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2017 DAME Design Awards Jury changes unveiled

by Sigrid van der Wel 8 Jun 2017 21:33 BST 8 June 2017
DAME Design Awards Jury Chair Birgit Schnaase © METSTRADE

The METSTRADE team at RAI Amsterdam is very pleased to announce that international yacht interior designer and engineer Birgit Schnaase has been appointed Chair of the DAME Design Awards Jury and renowned experts in their field – Olivier Racopeau of Berret-Racopeau Yacht Design, Davide Cipriani of Centrostiledesign, and Yachting World editor Elaine Bunting – have all been appointed as new DAME Awards Jury members.

Bill Dixon steps down after a decade of successfully leading the Jury

Birgit Schnaase succeeds Bill Dixon, who expressed the wish to step down following METSTRADE last year, after completing a successful decade chairing the Jury. Birgit was then approached to take on the role, because of her very valuable insights and leadership skills on the DAME Jury since 2012. Her 22 years of experience as an engineer and interior designer working on notable yacht, aircraft and house interior design projects will be much valued as she chairs the Jury from 2017.

Birgit Schnaase highlights the significance of becoming first female Chair

"I was very honoured to be asked to take this role," Birgit states. "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," Birgit continues, "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 organiser'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."

Three top experts in their field

Olivier Racopeau, Davide Cipriani and Elaine Bunting bring with them incredible insight into yacht design, industrial design and user experience. They will join 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.

New insight and the broadest possible knowledge

Kim Hollamby, the non-voting DAME Secretary appointed to support the Jury and organisers, explains: "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. 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."

RAI acknowledges Jury members' incredible contribution

Group Director Maritime for RAI Amsterdam, Irene Dros, said: "It's a strong indicator of the high value of the DAME Awards in the eyes of the industry, that so many of the sector's leading names in their field have voluntarily served on the Jury throughout its history. We want to acknowledge the incredible contribution made to the DAME Awards by Bill Dixon, as well as by our valued outgoing Jury members Torsten Conradi of Judel/Vrolijk & co Engineering GmbH, Andrea Frabetti of Diesel Center SPA and Japec Jakopin of J&J Design. We're very much looking forward to welcoming our new Jury members and working with our new Chair, Birgit Schnaase, as she brings her proven skills and perspective to the DAME Awards this year.

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