A design of an outdoor lounge inspired by upscale US coastal resort The Hamptons (Image: Virgin Voyages)
Virgin Voyages’ first-ever cruise ship is to feature a laboratory-style Test Kitchen restaurant, a private club on the top deck, a nightclub, an outdoor lounge inspired by upscale US coastal resort The Hamptons and much more.
Renderings for the spaces were revealed by Virgin Voyages and representatives from three of the 10 international design companies in its ‘Creative Collective’ at the NYCxDESIGN event in New York, US on 16 May. The designers included London-based architect Tom Dixon, Lisa Hassanzadeh and Rob Wagemans from Concrete Amsterdam in The Netherlands, and Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch from US-based firm Roman and Williams who spoke via video link. None of the designers have ever worked on a cruise ship before. “Giving the passengers diversity of choice has been key when deciding who to work with,” said Dee Cooper, senior vice president of product design for Virgin Voyages, also joined the panel discussion. “Let’s take New York as an example, you can go uptown for some sophistication or you can head over to the West Village for more of a relaxed night – people value that choice, so why shouldn’t you be able to have that option on a ship?”
Dixon has designed Pink Agave, a modern Mexican restaurant with a bar area, a private dining room for groups, electric blue metallic lighting fixtures, oversized banquettes and an elongated curved lounger in the centre of the room with tables for two. His Design Research Studio also created Richard’s Rooftop area, an outdoor lounge for suite guests that has circular loungers and large umbrellas.
“It seems risky to use designers who have never been on a cruise before, but it makes complete sense,” said Dixon. “The glamour of going on a cruise seems to have vanished, I like the idea of bringing that back but in a modern way.”
Concrete Amsterdam has designed the Athletic Club, an outdoor lounge that celebrates traditional nautical elements with a catamaran-style triple net for guests to lie on, the largest daybed at sea and 10 cabanas overlooking the ocean. The team has also created the Test Kitchen restaurant, which also serves as a cooking school and wine-tasting venue. It has lighting fixture images that mimic the periodic table, metallic furniture and beakers, test tubes and flasks that serve as glasses.
“This ship should let you live the lifestyle that you want while you’re on it, not one which has been dictated to you by a brand,” said Wagemans. “There are so many different areas to explore that offer real difference.”
Roman and Williams design firm showcased The Manor, a nightclub inspired by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson's first Virgin music studio of the same name. The company has also created The Dock, an outdoor lifestyle space that is reminiscent of seaside lounges in Ibiza, Bali and The Hamptons.
“At the core of our ‘epic sea change for all’ is ensuring that the spaces on our ships are well-styled, distinct and reflective of the dynamic experience we want to bring to our sailors,” said Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages. “Our design partners together with our internal design team have dreamed up eye-catching, intimate and alluring spaces that we can’t wait to see come to life.”
Virgin Voyages currently has three ‘Lady Ships’ on order at Fincantieri, which are due for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Fincantieri laid the keel for the first vessel, which will be ‘adult by design’, on 31 October 2017.
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