Name: Cheryl Smith-DiGennaro
Company: Newport Yacht Interiors
Position within company: President / Designer
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
BFA Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
1990- 1997; Beau Chateau; Interior Designer; San Francisco, CA, Newport, RI
2004-2012; Lead interior designer for a yacht soft goods fabricating firm in
2012- present; Founded Newport Yacht Interiors, President, Designer
How would you describe your personal design style?
My personal style is contemporary, streamlined, and well-proportioned foundations for the overall space, infused with highly creative details and accent pieces to define the aesthetic scheme. I have an affinity for creating unexampled living spaces with unique combinations of material, scale, colour, pattern and texture. I favour bold and vibrant accent colours, complementing a more subtle foundation. I infuse luxurious fabrics and materials in all designs to elevate lavish living spaces.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I am inspired by each project. I vet my clients’ lifestyle needs, aesthetic visions and functionality preferences prior to formulating a design concept to identify the basis of my approach. The yacht itself also inspires the overall interior design appointments, as it must be a cohesive melding of styles. I feel it is imperative to be inspired by each client to insure their utmost satisfaction with the end result. I am highly inspired by textiles; the colours, patterns and textures ignite my imagination for unique combinations and relationships to the surrounding spaces. Admittedly, my biggest inspiration is my desire to create living spaces, which exude luxury and relaxation, all the while enhancing the beauty found in life at sea.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Yacht interior design is moving in a much more custom designed, bespoke direction. Many builders are now frequently asked for customised interiors, allowing owners the ability to incorporate many of their lifestyle preferences. For years, we have seen neutrals play a huge role in interior palettes. Layers of various neutrals, in cooler tones played it safe for many builders and the OEM market. Owners are more frequently hiring designers to bring their personal style into the yacht to individualise the interiors. We see more colour, patterns and unique concepts.In my field of yacht interior design, performance fabrics are becoming much more lively and bold, thus allowing designers more choices to infuse individuality into the interior design of marine applications. The luxuriousness of today’s designer outdoor fabrics also allow for indoor use on high end pieces, and giving it a higher performance rating. I also believe, and support, moving towards a sustainable, “smart”, environmentally responsible direction. Newport Yacht Interiors sources eco-friendly materials when available. I see more builders taking these steps as well, which in turn educates and may influence the owners to request more sustainable design elements throughout the yacht. I attended the 2013 Global Superyacht Forum, which focused on “Sustainable Yachting”. The discussions and presentations, we as a group collaborated on, were insightful to the challenges we have to address to achieve a more eco-responsible industry. As an industry, we may be taking small steps in this direction, but I do believe we will continue with greater efforts, innovation and solutions.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.
1. Naturally sourced & sustainable materials; Exotic wood, stone, glass and organic options, including recycled and eco friendly materials.
2. 3D printing; furnishings, flooring and lighting fixtures and possibly interior structures using recycled materials. This process allows for unlimited design
3. Spacial planning; a focus on seating /conversation areas to accommodate larger groups for socialising & recreational sport; multi purpose spaces
4. Incorporating “smart” elements, multi functional pieces, innovative technology to enhance entertainment on board
5. Bold colours, patterns combined and layered, rich textures in textiles. Also, high performance materials are becoming prevalent in the market and allow designers a wider range of options.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Approach the interior design concept as one with the particular yacht itself. How do the interior appointments compliment or enhance the build and overall space? Do the interior design elements (furnishings, wall coverings, lighting, fabrics etc.) form a cohesive scheme throughout, including the exterior spaces? Do they work with the amount of natural light entering the area? Design the interior concept as a whole to achieve balance, proportion and appropriateness of appointments to the overall plan…. Be creative but do not compromise performance or quality.
How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards?
The Superyacht industry is a leader in innovative technology, new materials and creative design. Beyond giving recognition to the winning leaders in their respective fields, the awards create a global opportunity to influence the growth and innovation of future trends. The awards are a source of inspiration as well as information that would not be as highly circulated without the exposure given by one’s involvement. It exposes new ideas and pushes industry professionals to raise the bar and push beyond current limitations.
What projects are you currently working on?
Our schedule has been quite busy. Newport Yacht Interiors is working on a number of custom interior projects for superyachts which will be leaving Newport and heading to warmer climates for the winter season. We are nearing completion of fully outfitting a 2018 620 Lagoon with bespoke, luxury bedding, accessories and custom carpeting for 5 staterooms and 40 exterior custom cushions for a 2012 620 Lagoon. On deck for winter projects, we have a 1932 Huckins being restored in Maine in which we have designed the soft goods throughout, maintaining the classic art deco influence. Newport Yacht Interiors has recently designed the soft goods for the new line of luxury picnic boats for Hinckley Yachts, creating 6 options offered to new buyers. We are also currently working with 3 new Hinckley owners, one located in Spain, to create fully customised interiors for their new builds. I am quite excited about the level of luxury and creative design incorporated in these yachts.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Newport Yacht Interiors will be expanding our in-house Designer Fabric Showroom at the beginning of 2019, moving to a larger space to accommodate growing business. I would like to work on a project involving a new build using many sustainable and eco-responsible materials and procedures to be an example of inspiration for the yachting industry. This year, we have completed more than 25 yacht interior projects. My goal is to complete 40 in 2019.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession? My freedom
Your favourite holiday destination? Kauai, Hawaii
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar? Indian Springs Resort & Spa, Napa Valley, CA
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? A morning hiking in the mountains or boating
on the ocean followed by an afternoon relaxing