Iona’s Grand Atrium features an curving staircase made from Italian marble
When she debuted in August, Iona, the newest ship in P&O Cruises’ fleet, showcased a range of interior spaces designed by architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles.
The firm has designed most of the food and beverage spaces throughout the ship, along with the three-storey Grand Atrium at her centre. The space is designed to “draw the outside in” by offering panoramic views of the seascape. It will hosts a variety of entertainment experiences, including musical and aerial performances, while at other times it provides a quiet location for guests to gather.
“Despite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to create a unique Grand Atrium that is harmonious with the separate venues, making the space both open and intimate,” said Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins, associate director of Jestico + Whiles. “The refocusing of the guest experiences on the sea is the heart of an entirely new brief. The sea becomes the focus of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to the outside.”
A curving staircase is made from Italian marble serves as the centrepiece of the space, with a filigree silver serpentine balustrade intended to recall the design of cruise ships of the early 20th century.
“We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona, and the design of the Grand Atrium tells you so much about how special she is going to be,” said Paul Ludlow, senior vice president of P&O Cruises. “Balancing intimate spaces with larger social areas, guests will be wowed by the three-storey-high glass walls and the ever-changing view they reveal. From the moment they step onto the staircase, I know guests will be swept away by the beautiful design.”
Jestico + Whiles also designed gastropub The Keel and Cow on deck eight, which offers views over the Grand Atrium and the ocean. Meanwhile, The Glass House on deck seven will allow guests to watch performances in the Grand Atrium while choosing from a wine list and menu curated by wine expert Olly Smith.
In addition, the design studio created the Vistas Cafe Bar on deck six, which features dishes from pâtissier Eric Lanlard. The nearby Emerald Bar, meanwhile, was designed to evoke the atmosphere of a 1920s cocktail bar.
Iona debuted with a maiden voyage around the UK coast on 7 August 2021 after her delivery from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. She has capacity for up to 5,200 passengers and is the largest cruise ship to have been designed for the British market.
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