CEO series: Q&A with Nauta Design founder Mario Pedol
What developments have taken place at the company during the past few months?
We signed two important design contracts in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, one for a 100+ metre motor yacht, and the other for a 47 metre sailing yacht, both already under construction, plus a dozen of ongoing projects and three proposals of motor yacht projects in the 60-80 metre L.O.A. range for very serious and qualified prospect clients. This is of course on top of the already ongoing projects, and required a reinforcement of the team which allowed us to cope very well with these new important engagements.
How do you think the superyacht industry will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?
The industry is now implementing its communication and visualisation tools to overcome the travel restrictions now in act. That’s the main downside of the pandemic for us, while on the other side I feel it has been creating a psychological reaction among the high-net-worth individual (HNWI) community, which improves the propensity to spend and engage in new projects in the yachting world.
What has been the most enjoyable experience during your time as CEO?
I can’t think of one moment in particular, as I had the good fortune of creating a job after my passion for the sea, yachts and ships, and enjoying them all. I would just mention as very much enjoyable our first years of activity, which were quite pioneering for us, when we were designing and also building under our responsibility beautiful sailing yachts, for example the two first My Songs (54’ and 70’).
That was an incredibly fast and rich learning experience which would then prove to be very precious for the subsequent design phase of our activity, because we learnt “on our skin” the technical and economic constraints and needs of the building process. That’s still the background for our design work, and that skill is very much appreciated by our building partners.
What has been your greatest challenge?
In 2006 we had the opportunity to be asked to design in total freedom, with a very free basic brief, a new 80 metre motor yacht, then called Project Light. That dimension was totally new to our experience at that time.
We had to combine our innovative, unconventional ideas on how to interpret a motor yacht design (taking much inspiration from the sailing yacht lifestyle) to the many technical and regulatory constraints inherent to such dimension of superyacht. On this size of yachts, the construction procedures and methods are the same throughout the shipbuilding industry but that was then totally new for us: a very interesting and steep learning curve.
How do you foresee the company evolving over the next five years?
Nowadays we have 250 metres of motor yacht projects under construction, which is the result of significant speculative work investments in the superyacht world. Besides that, in the last couple of years we enjoyed more and more recognition and demand for our clean and timeless, yet innovative design in the motor yacht industry.
So I think our motor yacht design involvement will be growing further in the near future!