Creating timeless and memorable surprises

Long-lasting designs must mix classic elegance with functionality
Creating timeless and memorable surprises
De Jorio Design International created the spa on MSC Seaside using neutral tones and natural materials for a classic aesthetic

By Marco De Jorio |

Now that there are so many cruise ships and operators in the market, shipowners rely on designers to create onboard spaces that stand out and make the cruise experience memorable for guests. Designers should put their own stamp on a space, but to really have a lasting impact on guests, it must also be functional. To achieve this, designers must harmonise operability and beautiful design.

As a designer, we must balance the fixed elements of an owners brief with our own creative imagination. For De Jorio Design International, it is important to provide a new interpretation of the space. While it can be challenging to always offer a feeling of something new, we see it is an essential factor for success.

To do this, we must first think about the space and for whom it is being designed. The difficulty comes in with the long timescale of shipbuilding – we often start designing the spaces years before the vessel will be delivered. As such, we can’t base our ideas on what is popular and ‘in fashion’ now, instead we must imagine what the target audience will be drawn to when the ship enters service.

This idea of ‘in fashion’ also presents its own difficulties across different spaces. For example, small spaces like shops and bars can follow trends more closely as they are regularly changed throughout a ship’s life, so they can be redecorated as tastes change. On the other hand, the more open common spaces need to act as a link between the smaller spaces, with a long-lasting aesthetic. This is more challenging to create as it must always be fresh and new, but also timeless.

In my opinion, it is these open spaces – such as the main atrium and promenade – that are the most memorable because they are where the ship comes alive with activities day and night. They also provide the most creative freedom for us. This can be seen in our work with MSC Cruises, which takes the same approach to us with regards to prioritising the harmonisation of space. For example, we worked on the promenade of MSC Meraviglia. It is reminiscent of a town, with facades of various styles of architecture each side of the walkway, and an LED sky dome which displays the blue and night skies. During the day, the space is used mostly for dining and shopping, but at night the whole ‘street’ becomes a giant party space. Being memorable means different things to different people. Some may favour bold colours and garish shapes, while others may fall on the side of minimalism. At De Jorio, we don’t give much weight to the ‘shocking’ aspects of design. While these may be effective at first, after a few days cruise guests are used to it and find it boring. Instead, we try to create special spaces that guests will remember long after they first see them.

Timelessness is something that must be built in, for example through colour and material. These elements can make or break a space. Materials are particularly important for two main reasons. Firstly, passengers physically come into contact with these materials, which can create a more personal connection and a warmth or coolness with regards to the mood of the space. Secondly, materials have a major part to play in the maintenance, sustainability and longevity of a room and its aesthetic. De Jorio is uniquely positioned to successfully deliver these timeless spaces because we work very collaboratively with the shipowners before and during the design process. We help them to evolve their ideas into something that will look fantastic and function smoothly, and most importantly, something that their guests will love.

Marco De Jorio is CEO of De Jorio Design International

This article was first published in the 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

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