(The original article can be read in Norwegian on Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA). By Elling Aarflot/Totaltekst and DOGA)

No rocky waters

Paal Holter is a Creative Director in EGGS Design, the consultancy that designed the system.

Creating management systems for ships of this type is an incredibly complex task, that requires both power and precision and we wanted to create a system that was intuitive, interactive and transparent. The goal was to improve the operator's work situation with regards to fewer mistakes, increased safety and improved working environment.

Paal Holter, EGGS Design

Multidisciplinary, obviously

“In order to achieve this, we needed expertise from many disciplines, and implemented a multidisciplinary design process that included designers, engineers, IT-specialists, domain experts and more users, such as captains and machine operators,” he continues.

Holter praises Ulstein for being a courageous company that focuses on design and innovation in an industry characterized by painful budget cuts. They have consolidated their position as a forward-looking company that have used the challenges and dynamics of their industry as an opportunity to reposition themselves.

"I want to say that Ulstein is a company that 'has understood it'. They have realized that design is not ornamentation, but a method for innovation and they deserve all possible applause for staying true to it in a tough market situation where many others would think that design should come in second place due to cost cuts," Holter says.

 Ulstein user interfaces

Ulstein Marine Automation is the result of a multidisciplinary design process that included designers, engineers, IT specialists, domain experts and more users, such as captains and machine operators. Photo: EGGS Design

Nominated for the DOGA Honours Award

It is this approach to design that has resulted in Ulstein and EGGS Design now being nominated for the DOGA Honours Award, Norway's foremost award for design and architecture. The award is presented annually by Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA) and the nominees are selected from the annual recipients of the DOGA Award for Design and Architecture and the DOGA Newcomer’s Award.

Sign up for the prize ceremony on November 15th

The DOGA Award for Design and Architecture honours collaboration between businesses and emphasizes the processes leading to innovative solutions. Ulstein's new management system is an outstanding example of how the design methodology contributes to creating value and can be a crucial competitive factor.

Thea Mehl, Project Manager for DOGA’s awards

This year there are six nominees for the Honours Award. On November 15, about 50 recipients will be celebrated before DOGA finally reveals which of the six nominees that will win the Honours Award.

Ulstein competes against Oslo Bysykkel, the sightseeing boat Seasight and the newcomers' MakersHub. DOGA will daily up to the award ceremony announce a nominated project on www.DOGA.no.

Has hit a nerve in the market

This is not the first time Ulstein succeeds in investing in design as their methodology for innovation. The reason Ulstein got through the crisis in the shipping industry in the first half of the 2000s is due to their inverted bow concept, the X-Bow. At that time the X-Bow turned our expectations on how a ship's bow should look like upside down. With its untraditional shape, it provided better seafaring properties, increased comfort onboard and reduced fuel consumption resulting in an immediate success. Since the launch in 2005, Ulstein has delivered over a hundred ships with the X-Bow.

Again, we are experiencing a downturn in the market and uncertain times ahead of us. Nevertheless, Ulstein has already sold the new management system to several clients.

Ulstein Marine Automation seems to have hit the market well. It's good for them and it's also good for our industry because it demonstrates the value of design both as a process as well as integrated into the product.

Paal Holter

Involved in the project

  • Design Consultancy: EGGS Design, Pre-project at Center for Design Research at the Oslo Architecture and Design College (AHO)
  • Client: Ulstein Power & Control AS
  • Project: Ulstein Marine Automation

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Read more

Read the story about Ulstein and EGGS creating the Ulstein Marine Automation; Norway's maritime heritage goes digital