Luxury Bespoke Furniture | DAVIDSON LONDON

DAVIDSON hosts superyacht design forum talk on virtual reality

Bespoke Luxury Furniture |

We love any opportunity to talk design, so when this year’s Superyacht Design Forum organisers got in touch to ask if we’d host one of their sessions at our showroom, we jumped at the chance.

The two-day Superyacht Design Forum is a unique opportunity for those in the design world to come together to exchange ideas and experiences. Each session is hosted by a different resident here at The Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour.

Since DAVIDSON are well known for our regular collaborations with yacht designers, including our award-winning Howes Dining Table, as featured in Boat International magazine, we were naturally delighted to take part in this important event.

Our session was all about the role of virtual reality (VR) in superyacht design and we were delighted to welcome Anastasia Yushkova, founder and chief executive of Anchor-VR and Sam Slater, commercial director at Virtualise 360, as our speakers.

DAVIDSON Superyacht Forum SamWithout doubt, technology is transforming virtually every industry out there. On listening to this talk, we were left in no doubt that technology’s impact on yacht design in the next five to 10 years could be revolutionary.

Anastasia opened the session with an overview of her company – the first in the superyacht industry to offer the full range of what is collectively known as extended reality tools to help yacht designers, buyers and other industry professionals visualise and manage their yachting projects.

She went on to highlight some of the opportunities this technology offers, such as the opportunity to iron out design and engineering details well before construction starts. She also explained how her company’s technology can be used to host virtual meetings, cutting down on the time it takes to discuss design ideas and changes. As she explained: “We’re in London, your shipyard could be in Holland and the captain somewhere else, but we can all unite in this virtual room, see each other’s avatars and study the schematics together.”

Image copyright: Bannenburg & Rowell. Photographer: David Churchill 

Yacht dining area showcasing Davidson dining table and chairs and bespoke coffee table

Davidson Ensor Chairs and Astrid TableVR also allows you to measure and model every detail of your yacht with precision accuracy. “For example,” she said, “You can walk down a passage with a virtual version of a chair that you want onboard and make sure it will fit.”

This type of VR model is what’s known as a ‘digital twin’. In other words, a digital replica of a physical asset – in this instance the superyacht. Digital twins are already being used in other industries, such as the oil and gas business, where an entire digital version of a rig can be built and tested before construction begins. In the superyacht industry, a digital twin could help you explore and adjust every aspect of your vessel, right down to the colour of your carpet, all at the touch of a button.

This could be particularly useful for designers or project managers working with clients who find more traditional CAD designs difficult to interpret. And, of course, it cuts down on the amount of paper. “VR is an incredibly powerful visualisation tool,” said Anastasia. “It offers greater transparency and gives clients the opportunity to be more involved in the design and engineering process.”

Image copyright: Bannenburg & Rowell. Photographer: David Churchill

Yacht dining area showcasing Davidson dining table and chairs

Some of the biggest benefits of using VR technology, though, are to be found in cost and time reductions. Indeed, Anastasia shared a number of eye-opening statistics from other industries already using this technology, including a 25% drop in construction times. 

Meanwhile, Sam opened his session with a request to participants for their thoughts on why the technology hasn’t been adopted in the superyacht industry in quite the same way as other businesses.

His question prompted a fascinating half hour of discussion about the challenges that new tech firms face when entering the superyacht industry. In a business that is historically used to hand-drawn designs and the pleasure of touching a physical object, it can be tricky to persuade some of the virtual benefits.

One audience member – a project manager – suggested that successful adoption is all about introducing the technology at the right step in the process. He acknowledged that a virtual tour of a prospective superyacht could be enormously helpful but, until the client and their team reach that point, it can sometimes feel like yet another step in a complex process.

We’ve worked with a lot of yacht owners and design teams over the years, which is one of the reasons why we jumped at the chance to host one of the Superyacht Design Forum’s talks. With the addition of sea fasteners, many of our pieces are perfectly suited for installation on superyachts.

The Aldridge Games Table

One area where we’ve seen a real rise in popularity is in the installation of games tables. For example, our Aldridge games table makes a gorgeous centrepiece to any salon. A lot of superyachts come equipped with state-of-the-art cinemas these days but there’s something lovely about being able to while away an evening or two playing classic games such as chess, backgammon and cards. We designed the Aldridge table to feel timeless, rather than traditional, which means it can complement a range of interior tastes and styles. It also features four glass holders in polished brass or nickel. 

In the dining table arena, an enduringly popular piece for a super-luxury setting such as a superyacht is the Grace Dining Table. For 15 years, this has been a favourite amongst both our clients and our collaborative designers and has over the years been relaunched in a number of different finishes, whilst retaining its nod to the art deco era.

Image copyright: Bannenburg & Rowell. Photographer: David Churchill

Left: Grace Dining Table by Davidson Right: Bespoke coffee table by Davidson

Davidsons Grace Dining TableOur Scarsdale console is another fabulous addition to any luxury superyacht. It’s one of our most talked-about pieces from our console collection and we were delighted when H2 Yacht Design chose to incorporate it into a recent superyacht project.

It makes an eye-catching addition to halls, reception rooms or even as part of dining room suite. And because it comes in three different sizes it’s a really versatile choice when thinking about interior yacht design. Like all our tables and consoles, the Scarsdale can be made in any of our luxury finishes, giving each finished piece a unique feel.

Image copyright: H2 Yacht Design

A customised version of the Scarsdale console in a handsome yacht interior 

If you’re looking for something a little smaller that still packs plenty of punch, our Artesian occasional table is a great choice. It’s one of our most versatile pieces, looking fabulous anywhere from a reception room at home, to a luxury hotel suite and, of course, on board a superyacht. Clients often comment on its playfulness thanks to its blend of straight lines and laid-back curves. Don’t be fooled by its size, though; this is a piece that deserves to shine on its own, so we always recommend keeping decorative additions to a minimum.

“Working with superyacht designers is always a pleasure,” says our founder Richard Davidson. “You have to think carefully about the optimum layout and how the furniture you want to include will complement the overall aesthetic you’re trying to achieve while creating a touch of drama.”

Of the Superyacht Design Forum session, Richard says: “We were delighted to host one of the talks. Like yacht making, the bespoke furniture business is founded on traditional craftsmanship, something we pride ourselves on supporting. But we also know that it is important to move with the times, so it was fascinating to hear more about this remarkable technology. We will watch with interest to see what the superyacht industry will make of it in the coming years.”

If you’re an interior designer or project manager working with a client on their superyacht design and looking to add bespoke furniture, then we’d love to talk to you.