The latest cruise and ferry carpet and flooring solutions are smarter, greener and more innovative than before
Bolidt has unveiled its Bolidt Innovation Center just outside Rotterdam. The open-source facility has been designed to stimulate co-creative innovation and ingenuity as the company promotes a collaborative approach to new, ‘smart’ materials.
Its latest developments include ‘intelligent’ decking systems with sensors to gather safety data, LED-integrated materials to enhance the appearance and safety of cruise decks and sustainable sealants, plant oil resins and adhesives for its production process.
“Innovation and clever chemistry have run through the company’s DNA throughout its 55-year history,” says company chief executive Rientz Willem Bol.
The new Bolidt Innovation Center is an open house for cruise ship designers, builders, materials and science experts.
According to maritime division director Jacco van Overbeek, Bolidt products have been installed on board some 350 new cruise vessels, together with a similar number of retrofits.
Customers include several cruise brands owned by the world’s two largest cruise groups, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, brands within the Genting Group, Hurtigruten, Mystic Cruises and Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
Recent advances include developing temperature-tolerant products suitable for exploration cruise vessels and a range of intelligent products designed not only with appearance, durability and cost in mind, but also key safety and efficiency components for today’s increasingly smart vessels. The latest innovations include a decking system that measures footfall over key areas of the ship, which is important for passenger management and safety.
Bespoke flooring with in-built LED lighting, designed both for style and practical purposes, is a relatively new product and can already be seen on some of the newest cruise deliveries. Glow-in-the-dark materials are also available for ships’ interior and exterior spaces.
On board the 4,000-passenger Meyer Werft-built sister ships Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, products installed include a specially developed synthetic material used for the ships’ go-karting tracks. Bolideck Racetrack, based on established road-surfacing technology, is non-slip, resistant, durable and safe. Its surface adhesion composition varies between straights and corners to cater for the karts.
Part of the resin-based decking systems installed on board Norwegian Bliss includes 5,575 m2 of Bolideck Future Teak, a popular sustainable product widely used to replace maintenance-heavy teak decks on cruise vessels and yachts in retrofit projects. The Norwegian Cruise Line contract also includes flooring systems for the soon-to-be-delivered Norwegian Encore and five retrofit projects, bringing the total contract installation area to 46,000 m2.
New green flooring
Sika has launched a new visco-elastic technology, VEM X, used for damping structure-borne noise. Sikafloor Marine VEM X is a one-component polymer modified cementitious product that can be used instead of polyurethane-based products bringing identical product damping characteristics.
Using Sikafloor Marine VEM X also means delivery to the shipyard is easier as there are no dangerous goods to transfer. Polyurethane-based products have to be delivered to special waste stations as they are a chemical product.
Sikafloor Marine VEM X is patented by Sika, which is in the process of phasing out its polyurethane based PU-Red solution and replacing it.
Sika Services corporate head of marine Oscar Ovejero says “The idea was to create a green solution. Companies in the past used PU, but this is no longer welcome in the industry, so we started this project. What we have now is a one-component, elastic cementitious compound with an acoustic performance at the same level as before. The new product is faster to install and uses cheaper raw materials, benefiting the customer, and the waste is a paper bag and not metal.”
“We have provided a new solution in sustainability, price, installation and service.”
The company has also developed a complete product line of artificial teak exterior floors and interior decorative floors, constructed from resin. These have recently been installed on the passenger tourist ship Enhydra in San Francisco, carried out with Canada-headquartered A&A Installations, and have also been installed on cruise ships being built at Meyer Turku.
Mr Ovejero says “Our resin exterior artificial floors offer faster application than PVC or wood as there are no joints in between. The continuous waterproof membrane can also be used as a levelling compound.
He highlights the freedom of design and colours for the floors. “There is a lot of freedom in design in term of logos and cutting plane. We have 15 colours in total, and different colours can be combined.”
He says the colours have all been tested by Sika for over 5,000 hours and the results show the “colours are stable, there are no surface cracks and it is easy to refresh the surface.”
Prolonging flooring life
Elsewhere, Forbo Flooring Systems’ Flotex FR is a textile flocked floor covering, combining the cleaning properties and durability of a resilient flooring with the comfort, slip resistance and acoustic properties usually associated with textiles.
The company highlights benefits including:
Forbo Flooring Systems marketing manager key accounts Jemma Masters says “Meeting all the fire safety standards set by IMO/MED for products used in seagoing vessels, Flotex FR is an ideal solution wherever a hardwearing, attractive, hygienic and easy to clean marine floor covering is required.”
