Purposeful design for a small-ship experience

Nedgé Louis-Jacques of Tomas Tillberg Design discusses design priorities for small-ship projects

Purposeful design for a small-ship experience
Tomas Tillberg Design opted for floor-to-ceiling windows, a natural palette and soft materials onboard SunStone Ships’ Ocean Albatros

By Alice Chambers |

When designing the interiors of small or expedition-style ships, Tomas Tillberg Design incorporates natural elements to reflect the destinations they visit, as well as sustainable materials, luxury furnishings and well-equipped, functional facilities that enable guests to enjoy a luxurious expedition cruise experience.  

“Guests on smaller ships are looking to travel to remote places that enable them to see nature up close, so this often serves as an inspiration for our design schemes,” says Nedgé Louis-Jacques, partner and senior vice president of design at the firm. “Our main focus is to bring the outdoors inside via big open windows. We also aim to create serene and comfortable spaces that feel like home. Plus, we have special areas like mudrooms and multifunctional lounges that can host educational lectures and arctic experiences.” 

Tomas Tillberg Design is currently designing expedition vessel Ocean Albatros, which is part of SunStone Ships’ Infinity-class ships and will be delivered in March 2023. Onboard, the firm has opted for floor-to-ceiling windows, a natural palette and soft materials to make the ship feel elegant, spacious and welcoming.  

“Smaller ships like this are a lot more intimate than larger vessels,” says Louis-Jacques. “We’re creating boutique hotel-style interiors that offer casual comfort without distracting guests from the views outside.”  

The design firm is also helping SunStone to achieve its sustainability goals by choosing products that use less energy and produce less waste. “The SunStone vessels are destined for regions like Antarctica, the Arctic and Alaska, so the environmental impact of the design took centre stage,” says Louis-Jacques. “We discussed the supply chain to look for eco-friendly products that would be easy to maintain, long-lasting and recyclable. For example, we’re using bathroom fixtures that reduce water consumption, engineered stone and wood that decrease the overall amount of weight onboard the ship, and LED lighting to preserve energy.” 

Tomas Tillberg Design aims to continue educating itself and its clients to further reduce the industry’s environmental impact, says Louis-Jacques. 

“The break caused by the pandemic has allowed us to strategise for the future and, with sustainability leading the conversation, the best is yet to come.” 

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.    

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