Virtual reality transforms the world of yachting

From an immersive experience for clients, to a tool used in yacht design studios

Virtual and augmented reality systems have become the new frontier of immersive experience – just consider the entire market for gaming and entertainment, with the well-known Unity and Unreal engines, now also applied in other contexts – and are now also part of the design process.

The field of car design has grasped this potential for several years now (Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, Ford), along with the aerospace sector (NASA has been applying these technologies for three years). Interior design is taking its first timid steps in the same direction (Natuzzi has launched the first Augmented Store in collaboration with Microsoft and Hevolus Innovation), and even architecture and urban planning are turning to new software solutions to shape virtual cities and buildings.

The nautical sector is not lagging behind.
In this field, VR technology has been deployed for the most part as a way of offering novel experiences “on the water” created for the end-user: immersion in a virtual setting, interaction with the surroundings, real time personalization and installations are just some of the possibilities offered by companies like Immensive  or Oniride, creator of the project VR4ID in collaboration with Caputi Studio.

Recently design studios have opened their doors to these new technologies, as in the cases of Francesco Paszkowski Design and Officina Italiana Design.

Officina Italiana Design, a studio based in Bergamo with an exclusive relationship with the Riva brand, has been one of the first yacht design firms to introduce virtual reality as a decisive moment in the phase of formulation of new models, to precisely hone the lines and volumes of a boat. The main tool – the VRed software by Autodesk – is the same one used – not by chance – by automakers like Ferrari and Fiat.

Sergio Beretta_ Mauro Micheli, Officina Italiana Desing
Sergio Beretta e Mauro Micheli, fondatori di Officina Italiana Desing

“How do we operate? Once we have developed the external lines and the interiors with the usual modeling programs, and after having coordinated those two aspects, we load the respective files into the virtual reality software, with the geometric design of the interiors and exteriors (also inserting the materials we will use for each element). A headset then allows us to view the boat on a scale of 1:1 and to move on board, testing the lines and the balances. This leads to greater quality in the prototypes, with a real-time overview of possible modifications to make our projects more competitive,” says Vincenzo Dallacqua, exterior designer of Officina Italiana Design.

“At the start of 2020 we decided to invest in this new technology, and it has met with the approval of our design team – says Sergio Beretta, CEO of Officina Italiana Design and co-founder of the firm, together with Mauro Micheli. – By the end of the year we have already achieved excellent results.”