Some of the brightest prospects in the superyacht industry converged on Rotterdam for the second edition of the Annual Young Designers Getaway. The two-day event, which ran from April 18-19 and is jointly organised by Oceanco and Bolidt, created a relaxed and collaborative atmosphere for the next generation of superyacht designers to freely share ideas with their peers and industry experts alike.
As with the inaugural event, day one began with a private tour of Oceanco’s headquarters in Alblasserdam for the finalists of the 2018 Young Designer of the Year Award; Nicolò Piredda, Damien Bovie, Aristotelis Betsis, Gianmarco Cardia, Francesco Conte, Yilin Huang, Elizabeth Kozlova, Guehun Lee and Filippo Phelan.
The young designers were given a chance to pitch their designs to Oceanco senior management, before working together on a case study to design the perfect owner. The visit to Oceanco culminated in a behind-the-scenes look at an in-build superyacht.
Day one continued at Bolidt’s nearby headquarters, where the synthetic decking specialist behind Esthec explained how it has contributed to such high-profile yachts as Okto, Madame Gu and Samar to name but three. The designers were then taken on a tour of the in-house research and development department, which is currently working on sensor decking — offering a potential boon for superyacht security.
The designers were then given a chance to get hands-on with synthetic materials by creating their own design for a self-levelling floor by mixing different coloured pourable resins. Next year’s event will take in the new Bolidt experience centre, which is due to open in early 2019.
The first day was capped off with a high-speed RIB ride into the centre of Rotterdam, where the young designers were treated to a three-course meal at Brasserie Kaat Mossel.
Day two featured a new addition to the schedule, as the young designers were joined by more than a dozen finalists from previous years at the RAAF Rotterdam creative centre. Representatives from Oceanco, Bolidt, Jean Boulle Luxury, Waterstudio NL, BMT Group, VBH and Luxury Hospitality Academy all gave presentations on the evolving nature of the industry before Peter Economides of Felix BNI explained the day’s central task — to design the ideal superyacht for a millennial owner. The brief was for an 80-140 metre yacht with a focus on transparency, sharing, connectivity and artificial intelligence.
The young designers were divided into five groups and given just 45 minutes to conceive an exterior design, support platform, hospitality areas and client-facing systems, which were then explained in a two-minute pitch and subsequent Q&A session. The expert judging panel was impressed by the volume of fresh ideas generated in such a short space of time.
Paris Baloumis, group marketing manager at Oceanco, concluded by explaining the importance of tasks such as this: “The number of billionaires worldwide continues to rise and yet the number entering our industry is not increasing at the same rate. It is our responsibility to make sure we don’t lose the next generation of superyacht owners. Not all owners know what they want until they see it and that’s why young designers have to be provocative and not reactive.”