Taking an unconventional research approach to designing a boat interior has proven that not being experts in the field of sailing can in fact turn out to be an asset.
In 2018, worldwide leading boat manufacturer Beneteau with over 120 years of experience building sailing yachts and motorboats, acquired our long-term client, the Slovenian sports sailboats manufacturer Seascape. Beneteau then abandoned the existing First program for Seascape/First 14, 24 and 27 sailboats known for their speed, agility, pleasure, and ease of use.
Our main target was to design a boat interior that would not only provide ergonomic and comfortable space but also enable and enhance the sailing experience. Our core challenge as non-nautical design experts was combining Beneteau’s design language with innovative solutions based on thorough and creative design research.
The process was initiated with in-depth design research of different user types, from families, and sports sailors, to boat dealers and racers. Two accompanying multi-disciplinary design sprints merged knowledge from active sailing, caravanning and general interiors. To put the new insights and ideas in the right context, especially those dealing with the ergonomics of space, we took a rather unconventional approach. We built a life-size mock-up which uncovered many new valuable insights and testing solutions.
Innovation directions from the research led to further creative project development. In the second stage, Beneteau was presented with our three innovation opportunities for the galley, diner, and double berth, all of which proposed different possibilities with particular emphasis on modularity and space perception. Overlapping interior functionalities, like the salon with the galley, allows the interior to appear more prominent.
We suggested a modular layout that can be adapted to various configurations while minimising weight. With the bar area linking the galley to the salon, the perception of space is bigger, transforming the salon into a proper lounge area. Other innovation features include repositionable pouffe stools, a storage cabinet, a pivoting sink block in the bathroom and bunks in aft cabins.
The desired effect of combining the comfort of cruising with sportive sailing on the Beneteau First 36 would not have been possible without the close collaboration of many experts involved in the whole design process. Nautical designer Lorenzo Argento oversaw the whole Beneteau exterior design language. Material and technological development was developed by Giovanni Belgrano of Pure Design & Engineering. The boat’s nautical performance was overseen by naval architect Sam Manuard. Sito contributed to the development of various First 36 features by providing front-end innovation, full-scale mock-ups and overall interior design of this exciting boat.