Croatian yacht designer Ana Ceovic, who has earned the attention of the world's leading yacht designers, talks to us about her beginnings and ideas that guide her in building her career.
Ana has had a chance to participate in 2021 Young Designer of the Year Award organised by BOAT International in association with Oceanco, a competition that attracted the most talented of young designers.
The task was to create a design proposal for a go-anywhere expedition yacht whose owner had specified a strict set of parameters. The judges considered that Ana's design not only met the requirements of the task document, but also demonstrated her ability to create a workable, precisely-drawn general arrangement plan. Additionally, they felt that she showed excellent ability at hand sketching, a skill that, even for these days of digital design, they still consider vital.
we have had a chance to catch up with Ana to find out more about her and the ideas that guide her through her work.
How did you find yourself in the world of superyacht design?
I was always passionate about boats, since I was a child and always felt connected to the sea. I loved walking through the marines and analysing different yachts, the boat trips with my family, sailing and fishing with my father. My notebooks were always full of yacht doodles.
When I was 14, I found out there was a school in Italy teaching yacht design and I took Italian lessons the same year. Four years later, I enrolled Transportation Design course at IED Turin. Upon my graduation I was offered an Internship at Luca Dini Design where I stayed for a year. After the internship, I decided to get my Master's degree in Yacht Design at Politecnico di Milano and then did another internship at Vitruvius Yachts in London. Designing yachts was always my dream.
How would you describe your design style?
I always try to make something fresh and modern but not lose that special onboard feeling. I like to call it 'luxurious minimalism'. However, my design style is still evolving.
You won the 2021 Young Designer of the Year Award with your design of Phoenix expedition yacht. Can you tell us what was the idea behind the design?
Project Phoenix is a design for an expedition yacht. The thought behind this design was to accomplish balance between functionality, comfort and elegance. The owner's objective is to explore Northern seas/shores. To contrast the cold landscapes, as well as its functional robust exterior, the interior of the yacht is warm, designed with mostly natural materials and lots of wooden surfaces, giving it a sauna-like feeling.
How long does a yacht design process usually take from conception to a finished design?
Usual time is 1-3 years. It really depends on the size of the yacht, the amount of changes made, the owner's requirements, whether or not the design studio is also providing the technical and workshop drawings or it is done by the third party etc.
How do you integrate crew welfare and comfort in your yacht design?
First and foremost, I make sure to follow the rules and regulations. After that I look at giving the crew as much extra space and comfort as possible wherever I can. Another very important thing is making the logical and practical circulation plan. The crew has to be comfortable moving around the yacht and doing their job.
Yacht crew often point out that yacht designers tend to sacrifice practicability for design so the crew don't have enough storage space or can't really access things they need for work. Is this something you take into consideration when designing?
So far, where I have interned, special attention was always brought to the storage spaces and crew area, always leaving a bit extra. After all, it is one of the first areas you create when making the GA, the first thing being logical circulation plan. You work with the space you have following the regulations and try to make the best of it.
Who are some of your favourite yacht designers and why?
Philippe Briand for the beautiful, efficient, sleek hulls and 'less is more' kind of exterior. Less might be more but all the lines of his exteriors are thought through and beautifully designed. Other designers I look up to are Dykstra Architects and Sinot. Dykstra for their beautiful, elegant and romantic classical boats that embellish the sea and space around them. And finally, Sinot for their forward thinking, innovative and 'one of a kind' design concepts.
What are a few well known superyachts that you are especially fond of?
Some of my favourites are Najiba by Vitruvius Yachts, Rainbow by Dykstra, Sinot's Art of Life. A motor yacht, A sailing yacht and a MY concept.
What are your views on environmental sustainability when designing yachts?
I find it very important, however, I am not an engineer so my ideas for environmental sustainability are mostly conceptual. It is important to have an efficient hull.
Few examples of small contributions to the environmental sustainability would be my college project where I designed a yacht gym to generate electrical power from the kinetic motion of exercising, excluding the air conditioning system from my SY design by creating a sufficient airflow circulation through the hull and using sustainable materials for the interior.
What kind of designs do you envision yacht owners of the future will want to see?
I think the new generation of owners will want a fresher and lighter design. I imagine the future of yacht design with more organic shaped interior spaces, more connection to the sea and nature, more greenery. Why have your holiday space designed like a metropolis apartment when you can have a relaxing, moving paradise island for yourself.
If you were designing a yacht for yourself, what would it look like and where would you take it?
I would be designing a classical sailing yacht with a modern twist. Imagine the design being something like 'Dykstra meets Sinot'. I would like my yacht to have that feeling you can't get at home. I would like it to represent an escape from the city and offer maximum connection to the sea. It would be my own exotic island and I'd sail around the Mediterranean.