Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Interview: yacht designer Baran Akalin

Interview: yacht designer Baran Akalin

Updated on March 9th, 2024

Today we asked a few questions to the famous yacht designer Baran Akalin.

Dear Baran, how did you get into yacht design?

While I was doing my Industrial Design Master’s at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, I was aiming for car design at first, but as time passed, I realized that this industry is not at all what it seems from the outside, and I turned to boat design, which is my 2nd choice (I’m glad I did). But at this point, there is a small obstacle. When I learned that elective boat design courses would not be given in Academy of Art, I started looking for other schools and courses. Although, Rafael Davidson (who is the interior designer of the 68 Mustang) guided me to go to the Yacht Design Master program in Italy.

So, as a result, I changed my masters and started the IED-Yacht Design Master program in Italy thanks to my Mexican instructor who broke the rules for me. Of course, our friendship with him became very strong afterwards. After completing my education I had the opportunity to work with very good designers and companies in Italy.

When I returned to Turkey in 2013, 33 meter yacht was being built, and I continued that project as an interior designer. Then, when I followed up in similar jobs, I started working in the sector as a freelance designer earlier than I expected. It went on like this for about 5 years, and then I started to take steps towards becoming a design brand by developing a design studio as well as being an academician in Yacht Design Department in the University. In short, it started quickly with small but good developments.

What knowledge should a modern yacht designer have?

Not just a yacht designer, every modern designer has to know current digital programs to shape their imaginations. 3D modeling and visualization programs now are top priority. This will also save time to transfer design data to the clients. But this is just a beginning, they should follow all the trends in their field like, new technologies, trend-new materials, production technics and where to get inspirations.

Are there any current trends that you don’t like?

Actually yes. I don’t know if we can call it trend but, as we are living in online platform world, most of the people think that, If the visual is good, so is the design.

This spreads all over the field now. It is of course very important to have a good visual but the actual design is the most important. Also, last couple years some celebrity designers from completely from other markets, trying to design yacht projects and some very renown shipyards promoting them. I don’t like this situation either.

What does your typical work day look like?

Usually in the morning I replied all my messages and emails, also doing my online meetings if I have. Then continue working in the studio with my employees on our current projects. Since the projects in production are prioritized, some revisions that come to us during production and sometimes divide the projects in the current design phase, and it is entirely my duty to establish the balance between them. Some days traveling to the shipyard and have a small meeting and controllership on the production line and some days meeting with the clients in our studio or in their place.

Which of your projects is your favorite?

All my projects have different place for me. But some are stands out by themselves. As a design studio, we don’t actually have a regular project. Most of our projects are very special, has innovation and first of its kind. If we sort them, 67 meters electric explorer-expeditions series makes me very excited. Also Volcat 43 and Hunters M40 will be very attractive when launched. Trimonoran projects (specially Escalade) is my favorite but Volkite 50 (trimonoran sailing yacht) is closer to realization so she stands out more. Just realize that, this is very hard to answer but these all projects are my favorite.

How do you feel about modern classics?

I think this is the best design result we can get! Because its never gets old. Even after a long time, these kind of designs are always retains their attractiveness. Also it connects the basic design DNA with the modern materials and techniques.

Will we see sailing yachts from you? If not, why not?

Yes, we are currently working on Trimonoran Sailing Yacht in our second innovative branch, it is going a bit slow at the moment because of the projects we have in production line but she will appear.

What is your favorite type of yacht? Are these explorers?

For the mega yachts, of course! Explorer type is my favorite but for general speaking, my favorite yachts are 20-30 meters fast commuter style that you can have speed and have great time with friends at the same time. You can also have a close connection with the sea. Didn’t have an opportunity to start projects like this but I have very original ideas about this type of boats.

Once in a cafe, I drew a yacht with a pencil on a napkin. How can I promote this project?

I know some stories starts with client drawing on a napkin and even on snow while skiing on the top of the mountain. But nowadays everyone wants to see the project almost every angle and with most of the details. That is why when it’s time to promote, she needs to get detailed. Starting with colored sketches and continue with 3D model and nice images will help to promote.

Who do you think is the most talented contemporary designer?

If we are talking about outside the market, I think Daniel Simon is very talented designer and I really respect him.

What makes you happy in your profession?

Definitely see my projects in real life as they designed. I am very careful about having the manufacturer produce it as designed. I can spend many extra days to create new production details just not to change the accepted design.

What project are you currently working on?

Currently we have: our 3rd 67 meters electric-explorer yacht, will continue with 60 meters electric explorer catamaran.  Also we are working on 42 foot open tender cat for Volant Yacht, will continue with Volcat 43 series as Volcat 56 and Volcat 65 foot. We just started 3 different 18 meters Hunters M 60 project as Flybridge-Hard Top and Open versions.

We were also working on 5 meters electric swimming-caravan will sart production next month and will continue 7.5 meter version of her and these two ladies are confidential until they hits the market. And besides all this of course Trimonoran sailing boat Volkite 50.