From Yran & Storbraaten Architects to YSA DESIGN: building a new future

One of the world’s most respected architects has made some big changes as it positions itself for growth in 2017 and beyond. We find out about the all-new YSA DESIGN

From Yran & Storbraaten Architects to YSA DESIGN: building a new future
YSA DESIGN'S team have a wealth of experience from from across the globe providing active input throughout the entire design process

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.

A new year is in its infancy, and for many businesses this represents a fresh start, a chance to explore exciting opportunities and pursue new ideas.

For architecture and interior firm YSA DESIGN this analogy couldn’t be truer. In 2016, the decision was made to reorganise and make strategic changes to Yran & Storbraaten Architects – a long-term provider to the cruise market – in order to secure its future.

The result was the creation of YSA DESIGN, which officially launched in July 2016.

While in many respects YSA DESIGN is a new company, it draws from its predecessor’s over 30 years of experience, delivering exceptional exterior and interior designs for ships on the high seas. In that time, the firm helped to drive significant change across the industry, shaping the cruise market as the booming holiday alternative it is today.

The new company retains a few other characteristics from Yran & Storbraaten Architects too, namely its spirit and soul, and its three partners, which continue to contribute to the success of the business on a daily basis. This, together with new management, is providing YSA DESIGN with the solid platform it needs to secure a sustainable future.

“If you look back to the beginnings of the cruise industry and compare it to the present day, there have been some really impressive developments,” says new CEO Anne Mari Gullikstad. “From the ships themselves and their magnificent interiors, to the destinations that now make it onto the leading cruise lines’ itineraries, we have seen some big changes take place in the industry. But perhaps biggest of all is the fact that cruise travel is now not just reserved for the few; it has become a popular holiday experience for many.” 

When looking to what the future will hold, YSA DESIGN believes that there will be a growing awareness around the industry’s impact on the global environment and companies’ sustainability goals. 

“People will pursue experiences rather than investing in materialistic merchandise,” says Gullikstad. “As architects and designers, we should take responsibility for the elements we can control such as interior designs, materials and promotion of innovative technical solutions.” 

It is for this reason that YSA DESIGN asks itself questions such as should interior designs be timeless – made to last and stay trendy for longer periods of time – instead of going out of fashion within a couple of years? Should materials be able to better withstand wear and tear, with the aim of reducing the number of refurbishments needed during a ship’s lifetime? 

Priding itself on its long-standing reputation as a top cruise ship designer that has remained at the forefront of cutting-edge developments, it’s a matter that the company considers carefully. Operating as Yran & Storbraaten Architects, the firm was one of the first to bring high-end luxury design to the seas, working on ships like SeaDream Yacht Club’s Sea Goddess, which later became known as Seadream. It led the way with Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, setting a new standard for inclusion of balconies on cruise ships – part of its long-standing policy to create suites where as close to 100% have private verandas. And by reinventing the general arrangement (GA) and basic exterior structure of Viking River Cruises new riverboats, it has helped the US-based river cruise operator bring a whole new level of luxury to its ships, leading to impressive revenue gains.

With its new company name, logo and management, combined with its enduring status as one of the most reputable ship designers and architects in the deluxe cruise market, YSA DESIGN has a very positive outlook for 2017 and beyond.

“Today we have 25 talented architects, interior architects and designers, working to provide a complete set of design services to the cruise industry,” says Gullikstad. “Our strength is that we can see a project through from the very beginning all the way to the final stages of completion when the ship is ready to set sail. Our services include GA concepts and planning, exterior and interior design concepts, 3D renderings, as well as follow-up and construction.” .

Gullikstad explains that in order to maintain its position at the top of cruise ship design and offer the best possible service to its clients, YSA DESIGN will continue to invest in its people and grow its team.

“Yran and Storbraaten has always focused on having good energy, great engagement and happy employees,” she says. “It is important to us that we carry this on, and that we nurture people that have a real sense of loyalty to our company and the projects we work on, and that they are proud of what we achieve. YSA DESIGN will continue this philosophy and it’s for this very reason that our aim is not to necessarily be the largest architecture firm, but one that consistently delivers innovative and creative designs, focused on sustainability in all areas of delivery. We are very proud of who we are and where we have come from.” 

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