Superyacht Design Symposium 2018: How new markets will shape the yachting industry

The palate of designers is widening

From global expansion to attracting the next generation of owners, all sectors of the yachting industry will be keen to attract clients from non-traditional luxury markets. At the 2018 Superyacht Design Symposium we heard from four key industry figures who have enjoyed success in engaging with these extreme markets. Here’s what we learned…

Azimut-Benetti made waves in September 2017 when it announced that it had teamed up with Mexican architect Fernando Romero for its latest project, the 77 metre Se77antasette concept (pictured above). Romero is a new name in the yachting world, having previously worked on the New Mexico City International Airport and the Soumaya Museum. The yard’s vice-president Giovanna Vitelli thinks that such non-traditional design partnerships are key to attracting new markets:

"I think it’s time to open the doors to other industries because the kind of luxury that we are experiencing out there is in luxury hotels and our customers are going to these hotels, they don’t necessarily want yachting design. In emerging markets, people often have no past in yachting, so you can really dare to dream.”

Extreme isn’t all about size

The subject of the 2018 Superyacht Design Symposium is the New Extremes, and our panel members all interpreted that in different ways. For Dan Lenard, co-founder of Nuvolari-Lenard, it not always a case of size matters.

"We have to remember that we are on the sissy side of the boating industry,” he said. "What we call a big yacht is small for commercial ships. It is not the size that makes a superyacht special, but rather the complexity of what is on board.”

The industry’s reputation still needs work

As the author of The Sunday Times Rich List, journalist John Arlidge combined knowledge of the super-rich with a valuable outsider’s perspective on how the superyacht world is perceived, and he believes that there is still plenty of work to do to improve the reputation of the industry.

"You will know you’ve succeeded when superyacht owners are no longer depicted on shows like McMafia and Riviera as the ultimate sign of a rich villain,” he said.

However, Arlidge does see plenty of potential for changing this, adding, "I think you’ve got more wiggle room in emerging markets because people listen more to innovative ideas.”

Extreme markets don’t conform to type

Bringing experience from both the superyacht and private jet markets, Winch Design CEO Aino Leena Grapin explained that not all clients have the kind of taste that you might expect.

"We're more likely to do a Zen Japanese interior for a European client, while Chinese clients want the best of Europe,” she revealed. "One of our oldest clients is pushing us to do bold, new things and we have clients in their 30s who are very traditional. You can’t impose your style on them, sometimes you just have to shut up and listen."

Read more

Sponsored listings