Young Designer of the Year Award Winners – Where Are They Now?

Adam Voorhees, 2010 winner

Design: Ra, 66m diesel/electric motor yacht

With an emphasis on multifunctionality and transformability, the winning Young Designer of the Year Award design for 2010 was the 66-metre Ra by California-based post grad, Adam Voorhees — who returned to the competition after being named a finalist in 2009. Inspired by the Egyptian sun god Amun-Ra, the design explored interactions with light to reinforce guests’ connection with the sea. Not only did the concept fully comply with RINA Green Star Plus criteria, it also specified build materials of fully recyclable aluminium and composites.

After his impressive design won him the coveted Neptune, Voorhees unveiled an array of collaborative designs with industry’s leading names. His first superyacht project — the 25-metre sailing yacht Aandeel — launched in 2013. Currently, Voorhees has a variety of design work underway, including a series update with LeBreton Yachts and a Bruce Farr racing yacht refit. Voorhees also teaches at his alma mater, the ArtCenter College of Design, dabbles in residential interior design, is creating a line of outdoor furniture for an American brand, and writes occasionally for Boat International Media’s Megayachts book.

Maila Speitkamp-Thon, 2009 winner

Design: Draconis, 43.6m multihull with low carbon footprint

As the talk of environmental responsibility reached a crescendo in 2009, the second annual Young Designer of the Year competition awarded German industrial design student Maila Speitkamp the coveted Neptune for her design, Draconis. This 43.6-metre luxury catamaran boasted not only a low carbon footprint, but innovative folding sail wings and the ability to transform into a motor yacht as well.

Draconis was the thesis project for Speitkamp’s studies in Industrial Design at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Upon graduation, Speitkamp became a freelance designer working on yacht projects and spent several years lecturing on yacht styling at her alma mater’s Institute of Ship Technology and Transport Systems department. Today, Speitkamp and her husband Adrian Thon run industrial design firm Thon Design, in Essen, Germany, which specialises in machinery and equipment, measuring devices, electro-mobility and smart home appliances, among other applications.

Fadi Pataq, 2008 winner

Design: Pelagia, 70.26m steel/aluminium motor yacht

Words by Rebecca Cahilly

The inaugural Young Designer of the Year competition saw 40 entries from 12 countries, but it was American product design student Fadi Pataq and his 70.26 metre steel and aluminium motor yacht design, Pelagia, who took home the prize. At a time when 70 metre projects were few and far between, Pelagia was not only beautiful and artistic in design, but received a nod for her careful balance of form and function.

Since receiving the Neptune in April 2008, Pataq has worked with Chicago-based information technology firm TZ Intevia, but followed his passion for yacht design when a chance introduction at the Monaco Yacht Show led him to Abu Dhabi Mar. Much of his early work was on military vessels and patrol boats, but Fadi’s first superyacht project was significant — he was responsible for the exterior styling of the the 141-metre Swift141, Yas, one of the ten biggest superyachts in the world. Pataq is currently the Creative Director of Nobiskrug in Germany.