SMC Design: A creative collective for maritime design

SMC Design has firmly established its roots within the maritime design industry. Much of its success can be attributed to the firm’s collaborative approach, which brings together a diverse range of skillsets

SMC Design: A creative collective for maritime design
The team at SMC Design is using video conferencing software to stay connected in these challenging times

Since it was established in the 1980s, SMC Design has been an integral part of the growth and development of the maritime design industry.

The firm prides itself on its collective approach, which sees experts come together to deliver the wide variety of elements that are crucial to a successful design project. The best concept designers work closely with bespoke product developers, specialists in art, interiors, graphics and 3D modelling to create an entirely integrated design package.

Ultimately, SMC Design is pushing what is possible in the field of design. In the pages that follow, experts from across the business outline how they are maintaining a progressive outlook and embracing new and exciting technologies to assist clients both creatively and intelligently in these challenging times.

Andy Yuill, managing director:

“Our company is a collective group of talented and highly creative individuals. While we are facing unprecedented times, with the aid of video conferencing we have continued to work as a team for the benefit of our clients. There remains a real sense of togetherness, which is brilliant to see. We pride ourselves on the various design elements which combine to create our very special company and will endeavour to build on our achievements to date as we move into a new decade.”

Andrew Brown, director:

“Building information modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that enables us to more efficiently plan, design, construct and control projects. This makes the integration of different aspects of design, coordination, communication and collaboration much easier, faster and more effective. For SMC Design, BIM has been used for coordination and design, benefitting us and our clients not only for the duration of a project, but long after the ship has been delivered.”

Jennie Drummond, head of SMC Art:

“SMC Art works closely with the furniture, fixtures and equipment, interiors and graphics teams. From the very beginning of the design process, we collaborate to create artwork concepts that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but which also tell a compelling story. Artwork is always more than just interior decoration. We have developed lasting relationships with our clients and artists alike, in order to deliver an exceptionally high level of quality in each and every project we are involved with.”

Matt Fyvie, associate designer:

“The conceptual phase of a project is one of the most creative within the design process. It not only outlines the plan operationally, but also aesthetically, enabling us to create something that is genuinely unique for our clients. At this stage of the process it is all about future proofing our client’s aspirations for their brand and business model, to ensure passengers are engaged and captivated each time they step onboard. Collaboration and innovation at this early stage are critical to creating a consistent design, and we are continually looking to push boundaries.”

Amy Parker, head of FF&E:

“The furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) side of the design process is a collaboration with the client that represents their branding, their unique selling point and their heart. We take time to get to know our clients’ demographic; the end results create the tactile, inviting and unique environments that help provide passengers truly memorable experiences. Whilst we evolve with these changing times, and adapt along with our client’s requirements, our core values in our approach to FF&E remain.”

Mike Abbott, associate designer:

“We’ve recently had the opportunity to design the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas. We used eclectic furniture, artwork and props to add character and to bring a balance of bohemian and European influences. The island has been transformed to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment, contributing to the preservation of the world’s oceans and coral reefs. During installation we were faced with many challenges. Whether it was strong winds stopping our daily commute from neighbouring Bimini, or flash downpours during installation, each unexpected event only added to what was a truly one-off experience.”

Alun Roberts, associate designer:

“When designing the brand of an area, we aim to create a holistic identity that touches all the senses. Details as seemingly inconsequential as the time of day an area is used, or the weight of a glass, all feed our overall perception of a space, so they must be carefully considered. These elements are the jump points that the graphics team use to create a visual identity, tailored to the desired experience of the area. We take particular pride in participating in the creative journey with our clients – the first step that leads to a unified design of an area and its identity.”

Liam Kirk, senior associate designer:

“Refurbishment within the marine industry has increased in recent years, with owners opting to upgrade older vessels to fall in line with their current brand. The challenge of this is always time and delivery. Through a strong understanding of our client’s needs, and a proven working relationship with contractors, we understand how to capitalise on often very tight time frames. The future of refurbishment is very exciting, with ever evolving technology and prefabrication processes, which are crucial to the development of successfully completed projects. SMC Design continues to develop and streamline the production of information to benefit these challenging and exciting projects.”

Alan Stewart, director:

“Over the years, SMC Design has been responsible for the development and brand design of many of the world’s leading cruise and ferry companies, contributing to their success and passenger appreciation. A successful brand not only has to match with specific guest demographics and target markets, but also be timeless in style, and applicable to multiple markets, from river cruises to Caribbean cruises, private yachts to Arctic explorer ships. This understanding of brand identity illustrates how SMC Design continues to build lasting relationships with a varied portfolio of unique clients. We hope that all our clients and friends in the industry are safe and well and look forward to continuing to collaborate both now and once this challenging period comes to an end. Please stay safe.”

This article was first published in the 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
23 September 2020

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