Van Dam Custom Boats - The World's Finest Wooden Boats
“With enough time and money, we can build anything.” No doubt, at some point, you have heard this phrase thrown out in conversation, or on a whim in discussion to entice a guffaw in hopes of lightening the air. Rarely does the party that offers this phrase have a legitimate backing to the claim. Its purpose is to produce thought and inspiration as a sort of “what if” scenario. But what if you came across a company that actually could build anything that you wanted? What if that company, comprised of craftsmen, designers, and engineers continuously blurred the lines between art, function, and technology? Would you be intrigued to see how far your ideas were taken? Would you challenge the designers, naval architects, and craftsman to produce something so radical, so abstract that it completely polarizes those who see it? Or, would you focus on elegance in simplicity? Focus on the infinite details and craftsmanship on a more classic, understated design and functionality? There really is no wrong answer, unless your answer is that you would like to produce something that has already been created. That answer will not fly here. The team at VAN DAM CUSTOM BOATS can do nothing with a replication mentality, in fact they will not even consider it. If it has already been done, then they are not interested.
“At Van Dam, the conceptual design phase is extremely important,” notes Jeremy Pearson, sales manager at Van Dam Custom Boats. “It offers the opportunity to really let the owner pull inspiration from anything that moves them. We’re hoping to get a sense of what they’re drawn to and figure out how to incorporate that into their boat. Often, it is parts or pieces of a boat that they once owned, or something from an automotive or airline industry that they think is really clever. Maybe it’s the lines and curves of a building, or the functionality of a piece of equipment. Maybe it’s the 1966 Batmobile driven by Adam West, (which was actually used as inspiration by an owner). Inspiration and ideas bloom in the concept phase, our job is to nurture and record those ideas and thoughts. Our design team listens and begins formulating the ideas onto paper so we can see how it looks, how it functions and how we’re going to build it.” It starts with dialogue and exploratory brainstorms which lead to simple pencil sketches to reflect the style and layout possibilities. It moves into a refinement process where the sketches are narrowed, and detail is laid to create some direction and discussion. Scaled 2D concept drawings are rendered in color. Perspective sketches and renderings are added to highlight details that have been dreamt about and discussed throughout the process. At the end of the concept phase, you have the general appearance of your dreamboat highlighted with unique ideas and spontaneous collaboration. The innovation only increases as the process moves on. Rarely does a project become simpler. Changes are made on the fly as technology and ideas continue to evolve. If you imagine it, the Van Dam team can create it…all it takes is enough time and money.
Heather Witkop Hall, designer at Van Dam Custom Boats, remarks that, “the fun part of conceptual design is realizing that there are no wrong answers. When that happens, we begin to look at our environment differently, with curiosity. We look at objects around us asking the question ‘what if we did this instead’ or look to the ripples in sand to inspire a texture. Carrying this inquisitiveness into a sketch brings out emotion rather than just simply putting pencil lines on paper. The lines dance and flow across the paper. We look at them, study them, and sketch again until a harmonious shape is formed.”
Pearson adds, “The best undertakings are ones in which the owner is demanding, yet pragmatic to the challenges involved with building a boat to the highest level of detail and innovation.” Van Dam Custom Boats are not just looking for boat owners, they are looking for co-collaborators. They are looking for owners who demand the best, who invoke thought and inspiration, and who really want to stretch the ideas of what is possible in a watercraft. “We have found that our best boats come from the owners who choose to be active participants throughout the process, the ones who push the limits of our ingenuity, then push a little more. Those relationships, and those creations, turn into something truly extraordinary.”