Designer Marlena Dapcic Working on Most Luxurious Yacht Built in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

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As Jutarnji/Novac writes, after graduating from the Faculty of Industrial Design in Venice, young designer Marlena Dapcic has already developed her career abroad working for other companies.

However, a few years ago, Marlena Dapcic decided to focus on her design studio and on Croatia, within her own company A.D. Group, with which she’s carried out several notable projects and brought elements of ”real” yachting into domestic shipbuilding practice. Yachts Croatia spoke to her in Split, where she is working on two new fifty-metre yacht projects and putting together some ideas for the future.

”My colleagues in Italy are famous designers and engineers, but nobody here knew me. At the beginning I was ”the one who chooses the colours” and they called me in for interior design, although I started from an office where we did everything for smaller boats, and in the meantime I upgraded my knowledge, in Croatia we started all over again, from the beginning. In a few years, I managed to become recognisable, both as a designer and an engineer in one. The difference between a classic designer and my office is that we make a complete product. This way is quite similar to the mentality that the Croatian people have learned, that an engineer who has completed shipbuilding works on the design and everything else.

However, working in this way, the exterior design of existing projects hasn’t progressed, so I started working on the interior and exterior design, with maximum effort to work with Croatian engineers who have a lot of experience, such as Vinko Strizic and Branko Vukovic. But they lack what I learned about design and materials in Italy,” explained Marlena Dapcic.

”When I initially came to the shipyard with my construction plans, I wasn’t accepted, partly due to the ignorance of the workers and my colleagues. It’s paradoxical that at the same time, we have a profession which is done abroad for a lot more money, and they’re much more valued over there, who wouldn’t want that? Here in Croatia I have to constantly fight, which benefits me because I study, but it’s very difficult to fight against the existing system, and the workers are older. I don’t work as a classic designer, I had to give up that concept, but investors come to me and approach me as if a house is being built, not a ship, with all its requirements. Real designers often work for themselves and simply sell their concepts or work for a shipyard,” added Marlena Dapcic.

”I was initially alone in A.D. Group, and since I only have two hands and one head, we had to increase the team, today there are four of us, there’s my sister Helena who is an architect, one of my colleagues is an external collaborator and at the same time works for Fincantieri, and one of us is renderist who makes videos and renders,” said Dapcic, who pointed out that it isn’t a coincidence thay they’re doing all this in Split, as two yachts are being ”born” here under her supervision.

”On these two projects, we did the exterior and interior design, architectural plans and 3D renderings. The first yacht is ICY, and it’s a new brand that will be heard about a lot more. The first yacht in the series is a fifty-metre mini cruiser, which should have the characteristics of a yacht, but it has fifteen cabins, and its own norms and rules of passenger ships, which are very strict. But the look will be at the level of yacht quality, unlike most existing ”winged” mini cruisers. It can also be built as a yacht with six cabins, with an identical or similar external appearance.

On the other hand, the 46-metre yacht for which we’re starting construction has a completely opposite logic. They opted for the concept of a real yacht with six cabins, but with masts and a slightly more classic look. We conceived it as a yacht ”from head to toe”, but with conservative and simple solutions in exterior design because we don’t want to take risks with complicated shapes, but instead adapt to the construction possibilities that exist in steel and aluminum.

Marlena Dapcic added that it will be the most luxurious yacht built in the Republic of Croatia so far.

”It’s characterised by clean exterior lines and a wave motif that is repeated both on the outside and on the inside, as two units which are connected by design. Inside, we used onyx with backlighting and lots of innovative materials, with the presence of proven materials like alcantara and fabrics that give the yacht a feeling of warmth, a ”clean” design with white surfaces and gold details predominates. It’s a yacht which weighs 499 tonnes, with a lot of space that we carefully arrange, and it’s being built with a class for ”unlimited navigation”, for which the designer Vinko Strizic is in charge, by order of the investor,” Dapcic stated.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.


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