspiring spaces which reflect that. Surprise and delight is the studio’s motto, taking the client on a journey that is creative and enjoyable.

This skill is now being transferred into the yachting world with Studio Indigo having recently completed the interior of 70 metre Feadship Joy. Their largest yacht to date, Joy is an example of Studio Indigo’s fresh perspective, collaborative approach and meticulous attention to detail.

Teamwork has been a hallmark of Mike’s studio since its inception in 2005. He has built up a multicultural and multilingual group of 50 specialist designers based in a converted warehouse overlooking the Thames in Chelsea, London.

Mike is a keen yachtsman himself and understands the necessary balance between luxury, comfort and functionality. He is able to combine his team’s various fields of expertise and his 25 years’ experience in residential design to deliver yachts that have their own unique and distinctive character.

Tom Cheesewright


Tom Cheesewright is the founder of applied futurism practice, Book of the Future and creator of the Futurist's Toolkit, a suite of tools for agile organisations.

Through consulting, speaking and media work Tom helps people to see, share and respond to a coherent vision of tomorrow. Clients range from charities and public sector organisations to FTSE100 enterprises and global technology corporations, They include LG, Nikon, Sony Pictures, the NHS, Manchester University, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Tom followed a degree in Mechatronic Engineering with 14 years in the tech industry, working with global brands such as BT, EE and IBM, and subsequently founded a series of technology-driven companies. Most recently Tom co-founded venture-backed big data analytics start-up CANDDi, of which he remains a shareholder. He acts as an advisor to a number of technology-driven start-ups.

Tom is a frequent presence on TV and radio, appearing across the BBC from the Breakfast sofa to Newsround and World Business Report, and as a regular contributor to 5live and Radio 4. He has shared his thoughts on the future with Channel 4′s Sunday Brunch, Sky News, the Guardian, Evening Standard, Entrepreneur Magazine, Stuff and MSN.

Tim Heywood

_Founder,_ Tim Heywood Designs

Tim Heywood founded Tim Heywood Designs, with his partner Vanessa Reville, in 1996. New projects followed very quickly and he became involved in ever increasing sized yachts, M/Y Pelorus, M/Y Carinthia VII, M/Y Dilbar, M/Y Ice, M/Y Radiant, all built by Lürssen, M/Y Mayan Queen IV, M/Y Baton Rouge, M/Y Cakewalk, M/Y Kogo, M/Y Al Mirqab, M/Y Symphony and, again with Lürssen, M/Y Quantum Blue and M/Y Topaz, (being the largest yacht he has designed to date, at 147 metres.)

Tim’s working relationship with the Amels Ship yard and the Limited Editions series of yachts, now totalling over 30 yachts in the last ten years, has been extremely successful and continues to this day. Tim has worked with nearly all the major yacht building yards of the world, Lürssen, Amels, Feadship, (both Royal Van Lent and De Vries), Blohm & Voss, Kusch, Fincantieri, Icon, Alstom, Direcktor, Oceanfast, Oceanco, Benetti and Picchiotti.

The flowing lines of his exterior designs, often matched with twisting structures, large windows and large wing stations, give his designs an original, individual and strong presence that makes his designs stand out from their contemporaries. Tim’s work has been very influential, he enjoys pushing the building yards, gently and with good humour, to create, what he considers to be, timelessly, elegant yachts.

Tim entered the yacht design world in 1972 at the Chelsea studio of Jon Bannenberg, prior to this he studied Industrial Design Engineering.

Terence Disdale

_Founder,_ Terence Disdale Designs

Terence Disdale Designs 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 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 Motor Yacht Eclipse was recognised by Boat International with the status of ‘Motor Yacht of the Decade’ which incorporates Terence Disdale’s exterior styling, general arrangement and complete interior design.

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.

Martin Francis

_Founder,_ Francis Design

Martin Francis of Francis Design are currently working on a variety of different projects, including architectural work on the New headquarters for Vitsoe in Leamington Spa and a project for flood resistant housing in the UK. Their yachting work includes the 124-meter M/Y Golden Odyssey recently delivered by Luerssen plus other new large yacht projects. Francis Design are also completing the technical development of a 14 meter Mercedes-Benz Styled luxury yacht for Silver Arrows Marine and a consultancy project with Swarovski for the development of new surface products for interiors.

For the last 20 years, Martin has been working collaboratively with the American Artist Frank Stella on large sculptures and computer assisted art projects. In 2005 he was engaged by RCCL Celebrity Cruises to design the exterior of the Solstice class a series of five 120,000 GRT Cruise Ships. In 1982 Martin joined Peter Rice in the creation of RFR, a Paris based engineering company, established to design the glass facades of the Museum of Science and Technology in Paris. He was also responsible for assisting IM Pei in the design of the cable structure of the Louvre Pyramid using yacht rigging technology.

