6 key talking points from the 2017 Superyacht Design Symposium

3D printing

The 2017 Superyacht Design Symposium was a hotbed of discussion between some of the biggest names of the industry, with several key issues being raised during panel discussions and Q&A sessions. We pick out six of the most important…

Gregory C Marshall’s presentation ‘3D printing a superyacht — it’s closer than you think’ certainly provoked a strong response from the delegates and speakers.

“3D printing can disrupt almost every aspect of our industry,” Marshall claimed. "Whatever we can imagine, we can now manufacture.”

The designer and naval architect also revealed that his studio is now working with the world’s first multi-headed metal printer, and he predicted that the first 3D printed tender could hit the water before the end of the decade.

Photo: Flickr / 3D Benchy

Copy and paste design

As expected, Luca Bassani’s keynote interview provided us with many inspirational talking points, but the most widely discussed was the idea of ‘copy and paste design’.

“I hope the next generation will stop doing copy and paste, because many of them are doing it and the media is reporting it,” Bassani (pictured above) said. "I don’t think that is correct for the market.”

Bill Duker, owner of Sybaris, picked up on this during the owners panel, adding: "They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I think imitation is the biggest waste of time. If you’re going to do something this big, this expensive, do something different."

Photo: Guillaume Plisson

New materials

The theme for this year’s Superyacht Design Symposium was ‘shaping the future’ and one key aspect of this was the materials that we will be using to build yachts in the future.

Futurist Tom Cheesewright spoke at length about the benefits of graphene, before North Sails’ Burns Fallow expanded on its potential uses in the yachting world.

"Graphene is probably the next material leap, but it is still some way away,” Fallow admitted. "If it does become mainstream, that would be quite a big leap forward.”

Photo: Flickr / UCL department of Mathemical and Physical Sciences

Stealth luxury

The rising popularity of explorer yachts like Ulysses (pictured above) was a hot topic at the 2017 Superyacht Design Symposium, with our Future Lab panel discussing the trend for more rugged aesthetics.

Mike Fisher, creative director and founder of Studio Indigo, described this as “a move towards stealth luxury”, adding that this was more common among clients from the US.

However, interior designer Celia Sawyer was not taken by this approach to designing a yacht. "Yachts should be glamorous and sexy, that’s the whole point,” she said. "There’s no point in hiding if you have a boat like that."

Network security

Technology on board is getting more and more powerful every year, but there is a potential downside to this, as delegates found out in the breakout session ‘on-board tech for tomorrow, sponsored by Videoworks'.

Maurizio Minossi (pictured above), technical director at Videoworks, argued that "network security is not a process that ends with delivery — it must be maintained.

"Everything can be locally controlled and remotely managed as well, but the service could also run into malfunctions or shutdowns, and this must not be allowed to happen.”

Bob Corcoran, captain of Samar, added that this was a particular concern when younger guests are on board: "We’ve had guests on board who want to try and hack into the system — the younger they are, the more they want to see what they can get into. The security aspect is huge because if they can start infiltrating other parts of the boat it can cause havoc."

Innovation for its own sake

With so much focus on the future of design, innovation was a keyword amongst the speakers, but the owners panel closed the symposium by urging an emphasis on practicality and avoiding innovation simply for its own sake.

Roy Nasser, owner of Bina (pictured above), said that superyacht wetrooms may be on trend, but can make life difficult for crew as just washing your hands can mean that the whole room has to be hosed down. "I think that innovation for the sake of innovation is pointless. I think there needs to be a balance,” he argued.

Ron Gibbs, owner of Elysium, concurred with this before adding: "I’m not convinced by superyacht beach clubs, because who wants to sit in the hull of a yacht when you can be in the water?"

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