Creating floating gardens

Barbara Bressem, partner and managing director at Dauerflora, explains to Jon Ingleton how the interior landscaping company uses plants and greenery to transform passenger ships

Creating floating gardens

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Why should shipowners use specialist suppliers for their onboard flowers and plants?

Dauerflora has various specialists in one team so we can combine the collective expertise of gardeners, florists, landscape architects, landscape engineers, carpenters, metal builders, sculptors, model builders, stage designers, marketing specialists and office clerks. Plus, we continually educate and train ourselves on fire protection regulations, plant protection methods, legal provisions, and trends in floristics and decorations. We know where living plants thrive, that a huge tree must be able to withstand strong vibrations, that there will be stiff breezes on the outer deck, and which decorations should be anchored to prevent unpleasant surprises.

What factors must be considered when selecting plants for ships?

We work with architects and shipowners to understand their ideas and recommend a greening scheme that takes these into consideration and looks fantastic. Many architects now view Dauerflora as a partner that can support their designs with plants, rather than just another supplier.

One of the main factors to consider is the type of plants customers want. Recently, we established a global network of suppliers to give TUI Cruises access to fresh flowers worldwide, and helped the line to select and train florists who work on its ships. Other factors include lighting conditions, whether the greenery will be inside or outside, the temperature of the installation site, the ship’s sailing routes, and whether the crew will be actively involved in looking after the plants. For example, if the crew will be responsible for decorating the ship for Christmas, we design easy-to-install decorations with clear plug-and-play instructions to minimise potential errors.

How does Dauerflora help shipowners plan their plant and decoration scheme?

We’re often involved in the early stages on newbuild projects, planning greenery and decorations just as ship construction starts. Often, we’ve already worked with the customer on similar models of ships so we know what the vessel will look like and we can work with the architects and shipyards to make improvements. They usually create renderings and we carry out on-site inspections to make any necessary revisions and final decisions.

Plants and decorations are also a wonderful way to cost-effectively transform ships during a refurbishment. For example, we could change the atmosphere of a space by covering a structural support with a tree.

How do you ensure projects stay on budget and meet requirements?

All we need is for the client to name the budget and style guidelines. We can quickly determine whether client ideas are within budget, or whether we need to suggest alternatives. Thanks to our experience, we know the fire protection and hygienic regulations like the back of our hands.

Do you have any planned service improvements for 2017?

We’re always working to improve our services. In 2016, our sculpture department moved to a new industrial hall and we built another warehouse, which will become operational this year. We’re also building additional offices and introducing a new merchandise management system this year.

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