Cruise & Ferry Interiors 2022

1 0 9 DES IGN PERSPECTI VE and minimalist. The saloon onboard is adorned with bell metal work typical to Assam, bamboo and cane crafts that represent the tools used locally, and cane and teakwood furniture that is clad with handwoven cushions with very distinct Assamese-style motifs. When designing each ship, I have taken inspiration from everything that I see around me but particularly from the old homes of friends and family members in Assam and Bengal. I have collected many of the antiques, artworks and materials from the antique markets and artisanal village markets in Assam and Bengal that I have been visiting from a young age. We use a lot of wicker in our furniture because it has a timeless style that has been inherited from our colonial history. In addition, it is a sustainable material that grows in abundance in India and it helps support the many rural communities that sustain their livelihoods through wicker-weaving. Through our ships, we have developed our own design synergy between our local culture, aesthetic, communities and artisans who we have worked with over the years. In fact, as a result of our partnerships, we have created a small boutique in the city of Guwahati in Assam, a small rural weaving centre in Kaziranga NP and we are currently working to create a small e-commerce platform, all to support artisans in North East India. As inspiring as it is to see design trends and material development on cruise and river boats, it is not practical to implement it in the relatively remote regions that we operate in. Instead, we focus on creating spaces that feel like you are walking into a floating home endowed with the style and stories of the places that guests are visiting. And, in creating an ambience that is reflective of our culture whilst supporting the local artisans, we have been able to develop vessels that are cherished by both our guests and local crew members. CFI Antara Phookan is director of design and business development at Assam Bengal Navigation “ It is important to differentiate, yet take inspiration from, the distinct beauty in a vernacular aesthetic of our unique cultures” The lounge onboard ABN Sukapha features bamboo-panelled walls and feels homely