Interview with Dickie Bannenberg : design elements


Interview with Dickie Bannenberg

categories Designer, Interviews, Yachts    

“It starts with one person’s imagination…”

Bannenberg & Rowell

Recently I had a cyber sit down with Dickie Bannenberg – managing director of Bannenberg & Rowell – the superyacht design company with a magnificent portfolio of more than 200 mega yachts founded by his father Jon in the beginning of the 60’s. “Before Bannenberg, yacht design did not really exist as a distinct occupation. Naval architects designed what they hoped were efficient and good-looking hulls and left the shipyard to complete the interior.” Do you hear the waves and smell the sea water coming from your desktop? Enjoy!

How did you first get in touch with yacht design?

Growing up with my father meant that I was aware of yachts and the world of design from a very early age. My parents would take me to shipyards, launches and sometimes on board a friend’s yacht. My dad would often work in his study at home so I would see him at his drawing board. I only actually joined my father’s firm in the late 1980s.

You attended the best “yacht design school” in the world – The Jon Bannenberg school. How had your father Jon influenced you?

My father’s enthusiasm and drive was very powerful. I can’t pretend to be just like him (no one will ever be) but I hope I have some of his qualities. He never let anyone forget that no one actually needs a yacht and that we are all only in business thanks to people making these huge investments. So the process of building a yacht has got to be not only pain-free but something hugely exciting for the yacht owner. My dad got on with everyone. I hope I am the same in that respect.

How does a world-leading designer go about creating the marvels we see on the water?

Well, we take a brief from the client and go from there. Sometimes that brief is clear and detailed. Sometimes there’s hardly anything to go on. Either way, you’ve got to create an identity from which to build on.

What are the biggest challenges in yacht interior design?

I think they are related to your earlier question: it still amazes me the number of times we have someone – client, broker, shipyard – talk about modern classic, or classic modern. What does this mean? It’s a incredibly elastic definition of style which is actually useless. But it is often trotted out and the hard bit is not only to try and ascertain what is actually meant, but also to make sure that it doesn’t also mean some kind of ultra-safe middle ground where there are no risks and no excitement. All other challenges – technical, regulatory and budgetary can be overcome, some with more pain and stress than others!

The SuperYacht World chose 9 Bannenberg yachts including the outright winner in the “50 Most Beautiful Yachts Ever”. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

The SuperYacht world list was in relation to exteriors so all are, by definition, my Dad’s. I still think Carinthia VI (now The One) was fantastically ground-breaking. I hesitate to use the word iconic now as it has become rather overused. When she appeared, it was with the same sense of shock and awe as perhaps Rising Sun did before my father died. She was truly radical yet now is regarded with great affection as a subtle and elegant yacht. But I think the sheer variety of designs, all recognisably off the Bannenberg drawing board, were his greatest achievement.

What do you love to do when you are not designing?

I have my wonderful wife and two kids aged 18 and 15. So life revolves around them. Remaining time is split between rowing for my club (Tideway Scullers School) in all types of boat and trying to improve my saxophone playing.

What are your favorite books?

I have a small stack of books in various stages of completion. I need a bit more discipline. Something on the History of the British Empire, a book about the Vietnam war, and half-way through a biography of Herbert von Karajan.

What would the yacht you would design for yourself looks like?

I wouldn’t want anything big! I thought the 39m Feadship SL Kathleen Anne gave you everything you could possible want in terms of space. And I would want anti-bling. Anti-glitz. Set up for living in shorts and bare feet.

What are the most important yacht design elements?

Excitement, cohesion, elegance, identity, practicality.

photos: Bannenberg & Rowell Design


21 Kommentare zu “Interview with Dickie Bannenberg”

  1. classiq am 14.09.2011 um 10:39 Uhr 

    Great interview, Maria! Always a pleasure to read your interviews with talented designers. I love Jon Bannenberg’s philosophy: never forget that no one actually needs a yacht…A person who has accomplished so much and doesn’t lose touch with reality deserves all the admiration.

  2. Miss Ewig am 14.09.2011 um 10:43 Uhr 

    Interesting interview!! Thank U!!

