Designing cruise ships for profit and sustainability

Tillberg Design of Sweden is rethinking both its business and design process as it strives to deliver greater value for clients and improve sustainability

Designing cruise ships for profit and sustainability
Tillberg Design of Sweden is offering its services to manage the process of shipbuilding, reducing costs, mistakes and wasted time

By Helena Sawelin |

The cruise industry has gone through some significant challenges in recent years and is facing another as the demands to meet sustainability goals grow louder. However, turbulent times can be an opportunity for the cruise industry to rethink and do better, creating cruise ship design 2.0. 

That is exactly what we’ve been doing at Tillberg Design of Sweden. We’ve made some important strategic changes with the purchase of both naval architecture firm Thalia Marine and yacht design studio Hot Lab, leading to the creation of our parent company Viken Group. 

We are also asking ourselves important questions about our design process. Where are the cost drivers in the building chain? How can our competence and knowledge contribute to achieve a better way of designing ships? How can we make the building process smoother?  

By answering these questions, we wanted to find ways to better meet our clients’ expectations and get better control of building costs, from the client sharing their initial ideas to the delivery of the vessel. We’ve achieved that by offering value engineering services in partnership with Thalia Marine, which helps us to assess and control costs from the earliest phases of our projects. Our expertise allows our clients to design for profits, as well as aesthetic appeal. 

Tillberg Design of Sweden often gets involved in a project when a yard has suggested a platform and a general arrangement for a ship, which we then need to adapt and improve to match the client’s wishes without making any steel changes to avoid extra costs and complications. Although it is better for us to be involved from the start of a project to help limit costs, by working together with Thalia, we can make the necessary technical specifications and customise the design to fit the customer’s requirements while managing costs.  

We have also taken our efforts to make design sustainable to the next level, exploring sustainable materials, modular building and following the 9R Framework of refuse, rethink, reduce, reuse, repair, refurbish, remanufacture, repurpose and recycle and recover. Now, we can easily specify 50 to 70 per cent eco-friendly materials and are looking into ways to take care of the waste generated during refits. We have investigated the practices that are being pioneered in other industries, such as the automotive sector, and finding ways to bring those into our cruise projects.   

Helena Sawelin is partner and design/sustainability director at Tillberg Design of Sweden

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox. 

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