Preview: 9 Superyacht Design Symposium topics explained

The keynotes

The Superyacht Design Symposium is one of the biggest events in the yacht design world and this year’s conference will be held in Kitzbuhel from February 5-7. To get you up to speed, we explain the major topics up for discussion at the 2017 event.

The keynote interviews are always a major talking point and this year we will be hearing from two industry icons. Luca Bassani is the founder and president of Wally Yachts, a world-famous brand which has created everything from sailing yachts to powerboats and from tenders to displacement superyachts. Bassani will be in conversation with Sacha Bonsor, editor-in-chief of Boat International.

Photo: Helmut Newton

The keynotes

Leonardo Ferragamo is a name synonymous with Nautor’s Swan and the group executive chairman will also be speaking at the Superyacht Design Symposium. The Finnish sailing yacht brand recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Ferragamo will be talking about the company’s history as well as the flagship Swan 115 range, which has spawned four hulls in its first two years, including Solleone, his latest sailing yacht.

The concept: Fantasy or reality?

With the rise of CAD technology, there is certainly no shortage ofwild superyacht concepts being created these days, but do these ambitious designs actually help the industry? How many of them will actually get made? And do young designers feel like they have to create ever more radical ideas just to get noticed? All this and more will be discussed by our panel, including: Timur Bozca, founder of Bozca Designs, Vincenzo Poerio, CEO of Benetti, Ronno Schouten, design manager at Feadship / De Voogt Naval Architects, and Richard Woolley, design studio director at Jaguar Land Rover.

The future lab

Features that we take for granted today, like beach clubs on yachts, swimming pools in basements and casinos on private jets, would have seemed unfathomable only twenty years ago. So what will the key design features of tomorrow be? How will we have fun and stay fit, both at home and on the move? Discussing this topic will be: Mike Fisher, creative director and founder of Studio Indigo, Charlie Hagan, managing partner and head of training and nutrition at Hagan & Pappin, Marnix Hoekstra, creative director at Vripack, and interior designer Celia Sawyer.

Is it time for a yacht design revolution?

The industry is often criticised for being too slow-moving and traditional, but who are the innovators driving yacht design forward? Are designers ever tempted to play it safe in order to make their concepts easier to sell? Should designers lead the way, or is the client always right? Discussing everything from lighting to layouts will be: Jonny Horsfield, owner and design director at H2 Yacht Design, Peder Eidsgaard founder of Eidsgaard Design, interior designer Peter Mikic, and Guillaume Rolland, yacht design director at Studio Liaigre.

Legends vs. the new generation

The Superyacht Design Symposium is a great springboard for young designers, with the best of the new generation honoured as part of the Young Designer of the Year Award. At this year’s symposium, we will be pitting some of the best young talent against some of the industry’s most established names. They will be discussing how to get your big break in the industry, whether yacht design degrees are necessary, and whether established designers can ever feel trapped by their own legacy. Our panel will include: Terence Disdale, founder of Disdale Design, Martin Francis, founder of Francis Design Limited, Andrew Winch, founder and creative director of Winch Design, exterior designer Raphael Laloux, Rob Armstrong, creative director at ThirtyC, and Rebecca Sawyer from Reymond Langton Designs.

Brand and marketing bootcamp

With so many competing brands, how can you make sure yours stands out from the crowd? Our panel will discuss how to get ahead and stay ahead in such a competitive industry. Key speakers include: Sara Gioanola, PR and press office manager at Heesen Yachts, Adam Leigh, strategy director at W Communications and Jeremy Roche, sales and marketing director at Wider Yachts.

Photo: Guillaume Plisson

On board tech for tomorrow

Sponsored by Videoworks

The Internet of Things is not the future; it is here. Everything is interconnected, from AV to IT. All this new technology and integration has the potential to change superyacht design, from interiors to the way we communicate on board. This session touches upon some exciting recent developments in AV and the way they may reshape interior design, but also delves into some of the operational challenges that increased integration and interconnectivity may cause from a design and operational point of view. Discussing this topic will be: Bob Corcoran, Captain of Samar, Hans Konings, design manager at Amels, and Maurizio Minossi, technical director at Videoworks.

Photo: Harris Grant

Owners' panel

What does the future look like from those in the control seat? Delegates at the 2017 Superyacht Design Symposium will be able to hear from a selection of superyacht owners who will talk about what they hope to see next in both the industry and design. These will include: Bill Duker, owner of Sybaris, Ron Gibbs, owner of Elysium, Roy Nasser, owner of Bina (pictured above), Paola Trifiró, owner of Ribelle and World Superyacht Awards judge Thomas Haffa.

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