Designing interior spaces to endure life at sea

Elly Yates-Roberts highlights marine interiors providers creating timeless but functional spaces

Designing interior spaces to endure life at sea
Studio DADO used Dansk Wilton’s Origin onboard Oceania Vista because of the carpet’s high percentage of undyed wool

By Elly Yates-Roberts |

Designing onboard spaces is about creating visually appealing décor that may tell a story, represent the brand of the cruise and ferry operator, or highlight specific elements that are synonymous with the space’s intended use.

However, designers must also consider one other key factor: durability. The ability for the onboard furnishings to withstand wear and tear is essential from a visual, cost and sustainability perspective.  

“Performance is part of the DNA of every project we design,” says Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner of Miami-based interior design firm Studio DADO. “Good design must not only be aesthetically beautiful but also functional. Part of that functionality revolves around how a project will perform and age. We weave the operational component into the conversation so that we can ensure each space is properly maintained long after we release the project into the world.” 

A recent example of this is Studio DADO’s work on Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Vista. Lead designer Michelle Colangelo selected Dansk Wilton’s Origin carpet solution which uses a yarn blend of 80 per cent undyed wool, providing high levels of performance and sustainability.  

Furniture supplier Shores Global is similarly mindful of the value of material selection in delivering long-lasting and durable onboard interiors. While seeking innovative design and trend-setting pieces, the firm also explores new technologies to improve eco-friendly and strict quality control systems in material selection and manufacturing.  

Tapio Sallinen, vice president for special projects at Almaco, agrees: “It goes without saying that interior endurance is mostly about the durability of the materials used on a ship. The interiors must be resistant to the effects of daily use and be easy to maintain.  

“However, the visual style must also stand the test of time, feeling fresh and relevant at least five or ten years after installation. The longer the life of the interior, the less impact it will have on the environment and the total cost.”  

The marine construction firm provides its customers with maintenance plans for each material’s specific needs, helping to reduce costs and damage to the onboard spaces. Marine outfitter MJM Marine provides similar services, particularly via antimicrobial lighting from its partnership with health technology provider Vyv. The LED light fixtures continuously clean the spaces they illuminate, without the need for harsh chemicals or potentially damaging ultraviolet. 

“As we are learning, an impactful sustainability programme must go beyond sourcing eco-friendly wall coverings or upholstery to include an effective cleaning strategy,” says Fiona Nevin, head of global business development at MJM Marine. “With our expertise in the outfitting industry, MJM Marine is well-placed to help clients integrate Vyv lighting products into existing spaces on cruise ships or in newbuilds.”  

Whilst maintaining older areas of a ship, marine outfitter Trimline identifies any high-flow areas and then suggests appropriate durable materials to improve the longevity of the spaces. This can include changing core materials, through to harder wearing finishes such as replacing varnishes for lacquers. 

A recent example of how Trimline’s suggestions improved the longevity of a space was when they were tasked with replacing a bar front. The team identified that the framework and bar top were nearing the end of their life cycle. By replacing these elements, the entire bar can continue to be used for many years to come.  

F. Ball and Co. Ltd. – Recommended Adhesives Guide   

Delivering high-quality flooring is not necessarily a simple procedure. “In addition to the flooring itself, the subfloor and adhesives are fundamental to the product’s aesthetics, safety and durability,” says Neil Sanders, technical director of F. Ball and Co. Ltd.  

To adhere the floorcovering to the levelling compound – which is used to create a smooth flooring base – interior design teams must ensure that the adhesive is compatible with the floor covering type and material. F. Ball has created a Recommended Adhesives Guide which matches adhesives with over 6,000 floorcoverings from more than 200 international manufacturers. Each recommendation is tried and tested by F. Ball and endorsed by each manufacturer. 

