Interview With Baran Akalin From Turkey

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Baran Akalin

Baran Akalin shifted his attention from automobiles to watercraft designs, which resulted in a design giant.

Interview With The 2022 New York Product Design Awards Winner – Baran Akalin

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

I was born in Istanbul and studied architecture in the university. After my graduation, I went to USA to study industrial design in Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Then I acquired my Master's Degree in Yacht Design in Italy in IED - Istituto Europeo di Design. As well as being an academician on Yacht Design Department at Maltepe University and lecturer/consultant on Yacht Design at the Italian Design Days (IDD). Established my design studio, Akalin Yacht Design International in 2015 with the aim of creating a perfect balance between aesthetic and functional system via timeless designs.

I own many years of experience achieved by collaborating with some of the most renowned design companies and shipyards brought me to become experienced in designing exterior/interior of custom yachts and serial production yachts, beginning from the conceptual drawings up to the production project and project management during construction.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a product designer?
First, I was thinking about car design because of my interest in motor vehicles. As a result of the research I have done over time, I have seen that the design of cars is not what it seems from the outside, as certain brands cannot go beyond certain lines and the design is restricted. In addition to that, the car design team consists of many people and it is not possible to complete the design of a car alone. Because of my love for creating living spaces, I chose to design boats that offer free design experience to different brands.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I've established my design studio, Akalin Yacht Design International in 2015. We create the interior and exterior designs of all yachts, houseboats and similar floating vehicles from 5 meters to 80 meters, as well as their production projects and controllership. We have our 2nd branch in Biliśim Valley, which carries out innovative projects in our country. Here we are developing different projects that have never been done before.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design is creating something from scratch and to force production techniques and pave the way for new generation designs.
5What’s your favourite kind of design and why?
Design is to catch today's trends visually, while producing the best possible solution against need and purpose.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Good design is the perfect combination between functionality and aesthetics. Because creativity deserves it.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My design style is modern pure and elegant. And also, to develop new user experiences and ensure perfect connectivity.
8Tell us about your design process.
In boats, it usually starts from a 2D side profile and top view. More than 3 different design models are presented to the client, usually all of them are mixed with each other. After that, general arrangements will be applied to the selected design. Then, 3D models and visuals will be created. After these are completed and approved, the production project starts and will be delivered to the client/builder.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
I think the location of the country and the market can affect my designs, but I do not think that cultural heritage has anything to do with them.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
This award means a lot to me. Not only does it show how high the quality of the work we do on behalf of our company and our client is, but it also shows the work that connects us to the world not within the borders of the country. I'm very happy with the result.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
Because this project has the most functional features among her equivalents. She has also created a perfect combination of these features from an aesthetic point of view. I wanted this design to find the value she deserves.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge was to combine many features found in larger boats to fit in a smaller boat. And while doing it, the hardest part was not to lose any functionality of the usage areas.
13How has winning an award developed your practice/career?
I can say that it plays a big role in determining the reliability of our company in the sector and the degree of goodness of the designs. It was also an honor for us to bring such an award to our country.
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?

1. There is a wide variety of brands and these brands need new models every period.

2. Due to the wealthier clients, the budgets in designs are higher than in other sectors.

3. The clients are modern and visionary.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
The fact that our country is surrounded by seas on 3 sides and it is one of the first three countries in the world that produces the most boats in this sector.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
As people understand the value of spending time in private areas during the pandemic situation, we expect an increase in the number of producers in our sector in the next 5-10 years.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Creativity and learning to shape it according to people's needs.
18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
While designing, I'm inspired by very different products instead of being inspired by similar products as everyone else does.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Daniel Simon inspired me a lot, because he has a different vision with a good balance.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Key to success is, understanding your clients’ needs and being on the same page.

Winning Entry

Volcat43 | 2022


Volcat 43 is first unique power catamaran that brings all the functional systems together in one boat. Also first power catamaran has sheltered …
(Read more at New York Product Design Awards)

Baran Akalin

Baran Akalin shifted his attention from automobiles to watercraft designs, which resulted in a design giant.

View this link right here for the winner interview of Pepe García from Spain in the 2022 NY Product Design Awards.