A superyacht is often a physical reflection of the owner’s vision. The shape, the interior, and the colours are almost always personalised to suit the owner’s individual style and the finished result derives from the designer’s interpretation of the owner’s personal taste and requirements. Whilst this same interpretation process may well apply to some extent to the integrated technicals systems themselves in terms of system set up and delivered functionality, more often than not, when it comes to onboard AV technology itself, there is minimal adaptation and design focused innovation. Despite there being plenty of solutions to creatively integrate AV technology into the interior design of a yacht, this is an area that still falls short on many levels. Stefan van Cleef, Creative Director and Co-founder of Oculus Technologies, reveals his thoughts on the integration of technology into the interior design.

In order to reach the highest achievable outcome in any team-driven creative process, I believe that a holistic and iterative approach is the most productive and successful method. This is something I was taught repeatedly at university while studying design engineering but at that stage, had yet to experience. Books, articles, papers, talks, they all reiterate, and still do, this key approach. Now, several years on and with actual experience on my side as well, I have to admit, they are correct. Everything I experienced in the 10 years in my work as a designer and entrepreneur of multimedia products and experiences has all led to the very same conclusion. This holistic and iterative approach is absolutely applicable when it comes to integrating technology with interior design for superyachts. Wanting to achieve the absolute best result and ultimate creativity from the fundamentals of many creative projects that superyachts generate. At Oculus Technologies we often provided with a concept or an issue to solve and tasked with finding the best possible solution.  One that pushes boundaries, challenges the parameters of design and technology as we know them but absolutely delivers on experience. In fact, it is how some of our best work has been achieved. The industry itself features some mind-blowing examples of iconic and sophisticated creations owned by happy and proud clients as a result of this very approach. Unfortunately for the industry, these incredible creations remain the minority and many misguided attempts at such projects often end up missing the mark. This usually applies to those where the creative process has been overlooked, squeezed or fast tracked meaning reduced innovation and a ‘could have been great’ solution.

Our experience shows that the industry tends to limit itself in some respects when it comes to the integration of technology with interior design. The very nature of the build and decision-making process often demands compromise. Time constraints mean initial creativity and solution exploration is limited to what can be achieved. A lack of knowledge and general conservatism, even fear of pushing for more, all impact the end result. Too many times I have seen the basic process of creation simply not being executed properly resulting in nothing short of client disappointment and frustration.

So how do we guide this process to make sure the results are the highest achievable and so that they also reflect the owner’s true original vision? A disappointing end result is a harsh reality to face and following often oversimplified theoretical processes is a difficult ask when you faced with the complexities of the build or refit process and constraints. For us, as innovators and solution creators we strive to ensure the creation process leads to the best possible result and to do that we have to be able to develop the process, test, refine and finalise. So, let’s get back to the drawing board and see what it does take to steer integrating technology and creativity towards success…

In the process of every creation, the following steps always apply:

  1. Analysis of target group, context and the problem to solve
  2. Vision and goal forming, create design guidelines
  3. Start bouncing ideas at the vision and goal
  4. Select promising ideas and test and evolve them > learn and refine them
  5. Choose the best concept and go deeper and deeper into the learning and refinement cycle;
  6. Stop at a level where the concept is refined enough so it meets the guidelines set at 2.

We find that almost always, there is a desire for the industry to strip back each stage and find the quickest and easiest route through the process. Whilst efficient, it is not a move that generates the best results. So, what are the key factors that need to be addressed for the best results in integrating technology and interior design. In other words, what do we need to happen so that we don’t end up with an industry saddled with projects lacking in terms of experience and a high valued outcome? How do we ensure that project teams safeguard the owner’s vision and make avoid being left with less than ordinary:

  1. The yacht’s design / build team must be able to clearly communicate their vision and goal to any team member or subcontractor. They should be willing to repeat this over and over again and re-receivers are open to it.
  2. The yacht’s design / build team should invite professionals from other disciplines to look at the problems to solve and goals to achieve. These professionals should be willing to invest time and effort into this process.
  3. All stakeholders should be willing to invest in resources to test if a new idea has it in itself to become a mature solution. The willingness to make a mistake but also to know that you might hit gold. Therefore, it helps to have a first quick and dirty mockup or test asap. One where all stakeholders can shoot at it from their perspective and preferably this learning process should be carried out multiple times in a cycling and iterative learning process.
  4. Have a project manager who takes responsibility from the beginning of the creation process until beyond delivery and who understands exactly what is being created. Designers, engineers, constructors should all be at the table at the appropriate moments

Oculus Technologies B.V specialise in infotainment for the Yacht, Cruise and Aviation industries. The products and systems provide unique on-board interactive experiences and are specifically developed and designed for their relevant market.

For more information about Oculus Technologies, visit their website.