    Xxx :D

  3. Tereza am 14.09.2011 um 17:37 Uhr 

    Maria, wonderful interview.
    Your interviews are fantastic, I’m waiting for next one.
    He is an interesting man, thank you for sharing.
    Big hugs

  4. Marianne am 14.09.2011 um 18:18 Uhr 

    Ist ein interessanter Mann mit sehr schönen Ideen ;-)

  5. Alexa am 14.09.2011 um 21:04 Uhr 

    Oooh fancy and luxurious!

  6. Kelly @ JAX does design am 14.09.2011 um 22:13 Uhr 

    Wow – most homes aren’t decorated as well as this! Considering the line of work he’s in, Mr. Bannenberg sounds like a very humble, down-to-earth man. I think a yacht designed for living in shorts & bare feet would be perfect :-)

  7. SizzleandZoom am 15.09.2011 um 08:37 Uhr 

    Very interesting interview. Beautiful interior designs of the yachts.

  8. Shelly Gregory am 15.09.2011 um 12:03 Uhr 

    Hi Maria! I am up well over an hour and a half before my usual, so I had to take a moment to visit!I have always had a love for yachting (and sail-boating)! Therefore it makes sense that I would equally love one of the designers. He had me at “I have my wonderful wife and two kids aged 18 and 15. So life revolves around them”. Wow, loves his work and his family………can’t get any better on the yacht than that! xo

  9. Priscilla Joy am 15.09.2011 um 16:47 Uhr 

    One person’s imagination indeed.
    Love the yachts.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Smile loads

  10. cabbagerose am 15.09.2011 um 17:31 Uhr 

    dickie is wonderful…love his work. thank you for the introduction. yachts are so fascinating in terms of both luxury and practicality. great interview, as usual, maria. xx

  11. kat+muse am 15.09.2011 um 18:25 Uhr 

    Such an interesting interview about an area of design that few of us are aware of. Thank you for sharing–amazing stuff!

    Hugs! Hope you’re having a great week :)

  12. mary jo am 15.09.2011 um 18:52 Uhr 

    You know I’m such a fan of all things maritime/nautical Maria–this interview was beyond FABULOUS!

    xo Mary Jo

  13. Kristin am 15.09.2011 um 19:40 Uhr 

    Wow….loooove this, Maria! I wouldn’t had done anything differently about this boat. So stylish! Great interview!!!

    Love, Kistin

  14. Joanna am 15.09.2011 um 20:22 Uhr 

    Talented and most of all cool imagination. The yachts are so stunning. Great post, check out also 3D Rendering

  15. Meta Musings am 16.09.2011 um 04:13 Uhr 

    Lovely interview as always, Maria! This has sparked my interest in yacht design! xx

  16. Splendid Willow am 17.09.2011 um 21:49 Uhr 

    A Yacht Designer with an education from the the best “yacht design school” in the world!! What an interesting and fascinating interview, Maria! I love when he describes modern classic as a very elastic term (I agree). And I also love that he wants less glitz in his own life. It is the same with the 5 star chefs in the world (who have seen and sampled the best) – they just long for simple and non-contrived dishes at home. That means that they come along way! (:

    Happy weekend!


  17. Kathy am 17.09.2011 um 23:31 Uhr 

    A great interview……thanks for sharing…k

  18. Pamela Ravek am 18.09.2011 um 06:35 Uhr 

    Wonderful interview, Maria. Delightful to read his views and thoughts. A person I’d love to meet – exquisite taste, great values, good heart, great business person.

  19. Rowaida Flayhan am 18.09.2011 um 18:26 Uhr 

    Love your interview Maria. His work is beautiful.

  20. Eddie Ross am 19.09.2011 um 05:24 Uhr 

    Such a great interview and so interesting. We definitely heard the waves smelled the sea as we read this. Thanks for the great post!
    xo E + J

  21. mary jo am 19.09.2011 um 22:00 Uhr 

    I can see why you like this–it’s airy, moody, and rustic all at once! Just lovely! Happy Monday Maria!

    xo Mary Jo

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