Showcasing sustainability and innovation for cruise ship interiors

Susan Sadolin discusses the idea behind Innovation Lounges and how they will drive collaboration

Showcasing sustainability and innovation for cruise ship interiors
The Innovation Lounge allows cruise ship interior design companies to showcase their most innovative and sustainable products

By Richard Humphreys |

The Scandinavian approach to design is one centred on quality, sustainability and the tradition of collecting items that can be passed down through the generations. 

Danish designer Susan Sadolin, CEO of Shores Global and Innovation Lounges, has advocated for the cruise industry to adhere to those pillars throughout her career. She has worked in the sector for more than a decade and has always prioritised exploring what sustainability means for the cruise industry. 

“Before the pandemic hit in 2020, most companies in the cruise industry had a team travelling around the world visiting designers, shipyards, owners and others,” says Sadolin. “Not only was this time consuming and expensive, but there was also little regard about how they were impacting the environment. It was time to change.” 

Around this time, Shores moved into its new headquarters in Miami, Florida, and developed the idea for an Innovation Lounge. 

Curated by marine interior design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden, the 600-square-metre Innovation Lounge features various spaces that replicate those typically found onboard a cruise ship, such as a suite, stateroom, bathroom, balcony, bar and restaurant, reception, retail area, spa, and a pool and open deck. Multiple vendors have been invited to showcase their sustainable, marine-grade products in these areas, including artwork, lighting, textiles, floor coverings, deck equipment, and much more. 

“The Innovation Lounge is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the cruise and hospitality industries, providing a shared showroom where stakeholders in the hospitality and cruise ship interior design industries can exhibit their most innovative and sustainable products,” says Sadolin. “Cruise line decision-makers can book physical or virtual visits to the lounge and access resources from experts to help their companies join the circular economy.  

“We aim to redesign the space every two years and diversify the group of suppliers and members, choosing partners based on their industry knowledge, passion for innovation and their commitment to becoming circular companies. Tillberg Design of Sweden will update the Miami lounge again in autumn 2022.” 

The lounge opened at the start of 2021 and Shores began hosting events and inviting clients for one-to-one meetings. This period was tricky, says Sadolin, citing Covid-related restrictions and the loss of people in the industry as the main challenges. 

“When people were eventually able to visit the space, their reactions were extremely positive and they were amazed with the concept and the possibilities it creates,” says Sadolin. “Most people say things like, ‘this is definitely the future’, ‘this is amazing’, and ‘it’s so great to have a one-stop-show directly here in Miami’. It was a tough time to start this venture, but it was also the right time to do it.” 

Following the positive feedback from both the cruise and hospitality sectors, Shores developed the innovation lounge virtual marketplace (ILM) and is opening another physical showroom in Hamburg, Germany, in September 2022. 

“This year we are also introducing the CircoHUB knowledge platform in partnership with sustainability expert Siu Lie Tan,” says Sadolin. “By sharing information on sustainability and circular design strategies, we aim to take sustainability in the industry to an even higher level. Having these resources in one place will make it easier for operators to access the sustainability specifications of products, thereby expediting the design and purchasing processes. 

“Technological innovation and development in eco-design is essential for the green transition, but social innovation is also necessary to achieve a true circular economy. The CircoHUB facilitates the exchange of experience and knowledge whilst simultaneously functioning as a meeting place for potential ecosystem partners.” 

Sadolin also plans to create physical CircoHUBs in Florida, northern Europe and southern Europe where materials can be collected, recycled and upcycled.  

“In the next 12-18 months, the cruise industry will be booming again, and there will be a greater focus towards a sustainable future,” says Sadolin. “Eco-design will be the future for interiors and there will be an emphasis on quality and long-life cycles. We are confident that the innovation lounge concept will evolve as partnerships, brainstorming and cooperation between companies become even more important. 

“The Innovation Lounge is definitely the future of sourcing and purchasing in the cruise industry.” 

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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