Sea Ray has a persuasive heritage of industry-leading design, providing an emotional connection to consumer aspirations and dreams, while also setting the pace for the marine industry. Creativity (and its sister, innovation)—truly a competitive edge sought by companies globally—is often based on the inspired vision of individuals. Most creative types know that creativity is enhanced by an environment where those insights can grow from a spark to a bright light of imaginative enthusiasm.
During the recent move of Sea Ray’s Product Development & Engineering team to a new and larger facility, Ron Berman, Sea Ray’s vice president of product development, offered the design department the opportunity to create a reimagined studio. The team responded with a design for a world-class visionary space that is well suited for the day-to-day interactions, conversations and reviews that are part of a creative flow.
Often working after hours, the designers generated CAD models, reviewed material samples and discussed trade-off decisions to envision an open work environment and space that was uniquely suited to match their needs. “For example, lighting was a key element in the planning of the new studio,” says Melissa Sikorski, senior interior designer. “Boating is an activity that happens outdoors, and for us to see blue sky while designing is very important.”
“We have wonderful consumer insights coming to us through our portfolio- and program-management teams, providing us with a deep understanding of why we’re developing a specific project,” says Tom Bucaccio, senior director of design. “We now have a space that allows us to display and apply that information in a way that inspires and reinforces our creative objectives.”
The studio has nicely integrated break-out spaces for ad hoc conversations, reviews and discussions. A wall-mounted flatscreen TV displays inspirational images as well as consumer interviews to ensure that the customer is always a part of the design process. The office arrangement groups related work teams together and encourages the important connection between individuals sharing a project, allowing ideas to be exchanged in an intuitive manner.
Interaction with other teams and partners in the development process—from fellow designers to engineers, naval architects and production-line teams—is important to seeing a design fully realized on the water. Engineering representatives are co-located in the design studio to ensure early interaction and discussion around concepts, possibilities and ideas. “This integration has clearly helped our creative process, while involving more people upfront in the development,” says Erin Schwarz, design concept manager.
Great design comes from passionate people working in an environment that cultivates and supports creative performance. Sea Ray has both the people and the space to inspire the next generation of boats.
“The new studio is inspirational because it’s a professional design space, well thought out and detailed, and specifically designed for use by designers,” says Jeff Daum, senior industrial designer. “It is just what we need to ensure Sea Ray continues to offer the best boats in the market.”