The Worst Seminar at IBEX 2013
Ok, the presenter was good. Aaron Turner seemed very earnest and sincere. And he seemed to think it unremarkable that 5 years was spent doing the small amount of design work that was done. In one way it was like the Americas Cup. In both, imagine Rutger Hauer intoning “We can spend money in ways you people could not imagine”.
It was just that it was the story of a slowly moving train wreck of boat design. The only lesson to take from it was relief that I had no involvement in that project. In a way it was like watching Snakes on a Plane. You know it is so bad, but you have to keep watching.
The paper was about the legendary architect Frank Ghery designing a yacht. It could have been a good exercise. I feel that crossing between disciplines can be extremely valuable. This was not that. Actually, virtually everything functional, including the hull, was designed by renowned French yacht designer German Freres. What Frank did was design the cockpit, windows, hatches and interior. That was all. It took 5 years of nearly full time work by the presenter. That was the other thing. It was kind of like a Chuhuly glass sculpture in that the presenter would do all the work, and Frank would merely choose between 8 or 10 options at each stage. But it has his name on it.
And what was with the client who not only tolerated 5 years design just to do the fluff, but his requirement that the boat be fast seems to have been completely ignored? My customers wouldn’t allow 5 days much less 5 years to design that fluff.
One remarkable choice was that every simulation was not done with CADD, but on the band saw. The presenter proudly does not do CADD.
In architecture school, my professor Phil Thiel (Webb Institute) designed an experience quantifying tool called SEEPE. (If I remember the spelling) Only now found online as http://www.edra.org/sites/default/files/publications/EDRA04-Thiel-374-378.pdf
It would allow designers to quantify the experience their design production would create. This project really needed SEEPE. One of Prof Thiel’s rules was “compare simultaneous alternatives”. The presenter did that, to extreme. The method was stellar. The result so sucked however. The window and hatch shapes seen from in the boat reminded me of the bamboo prison in Apoclyplse Now. It would never be a pleasant space. Others voiced the same feeling. Five years of simulations on the fluff, and the results are a disaster; as a boat. I have tried to find pictures of it on the internets, but oddly, none exist. You could thus understand me at a glance if you saw them. Imagine a large window with a dozen snakes frozen on it in mid wriggle. Snakes on a boat!
But what do I know. Maybe it will sell at Sotheby’s next year for $50 million.
One other seminar, on the law and ownership of your design, was very valuable. He cracked me up however as every slide with text had at least three misspelled words in it. Wasn’t that one of the ideas in Body Heat? Finding a lawyer who couldn’t spell? He was not typing on the fly. These were digital slides that were surely studied back at the office.