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SDF 2020: 'Avoid Wow Factor', Disdale Tells Designers

6 February 2020• Written by Miranda Blazeby

Legendary superyacht designer Terence Disdale has revealed the secrets to his success at BOAT International's Superyacht Design Festival.

Speaking at the event, Disdale presented his “ten commandments” of yacht design, which were united by the importance of restraint and simplicity.

Terence Disdale urges designers to keep things simple. “We avoid the wow factor like the plague"

Disdale, who has penned more than 100 yachts in his time, including the 165 metre Eclipse and 92.4 metre Tatoosh, argued that less is always more.

“We avoid the wow factor like the plague,” he said. “Nothing dates quicker. We prefer to think that we are creating future classics.” His clients are not on the hunt for “trend revolution”, he said.

“People come to us because they enjoy that casual, laidback look.”

As a result, Disdale argued that yacht design should have “more in common with a beach house than a penthouse” to reflect guests’ relaxed state of mind on board.

Terence Disdale has penned more than 100 yachts in his time, including the 165 metre Eclipse and 92.4 metre Tatoosh

“Most guests on a yacht are already in beach mode,” he said. “If you create a serious, gilded environment, they’ll never be comfortable.”

He urged fellow superyacht designers to concentrate on simplifying their designs, comparing them to “car designers” who “don’t know when to stop.”

“It’s another scallop in the door, another dent here and it’s becoming the same for superyachts – they don’t know when to quit because they want to be different,” he said.

“It’s a hard thing to teach but it’s an important thing for us – restraint is an important tool in my work box.”

Terence Disdale penned the exteriors and interiors for one of the largest yachts in the world, Eclipse

Elsewhere in Disdale’s design “commandments”, he stressed the importance of textures over patterns.

“We love everything to be tactile,” he said. “Touch and feel are seriously important – whether it’s with your hands or with your feet.”

He used wooden floors as an example which, he insisted, should always be “hand planked, never machine planked.” The same rule applies to other furnishings, such as carpets.

“If it’s carpet, we never use wool unless it’s essential,” he said. “We always try to use bamboo because it’s cool to the touch.”