For the first time the young designer accolade was split into two categories: students and young professionals. Thibaud Le Merdy’s design was chosen as the best from the student category, while Eric Laurent came out on top in the professional category.
The judging panel complimented Laurent on the mix of hand-drawn sketches and CGI renderings for his concept Hearsay (pictured above), which were described as “practical, detailed and accomplished”.
Meanwhile, Le Merdy’s Comète concept (pictured below) edged ahead in a very competitive field for its combination of “modernity and elegance”.
Speaking at this evening’s awards ceremony in Kitzbuhel, Le Merdy said: “To win the Young Designer of the Year, the feeling is insane, I am very proud of my project and I am very, very happy about this.” Laurent was equally delighted, adding: “It was a breathtaking feeling, my heart is still beating, actually. To get this industry recognition is amazing. This the first step, and I hope it won't be the last.”
This year's task required all entrants to create an 80 metre concept and two tenders — one for general use and one to serve as a limousine. The judging panel revealed that picking the winners was particularly difficult, adding: "This year’s entries were of an extremely high standard. All displayed excellent design talent as well as a broad understanding of superyachts."
Although there could only be two winners this year, none of the finalists can be too downhearted, as all of them will be treated to an exclusive visit to Dutch superyacht yard Oceanco to pick up valuable tips from some of the biggest names in the industry.