‘What does the future hold for the superyacht industry, and what is the mindset that we need to adopt to create it?’
Those were two of the questions posed by Peter Economides from Felix BNI at Oceanco NXT’s live roundtable on 20 October 2020, which brought together luminaries in the yachting, technology and design world to discuss how innovation and sustainability could transform the future of superyachts while supporting the global pursuit of zero environmental impact. With Oceanco’s goal of creating the most exciting superyachts for future generations, Oceaco NXT is their new pioneering initiative that lays out the best way to set new benchmarks by co-creating across a wide array of industries.
Kicking off the discussion, Marcel Onkenhout, CEO of Oceanco highlighted that the industry was lacking radical innovations, and instead relied on incremental improvements in a conservative market. Giles Taylor, Global Vice President of Design at FAW Group, compared yachting to the automotive industry, which started adapting to the future 15 years ago. The next generation coming through want new, exciting, responsible choices to be put in front of them, he said. Society is on the cusp of change where sustainability is cool and increasingly becoming a requirement with young customers. The “race is on”, he added “the big brands in automotive are already competing, and the yachting industry is on the grid and ready to go.”
In an industry where delivery of superyachts can take five years, embracing visionary owners who want to make innovative leaps is critical. Sanne Schenk and Tommy Kleerekoper of interior design and architectural firm Tank shared their conviction on how ambitious clients can rethink their choices and take an unconventional approach. The starting point, they explained, is the brief – listening to their desires, but making the answers more expansive. James Roy from Lateral added that as an industry we are not making it compelling enough for clients to take more risk when it comes to innovation in design; when the outcome can be uncertain, it’s up to the industry to make it compelling to innovate, and the rewards that can be gained by achieving this together. The award-winning 106.7m sailing yacht BLACK PEARL, designed by Oceanco is a prime example of this, Captain Chris Gartner explained, with the whole team coming together, from crew to designers, to co-create an evolutionary design of the luxurious, fast, efficient and ecologically friendly yacht whose vision was ultimately driven by the owner.
A recurrent theme throughout the discussion was the mindset that needed to be created within the industry to better respond to change. With other industries leaping ahead through harnessing futuristic technology, from Tesla to commercial shipping, there was a collective agreement that co-creation and collaboration was essential to ensure the superyacht industry kept pace with fast evolving technologies. By bringing together ideas, inspiration and partners from inside and outside the industry, this will amplify its ability to challenge boundaries, accelerate innovation and inspire meaningful changes that will create new legacies. This mindset change, it was argued, can only be created through our willingness to come together and find solutions through appreciating new, and different points of view.
Both Tank and Faw Group championed anthropomorphic designs as examples whereby human-centered design resulted in holistic products that reflected how people want to live, and the inter-generational shift being seen from the material to emotional experiences. From biophilic design to circadian lighting, an obsession with the customer and increased appetite for risk is what’s required for the industry to transform how time is spent on superyachts. The desire for sustainable options was also not necessarily a generational attribute, but instead being witnessed from ambitious and visionary owners from across the world who embrace a ’next generation mindset’ where innovation, enjoyment and ecological sustainability are seen to go hand in hand.
At YPI, we applaud Oceanco’s pioneering initiative Oceanco NXT. We are committed to facilitating global collaboration and partnerships that will drive the industry forward to a future of ecologically sustainable and innovative yachts. As Oceanco states, the future is now – and we all have a vital role to play.