Meet the people who bring the design vision alive

A quick round-up of operators’ interior design suppliers and partners indicates booming cruise activity, with demand growing for unusual and bespoke interiors

Meet the people who bring the design vision alive
An interior on Crystal Esprit with lighting by Chelsom
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

For those tasked with bringing to life the interior design aspects of newbuilds and revitalisation projects, it’s always interesting (if challenging) to get a brief that breaks the mould.

And right now, there’s plenty of this sort of action about, according to John Hadley, head of marine sales at Chelsom, which has been kept busy of late working on lighting products for Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer, Crystal Esprit and Seabourn Encore. “In general it’s an exciting time to be active in the industry because we are seeing designers and architects push boundaries so much more than we have before and as a result are being asked to undertake incredibly adventurous lighting designs to enhance the new ship interiors,” he says.

Work on the Harmony of the Seas Theatre was demanding due to the challenges of the lighting detail and the short five-week timescale, says Hadley. “The fittings were large-scale statement pieces, in a theatrical Moulin Rouge style. We consulted world leading experts from Pinewood Studios Creative team to ensure the lights truly reflected the designers’ vision and theatrical flair. The creative team worked closely with us at the same time as making set designs for the James Bond Spectre film so we really were partnered with some of the world’s best.”

Ship interior consulting firm Danish Decoration recently worked on Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas and Azamara Journey. Upcoming refits include Celebrity Summit, Azamara Quest and Majesty of the Seas.

“The spa area on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest has been exciting progress for us, as the budget did not allow the scope specified and designed by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., so we ended up doing a design-build project in this area,” says project manager Tina Kjeldgaard.

There are two trends she expects to see more of 2016. The first is the demand to convert less popular onboard areas into luxury cabins complete with VIP areas. The second and “the most significant for us is the more and more tight timeframes we have to fulfil on these projects.” Tillberg Design will celebrate 20 years in business in the US this year but the thrill of designing never fades, says owner Tomas Tillberg. “Any space on a ship is a great challenge from a design viewpoint. The functionality of the space drives the design from the very beginning, but at the same time the aesthetics and beauty of materials and how they are combined create the ultimate visual impact for the guest. To meet and exceed guest expectations is our goal.

“We are currently working on two newbuildings for Lindblad Expeditions. Having been involved more and more the last couple of years in expedition cruise ships, we see that this segment of our industry is developing very fast and it’s exciting to be on the forefront of it. The specific design highlights for these types of ships are different to what we have been more used to on bigger vessels, so for us it’s exciting and the beginning of new trends.” Tillberg also has major refurbishment projects in the pipeline for Royal Caribbean International, as well as other newbuilding and refurbishment projects for existing and new clients.

Karine Bouttier is product manager for Gerflor, which is working on a large number of cruise and ferry projects for clients including Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises, MSC Cruises, BC ferries, Tallink and Viking Line.

Crew areas are a big part of Gerflor’s work, says Bouttier. “Shipowners and architects look for valuable solutions to improve the living standard of the crew.” Gerflor is also developing new colours and surface treatments for projects it is engaged in. “We are interested in all public spaces – such as shops, bars, restaurants, and gym and spa centres – requiring not only easy maintenance, but high design standards.”

Gerflor is seeing more requests for “mineral patterns, a mix of mineral and wood designs in the same area, and a growing interest in long effect wood-design planks that bring a different look in large areas.

“The demand for luxurious or trendy solutions has increased,” adds Bouttier. “Luxury vinyl tiles in passengers cabins are now considered as a serious alternative to carpet for operational benefits (easier maintenance, higher durability, better protection against allergies).”

Chloe Taylor of Forbo, which specialises in customisable IMO-certified flooring products, says: “There is a growing trend in matching design schemes to the branding of originating countries or cities so products that offer extensive customisation and design flexibility are key. There is an increasing desire to celebrate local culture through interior design. In flooring specifically, there is an increasing demand for wood and natural designs, even with textile floor coverings.”

It’s not just the visual aspects of interiors that are important, though. Energy management in interior spaces is a growing area of activity that will keep ALMACO busy this year, says the company’s VP PR and marketing, Ana Albert: “We have extensive experience in delivering complete food handling solutions onboard newbuilds and we’re always thinking of ways to improve the crew experience and the results for the owners. We are continuing the development of our ICM Integrated Catering Management system that offers a comprehensive approach to managing energy, steam and water consumption, as well as data recording and analyses in the galleys, provision stores and refrigeration machinery. We are encouraged to see the advances targeted technology allows for and how ALMACO can integrate it to our catering product offerings to facilitate operations onboard and improve efficiencies for the ship owners.” Star Cruises’ Chinese Dream will feature the system. Another solution, the proprietary Precision Air Cooler, has been installed in the Provision Stores of Norwegian Escape and Albert says: “We expect all owners to migrate towards this more technologically-advanced offering.”

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By Guest
22 April 2016

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