Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2021

3 6 Curious creatives Studio DADO’s Greg Walton speaks with Rebecca Gibson about the skills designers must develop if they want to create compelling cruise interiors that will resonate with guests for years COVER STORY L ocated in The Bahamas, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay offers a private “idyllic island paradise” for guests sailing on its Caribbean cruises. In 2019, the island underwent a major renovation to introduce an exclusive lagoon retreat, expansive spa, beachfront luxury villas and public areas, all of which have been meticulously crafted to offer a full sensory experience by US-based interior design firm Studio DADO. “The full design landscape – which includes everything from hanging chairs to light- diffusing sheer curtains, oversized bedside lamps, driftwood elements and mixed finished woods – is curated to deliver a relaxed luxury experience and make Norwegian’s guests feel as though they’re in their own private holiday home on their personal island,” says Greg Walton, one of Studio DADO’s four founding partners. Studio DADO’s work on Great Stirrup Cay has earned the company rave reviews from guests and well-deserved acclaim from the cruise industry and interior design world. According to Walton, the reason behind the success of the design is simple: everyone in the Studio DADO team has honed the key qualities that every talented designer should possess – passion, curiosity, patience, open- mindedness and active listening skills. “Passion and curiosity are two of the biggest drivers of creativity,” he says. “When you’re passionate about something, you become curious to find out everything there is to know about it, and if it’s something like interior design, you want to know how you can become better at it. You start seeking inspiration from anyone, anywhere and anything – and then you are well on your way to becoming a successful designer.” For Walton, travel is one of the biggest sources of inspiration. “Whenever I travel for pleasure, I go away for weeks at a time because this gives me the opportunity to fully explore the destination, try the local cuisine, explore the architecture and immerse myself in the culture,” he explains. “Some of my most memorable trips include three weeks in Tibet travelling through the Himalayas and a holiday in South Africa with my friend from Cape Town. Experiencing the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of so many places gives me an extensive bank of resources to draw inspiration from when I’m designing concepts for cruise ships that host guests of multiple nationalities and call at destinations all over the world.” Walton’s passion and curiosity extends far beyond interiors and into the intricacies of successfully managing the business side of cruise “ When you’re passionate about something, you become curious to find out everything there is to know about it ”