Exploring Luxury in Design: Virtual Learning Environments

Sean McCartan, Deana McDonagh, Nan Goggin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Bibliographical note

This paper was presented at the 9th EAD International Design Conference: The Endless End, 4th – 7th May 2011, Porto, Portugal. Author's note: Luxury has a transcendent quality that is related to a client’s aspirations. Luxification refers to the continual need for designers to evolve the perception of luxury in their design process, in order to counteract devaluation through reinterpretation of their design language into smaller, or higher production volume vessels. To facilitate luxification, boat designers must implement a design-driven innovation strategy, as clients do not buy products but meanings. They use objects for profound emotional, psychological, and socio-cultural reasons as well as utilitarian ones. Designers should therefore look beyond features, functions and performance and understand the real meanings users give to things.

Design-driven innovation involves a radical innovation of meaning; it has been a well established design approach in product design with companies engaging in emotional design for the past 16 years. The interplay between design-driven and technology-push innovation is the basis of some of the most successful products such as the Apple iPod. This paper presents three boat design concepts developed through design-driven and technology-push innovation to achieve a ‘technological epiphany’. The first design employs domotics to adapt the functionality of exterior space allowing the vessel to have a more minimalistic approach to interior design; as a result a more luxurious interior is created with the feel of a larger vessel. The second concept transformed the meaning of what a charter vessel. By offering a modular interchangeable interior which is stored and transported in TEUs, the charter client is provided with the experience of a bespoke interior. The third design demonstrates significant use of structural glass to immerse the user in the marine environment with the feel of a luxury hotel upon the water.

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