Working in France since 1976, Martin's first motor yacht was the iconic ECO followed by a number of innovative vessels like M/Y Senses, M/Y Golden Shadow, M/Y Sultan and more recently the 118-meter M/Y ‘A’ for which he was the Technical and Naval designer, a joint project with Phillip Starck.

Martin trained at the Central School of Art and Design and 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.

Raphaël Laloux

_Exterior Designer_

Raphaël Laloux has worked with the Philippe Briand team based in London since 2014. He is in charge of the exterior design for various projects from production boats, with the Benneteau group, to large sailing yachts. He is also developing the styling for the Vitruvius Motor yachts, including a range from 25m to 45m for Ocea, a 58m for a prestigious shipyard and a 81m for Turquoise.

Raphaël won the Young Designer of the Year Award organised by Boat International in 2014, with his 60m Symphony. Developed on a SWATH platform, Symphony has been recognised as a yacht offering a true adventure thanks to her curving promenade spiraling around the superstructure and the several novel features (such as a climbing wall mast and a through-deck tender launching platform).

From childhood, Raphaël Laloux has been passionate about the world of creativity. He studied transportation design at the prestigious International School of Design (ISD) in France. Having a strong interest in architecture and car design, Raphaël has found his fulfilment in yacht design which is a harmonious combination of these two worlds.

Rob Armstrong

_Creative Director,_ ThirtyC

Rob Armstrong has always had a huge interest in all aspects of design, completing an extensive range of projects and commissions for clients internationally, ranging from marine to residential and commercial design.

After seven years working for one of the top superyacht designers, Ken Freivokh, Rob established the ThirtyC design studio and consultancy alongside fellow designer Alastair Fletcher. Multi-discipline design is Rob’s strength, from exterior styling through to interior design, evolving with each-and-every client.

ThirtyC are continually looking at pushing the boundaries of creativity, drawing upon their own influences and experiences. The studio’s decision to work closely with other design firms has allowed them to work with some of the most well know names in the superyacht industry and be involved in several unique and award winning designs both afloat and in build.

John Leonida

_Partner,_ Clyde & Co.

John Leonida is a partner at Clyde & Co and heads up the superyacht practice. John's legal specialism lies in transactional work where he is regarded as a "leading individual" by highly regarded Chambers & Partner legal directory. He also advises on regulatory issues relating to the ownership of ships and has extensive experience in negotiating shipbuilding and ship financing documents. His clients are either shipping entrepreneurs or, in the case of John's superyacht work, high net-worth individuals, superyacht builders, designers and banks. He is a regular contributor to Boat International.

Adam Leigh

_Strategy Director,_ W Communications

A leading “disruptor” in UK media for more than two decades, Adam Leigh joined communications consultancy W in 2011. As Strategy Director at W – which has offices in London, Amsterdam and Singapore – he has developed brand and campaign strategies for clients including Y.CO, Princess Yachts, L’Oréal, W Hotels, Alphabet, Facebook, Hearst Magazines, and Unilever. Based at the company’s London HQ, his role encompasses C-suite counsel, media planning, content development, and crisis management.

Prior to W Adam worked at The Independent, where he was Deputy Editor and directed the paper’s award-winning coverage of 9/11, the Iraq war and the Asian tsunami. In 2010 Adam was central to the launch of i - the UK’s first new national newspaper in 25 years, which remains the market’s only growing title and in 2003 he led the Independent’s reinvention as Britain’s first “quality tabloid” (a move followed by dozens of papers around the word).

Burns Fallow

_Head Sail Designer and Director,_ North Sails

Burns Fallow is Head Sail Designer and Director for North Sails as well as Global Superyacht Manager for North Sails, a job combining design and management skills. Prior to this Burns was Managing Director of North Sails New Zealand from 2008 until 2014.

From 1993 until 2013, Burns was a member of Team New Zealand (now Emirates Team New Zealand) through five America’s Cup campaigns, being part of the winning team twice.  He was head of the Sail program, and in the 2013 campaign he also headed the Wing Aero development team for the AC72 foiling catamarans.

Burns designed his first Superyacht sails in 1991 and he has been involved with over 50 Superyacht projects since that time.

He joined North Sails in 1988 straight from the University of Auckland where he was the first person to graduate from the Yacht Research Unit. For the next few years he learned sail design, interacting with many of the top trimmers from his homeland during that time.  His sail designs have appeared on many top level racing programs.

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