Dickie Bannenberg: How the pandemic has changed the industry

Written by SuperYacht Times

This guest article was written by Dickie Bannenberg of Bannenberg & Rowell Design.

Recently I’ve been freely borrowing a quote from GQ Magazine: “We’re living in the age of sweatpants and are never going back.”

Whilst it’s important to record that there is not yet a pair of Bannenberg sweatpants (apart from for early morning runs) and that we have a number of clients who would have to be revived with smelling salts at the thought of this dress code, the general premise is valid. Current progress with vaccination roll out promises some sunlit uplands ahead in 2021. Some predict a new Roaring Twenties, a hedonistic rush in response to this extended period of suffering and restriction. But I’m not so sure. Instead, maybe it will indeed be a wave of relief, but a wave which is not about showing off and general excess. We think yachting will increasingly be about the soul; about relaxed and healthy living and, above all, about connecting with the environment.

Dickie BannenbergThere is an acceleration from exclusive to inclusive luxury. That inclusive luxury has to come as something which delivers an emotion and, in the case of yachting, I think that emotion is triggered by privacy, individuality and quality. We are seeing clients appreciating unconventional layouts and ideas. Who really wants to be able to walk through a yacht blindfolded and know with certainty that a main saloon will lead to a dining saloon and then to a lobby, and onwards to a master cabin via a study? Take it further – observation saloons where you weren’t expecting them; beach clubs and gyms close to the water with as little structure between them and the sea as the shipyard will let you get away with. An open galley where you can cook with your friends. A wheelhouse which is not just the domain of the captain and crew.Joy stern And it’s time to properly engage with the sustainability elephant in the yachting room. I was greatly encouraged by the recent inaugural round table of designers corralled together by the Water Revolution Foundation (Zoom-based, of course…) and the clear wish and intent to have clearer information and tools to be able to steer clients in the right direction. Not greenwash: the real deal as far as it can be done. Codified if necessary – it’s the least a wealthy industry should be aspiring to while homeowners and car drivers face their own new regulations.

Luxury is shaping up to be much more casual in 2021 and beyond. It sounds like an oxymoron. Actually, it fills me with confidence and reassurance.

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