Chairwoman named for DAME Design Awards jury

Yacht interior designer and engineer Birgit Schnaase was appointed chairwoman of the DAME Design Awards jury.
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Birgit Schnaase

Birgit Schnaase

Metstrade said international yacht interior designer and engineer Birgit Schnaase was appointed chairwoman of the DAME Design Awards jury.

Organizers also said Olivier Racopeau, of Berret-Racopeau Yacht Design, Davide Cipriani, of Centrostiledesign, and Yachting World editor Elaine Bunting — all renowned experts in their field — have been appointed as new jury members.

Schnaase succeeds Bill Dixon, who expressed a desire to step down after Metstrade last year after a decade chairing the jury.

Schnaase, the first woman to take on the role, was approached because of valuable insights and leadership skills on the DAME jury since 2012. Organizers said her 22 years of experience as an engineer and interior designer working on notable yacht, aircraft and house interior design projects will be valued as she chairs the jury from 2017.

I was very honored to be asked to take this role,” Schnaase said in a statement. “Metstrade is the most important show worldwide for marine products, and the DAME Awards is the only competition I know that does not just look at whether a product is beautiful. It assesses every aspect of its design, such as durability, innovation, functionality and whether it is likely to work well for the end user. This is important in a challenging world of changing customer expectation.”

“I did take some time to consider the role before agreeing,” she added, “but in truth I could not say no. I have long stated that there should be more females working in the field of yacht and superyacht building because women massively influence buying decisions across the marine market. We need more people involved who understand female preferences so that they can appropriately shape our products and designs. This is my mantra, and I hope that the organizer’s decision to invite me to become jury chair for the world’s highest-profile marine design competition will encourage many more women to join the sector.”

Racopeau, Cipriani and Bunting will join the current jury members: Bénéteau Group brand manager Jean François Premorel; Arjen Jansen from TU Delft University; ICOMIA’s technical manager, Patrick Hemp; independent marine technical journalist Nigel Calder; and IBI associate editor Dennis O’Neill.

“We review the DAME Awards annually to ensure it continues to brilliantly promote the benefits of great design in all of its aspects among the more than 15,000 companies that exhibit and visit in Amsterdam each year,” said Kim Hollamby, the nonvoting DAME secretary appointed to support the jury and organizers.

“It was outgoing chair Bill Dixon’s suggestion, and motivation for his retirement from the chair, that we should look to refresh the jury members more frequently. His vision was to ensure that the DAME Awards always benefits from new insight and the broadest possible knowledge available. We took his advice, and our proposals for shorter jury terms, plus the resulting changes to three jury members this year, were approved by the Metstrade Exhibition Committee.”

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