Inside Young Designer of the Year Thibaud Le Merdy’s Oceanco internship
The internship

The 2017 Young Designer of the Year Award in association with Oceanco saw Thibaud Le Merdy scoop the top prize for a student designer. As part of his prize, he spent three months in the Dutch yard’s Monaco office, benefitting from the design team's vast experience. Here he explains the key things he learned...

I can honestly say, it was one of the best work experiences I have had. The design team really took care of me and shared their knowledge and expertise of superyachts. Every day was a pleasure and confirmed that choosing to work in the yachting world is the best decision I have made.

Le Merdy accepts the award from Olympic gold medallist Shirely Robertson and Oceanco's Paris Baloumis

Preparing a concept for a client

When I arrived at Oceanco, I already had a year’s experience in the world of yachting, but they gave me the opportunity to entirely manage the preliminary concept for a 100 metre-plus yacht. The design team guided me step-by-step, showing me how to organise my work and push the design loop in the most efficient way possible. At the end of the internship, I was very proud to be able to present the finished concept to the sales department.

Comète was Le Merdy's winning entry for the 2017 Young Designer of the Year Award

Layouts and technical knowledge

Being in charge of the full design process helped me cultivate all the necessary skills for a yacht designer. I used to specialise in 3D modelling and exterior design, so I used the internship to focus on improving my skills in layouts and rendering. The design team taught me the technical requirements to create an accurate general arrangement, while I tried to bring innovative ideas to propose new general arrangement solutions. I also had plenty of time to work on my renderings. I learnt as much as possible about this very technical phase of design, which is very important for a designer.

Managing client expectations

The three-month internship also taught me to understand the wishes of the client and try to bring them to life in the most accurate way. The task can become even harder when you have to design an entire boat on speculation, as you have to ask yourself what the client would like. For a young designer this is always very difficult, but I was able to learn much more about it thanks to the expertise of Oceanco.

Learning the Oceanco way

Finally, it was very important for me to see, from the inside, how a leading yacht company works. I used to work in a smaller design studio, so it was very informative to see how the hierarchy is set up, learn the role of every department and discover how Oceanco built up and maintains such high standards.

The winner of the 2018 Young Designer of the Year Award will be announced in Kitzbuhel on January 28, chosen from the nine finalists' designs.