German designer Valentin Weygand has a special, individual approach to design. Weygand (who was born near Stuttgart) won the Young Designer of the Year 2020 competition for his superyacht concept PLATO. Weygand has a holistic vision for the future of the yacht design industry.
The concept of the 87-meter yacht PLATO has many features: it even includes a wine cellar, an art gallery and a dining conservatory, which also houses a dance club. The aft main deck can be partially opened to allow a waterfall from the conservatory to fall into the beach club pool on the lower deck; there is also a gym, spa and swimming pools on the top deck and in the forward lounge.
The main driving force when creating any project is curiosity. This instinct is very important to me, and I believe in following it, especially at the beginning of the creative process. You need to be open to new opportunities, and also be able to evaluate those that can be used. Decision making is usually a mixture of intuition and experience. Over time, I created a collection – a kind of intellectual library that allowed me to connect various design points together, and, as a result, begin the design process with a clear vision of what the product should be, what environment it should work in and how it would interact with client. This is the basis of any good design and for me the most important part.
For me and my team, the design process is quite simple: we have clear guidelines that allow us to dive deeper into the project, meeting the milestones we set out from the beginning. The challenge is to combine all the ideas and optimize the organization of the process. We design with great emotion and thoughtfulness, drawing on our experience in naval architecture. A good example is the 100m+ sailing yacht that we conceptualized, where we fine-tuned everything down to the smallest detail, ensuring that the highest design standards were enhanced to exceptional quality. Efficiency was key!
Trends in yacht design
When it comes to style trends in our sector, an excellent indicator of future design trends is the automotive industry. In early 2000 we saw a strong move towards edgy, aggressive and stylish cars, soon followed by yachts such as the SKAT or CLOUDBREAK. But we as designers live in exciting times now – in my opinion, a new trend is on the verge of moving from cars to yachts. This means that the trend is sleek, timeless lines, where surface shape and overall elegance are more important than aggressiveness and pronounced lines. Mercedes-Benz is the leader of this movement. Another interesting fact about the new trend is that this kind of design is more difficult to achieve as it requires in-depth knowledge in advanced software and 3D modeling. as well as extensive experience in surface matching. This narrows the pool of elite designers who managed to get ahead of everyone else.
About the future
Technology is a gigantic assistant in the daily life of the planet and the means that separates our civilization from the first people. As we increase computing power, introduce new materials, and reduce key components, one thing becomes clear to me: we are only at the beginning of a highly connected, fast-living, and increasingly aware future.
I truly believe that progress is necessary to stay one step ahead. Being able to invent, innovate and move forward with new solutions and design ideas is what shapes ideas. For me, there is no progress in safety, convention and comfort – then design will lose everything that makes it special: passion, boldness and beauty. But we must respond even more quickly to changing conditions – especially if we are talking about developing a vaccine and strengthening the pharmaceutical sector. It’s important for all fields to develop the ability to work remotely without having to fly around the world several times a year just to meet. We must be flexible and agile to respond to future and current crises, including climate change. Only with progress and swift action will we be able to live good, healthy and safe lives in the decades to come.(International Experimental Fusion Reactor Project. The mission of ITER is to demonstrate the feasibility of commercial use of fusion reaction) is the most exciting, large, global, and hopefully efficient technology currently being developed for commercial use.
Many everyday items will soon become obsolete: home speakers and corded headphones, corded phones and other home equipment that can now be combined into one digital, centralized home operating unit. But old technology can always find a new use and thus be reused in an innovative way.
Regarding our field: the future of yachting and yacht design will develop in a more environmentally friendly direction. Luxury and exaggerated style, especially on the exterior, will become secondary as the concept of a yacht operating as a single organism becomes increasingly important. The relationship between well-thought-out naval architecture and design that prioritizes the onboard experience will continue to grow and is something that the next generation of yacht owners will value above all else. This will be an era of sophisticated, timeless beauty, when the vessel’s capabilities (range, autonomy, efficiency) will become conditions for high sales. Green technologies are becoming more accessible and easily integrated.
A popular phrase among designers is “good design is invisible.” I agree with it. This means that the best designs are unobtrusive as they are seamlessly integrated into the system. I’m usually not impressed by new standout designs, but rather by well-designed features. Items that are intuitive to use are more satisfying than those that are overloaded with features. Good design makes me smile when I least expect it.
We all have a responsibility to reduce the negative impact on our planet: we need to be aware of climate change and all its consequences not only for the earth, but also for us, its inhabitants. There are several options to reduce our negative impact: the most obvious is reducing our carbon footprint, waste generation, changing our diet, and so on. Companies have an even greater impact on the environment, but we as consumers have just as much influence on them and can change our own consumption habits. Governments around the world must work together to define sustainable development goals and ensure they are achieved.
Sustainability must be part of the design process, from the very beginning. But sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean just the planet’s resources, it also means human resources: health, education and well-being, financial health. No one wants to do without the comfort that brings the opportunities and things of current life. The challenge for modern design is to offer the same services, but in a more sustainable way. If you take the yacht industry, the goal is not to stop making them because they don’t meet green standards. The goal is to design yachts in an environmentally friendly way, using renewable energy sources (such as in sailing) or innovative engines, such as hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems.
For me, a homely atmosphere is the key to a comfortable and stable life. With people spending significant amounts of time at home to minimize the risk of the exponential spread of coronavirus, an environment that provides safety and security is becoming increasingly important. A connection to home and a sense of home has always been stronger during difficult times and will remain central to mental well-being. Therefore, a well-thought-out layout, efficient use of space and a welcoming, warm atmosphere will become a design trend and attract clients who will want to be prepared for the next pandemic that is sure to come one day.