Laurent Giles Advance Technical Yacht Services

By Ben Roberts

Laurent Giles is one of the most formidable superyacht architecture firms in the UK, and after working on recent projects such as the 85m Icon Yachts concept 'Britannia', we speak to Naval Architect Nick Burton to gain an insight into how the company is expanding and bringing technical services to the forefront of their business.

Laurent Giles and H2 Yacht Design announced a partnership last September, how have things evolved since then?

"The link was developed with the aim of improving technical knowledge sharing between the two companies. This was done due to the ever increasing pressure placed upon designers and Naval Architects to adhere to more stringent regulations. We feel that in sharing our knowledge at an earlier stage of the design process we can more quickly achieve a workable design and hopefully prevent unforeseen difficulties further through the design spiral.

This has certainly paid dividends in both Laurent Giles and H2s recent projects, which have used this principle to great affect as can be seen in the Brittania project for Icon Yachts."

As the leading UK Superyacht Architecture firm, what initiatives are you implementing to stay ahead of the curve?

"Our recent rebranding aimed to reaffirm our position in the sector, while keeping close to the long standing values of the company.

We have recently been working on several new designs, for which we have been applying some of the most up to date regulations. We have been working through the initial design stages of a Passenger Yacht Code vessel, of which there have only been a handful designed. We have also begun familiarizing ourselves with the newest iteration of the Large Yacht Code, LY3. We strive to keep ourselves current with the newest rules and regulations."

How are you expanding the technical services and project management side of your studio?

"Laurent Giles have always been involved in technical services and project management. However in our recent rebranding, which can be seen on our website, it was decided that this side of the firm would be developed and pushed more to the forefront. Technical services simply extend our depth of knowledge to projects on site to work closely with the project management and build teams during the construction process.

With our technical knowledge and extensive experience of superyachts, project management is an obvious branch to our business. We are able to offer project management services anywhere in the world for any yacht project."

What approach do you take to new projects in regards to challenging the status quo of naval architecture?

"We like to think of ourselves as a "yes" naval architects. There is a string of events that need to happen in the concept stage of a yacht. The owner will have an idea, the designer will create the idea, the naval architect will engineer the idea and the yard will finally build the idea. It is our task to take the designers concept and develop a package for the yard to build.

Designers will always be pushing to create the next big splash and with this comes increasingly bold and off the wall concepts. With our "yes" attitude we work hard to keep the concept as close to the designers as possible. It is not for us to tell the owner that what he wants isn't achievable; it's for us to find solutions."

Your last official project was on the technical platform of the 85m Icon motor yacht ‘Britannia’ – what can you tell us about this project?

"The Icon 85metre platform was initially an engineering platform for Icon Yachts. It was then decided that H2 would develop a design to fit the platform. This is where Britannia grew from. Britannia gave Laurent Giles and H2 the opportunity to test the idea of collaboration between the design and technical sides of the concept."

How important is it to British design and the Superyacht Industry as a whole that new talent is harvested to keep things fresh?

"Here at Laurent Giles we like to promote development of young naval architects through offering work placements within our office. Employing students for the summer or even weekly work helps enhance their academic learning by offering a commercial perspective. The commercial side of the business is an invaluable experience for a student, which will inevitably help them in future job applications and ongoing careers.

It is hugely important to keep the level of Naval Architecture that we are currently at. This is very important to us and the industry as a whole."

By Ben Roberts
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