Ege Carpets – Colortec carpet  

Ege Carpets’ Colortec concept combines visual appeal with plush comfort to meet and surpass passenger expectations. Ege Carpets helps cruise and ferry brands to bring a new look and feel to all onboard spaces, from cabins and corridors to casinos and theatres. The firm can customise its Colortec range, providing design freedom that matches customers’ bespoke requirements. 

Ege Carpets’ proprietary manufacturing technology and use of pre-dyed yarn produces clearly defined pattern outputs. Its carpets are also available in different weights and classification classes suitable for a variety of different areas.  

Continental – Skai   

Surface specialist Continental has developed a solution to the accidents that occur as a result of a relaxing at-sea travel experience. Its high-quality Skai Toronto EN artificial leather featuring staynu technology is extremely hard-wearing and easy to clean. Its composition prevents stains from adhering to, or penetrating, the surface. Its efficacy is illustrated by the fact that marks from ballpoint pens can be easily removed with suitable cleaning agents.  

Brintons – Axminster carpet 

Brintons has been a pioneer of woven carpet for over 230 years. Its Axminster carpet is made with British Wool that is woven and locked into place by backing yarn to create a strong, integrated three-dimensional structure. This method of carpet manufacturing creates a high-performance floor covering that meets the demands of the heaviest traffic areas, and when cleaned properly, can last a lifetime.  

Brintons – Axminster carpet 

Brintons has been a pioneer of woven carpet for over 230 years. Its Axminster carpet is made with British Wool that is woven and locked into place by backing yarn to create a strong, integrated three-dimensional structure. This method of carpet manufacturing creates a high-performance floor covering that meets the demands of the heaviest traffic areas, and when cleaned properly, can last a lifetime.  

Morbern – MorCare  

Morbern’s coated fabrics have a smooth, non-porous and durable surface that is highly resistant to scratches and cracks. 

Whilst all standard Morbern vegan leathers are easy to maintain, the MorCare collection has been specifically designed to offer an elegant, ‘no-rinse-required’ surface. It can withstand the harshest of alcohol-based products without any risk of fading or deterioration over time, which reduces the need for constant product replacement.  

Forbo Flooring – Flotex FR  

Flotex FR is made up of a solid vinyl, reinforced base with a densely flocked surface of nylon 6.6 fibres that are anchored firmly into the base layer. The floor covering is extremely dimensionally stable and has the benefits of a textile, whilst being durable and easy to clean. This durability is the result of over 70 million nylon fibres in each square metre. This density also enables Forbo to digitally print its Flotex FR range, offering creative freedom for floorings to feature photographic images or replications of other design techniques and surfaces.  

Sileather – silicone fabrics  

Sileather silicone fabrics are highly durable and resistant to abrasion, which enables them to withstand high amounts of foot traffic. Sileather can also withstand exposure to sun bleaching, saltwater spray, chlorinated water, extreme temperatures, as well as everyday cleaning.  

Its durability also extends to stain-resistance. Extensive lab testing has shown that Sileather silicone fabrics are resistant to most contaminants such as coffee, red wine and marker pen. Stains can be easily removed with water or detergent.  

GDS Pioneering Light – Drive Hub   

Drive Hub by GDS Pioneering Light provides an efficient, reliable and flexible way to light any new or old vessel. 

The technology removes key components from inaccessible locations which improves reliability, accessibility and performance. Drive Hub will power and control widely distributed LED fixtures via data cables, or repurpose legacy cabling using GDS’s Integrated Power Management. 

The system delivers significant carbon savings over standard LED and halogen installations, and notably reduces power consumption. 

Hera – reading luminaire   

Hera’s adjustable bedside reading light aims to combine relaxation and comfort with product quality and longevity. It features a simple aesthetic, 360-degree handling, 90-degree tilt, long product lifecycle and direct connection to 230-volt power supply.  

Hera’s product range has a system guarantee of up to five years and is certified for the safety of lighting systems on a regular basis. Through this, it aims to reduce the need to replace fixtures and enhance overall durability of a ship’s in-cabin fixtures.

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