Flotex is tested and certified to the following standards: IMO/MED, US Coast Guard, Lloyd’s Register, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
Ms Masters adds “If you are looking to incorporate a logo, match to a particular colourway or simply to create your own bespoke masterpiece then our experienced designers can help at any stage in the design process, depending on what involvement you require.”
The company’s Coral Marine FR entrance floor coverings stop up to 95% of walked-in dirt and moisture being tracked on board, prolonging the life of the ship’s interior floor coverings and finishes and greatly reducing cleaning costs and the risk of slipping.
Coral Marine FR entrance and corridor flooring is a cut-pile floor covering consisting of 60% wool and 40% polyamide. It simultaneously absorbs moisture and removes dry soiling.
It has been developed for use in entrances, as well as transitional areas such as corridors and lift lobbies.
Ms Masters says “Coral Marine FR comes in a range of contemporary colours to suit all onboard interior designs. It is suitable for passenger ferries, cruise liners, charter boats, other seagoing vessels and offshore applications.”
Brittany Ferries, Ultramar, MSC
Elsewhere, Gerflor has supplied its Streamo floorings to a wide range of cruise and ferry passengers, with its latest projects spanning the Mustay Karim Russian river cruise ship, the new LNG-powered ferry for Brittany ferries, Ultramar’s two latest fast ferries and MSC Grandiosa.
Gerflor product manager Karine Bouttier says “Their interiors will be enhanced with Streamo Karavel luxury vinyl tiles, offering a wide palette of wood and mineral designs but also with homogeneous floorings, available in more than 60 colours.”
Streamo is Gerflor’s dedicated range for marine IMO applications. This includes homogeneous floorings with patented surface treatment, decorative luxury vinyl tiles and a wide offering of additional finishes and accessories (skirtings, stair nosings etc). Gerflor can also supply wall protection, entrance mattings and all the tools needed for optimal installation.
The company is expanding its products with a soon-to-launch IMO adhesive, a new non-directional homogeneous flooring and a rubber studded tile.
The sustainability trend within the passenger ship industry can also be seen in Gerflor’s processes. Ms Bouttier says “In line with our strong commitment to sustainable development and a focus on innovative solutions, Gerflor can supply precut pieces for all crew cabins, enabling our customers to facilitate the installation process, save time and costs, and significantly minimise waste.”
She highlights how the company is forging links between onshore and maritime flooring. “Working in close co-operation with our customers and our internal group studio design, we try to bring more designs and reduce the frontiers between land-based buildings and the marine market to make the passengers and crew feel at home.”
Innovative carpet design
Creative Matters has designed carpets for a range of cruise ships recently and its project manager Clémence Hardelay highlights some of the major considerations and design innovations. Singling out an irregularly shaped inset carpet for the jewellery store on board Celebrity Edge, she says “At first we received a floor plan, and no specific design direction except that it needed to fit with the surrounding colourway. What we noticed was the off-centre column and that is what directed our choice of pattern.
“We immediately thought that Nova, from our handknotted Aerial Collection, was just perfect for the space. We adapted the pattern into the woven Axminster format which is the production method usually used for cruise ship public areas. When I visited the ship, I was stunned by the elegance of the space. The carpet fits perfectly and I love how the pattern reflects in the mirrored cabinets, adding dimension to it.”
Celebrity Edge is one of six ships owned by Royal Caribbean International that now displays Creative Matters’ carpet designs. “Royal Caribbean originally requested our help because their manufacturers’ concepts were not always meeting their requirements in terms of colour, design and visual texture. This resulted in a long sampling stage where sometimes up to 50 samples per area were made. With our expertise, not only did the number of samples reduce to between three and seven, but the designs became more contemporary and in line with their vision,” said Ms Hardelay. “An example of this is our design for Cafe al Bacio.
The client’s inspiration for the space was images of pleats and fluid, transparent fabrics.”
She explains that Creative Matters created one pattern reflecting the lightness and movement of the pleats for the neutral carpet and scaled up a section of it for the red circular carpet that needed to match the colour of the velvet fabric of the chairs.
Ms Hardelay adds “For most of our Royal Caribbean projects, we liaise directly with their internal design team but it is interesting how Royal Caribbean hires different interior designers for each space – suites, staterooms, restaurants, bars and shopping areas. For some spaces we collaborated with the interior designers, helping them and Royal Caribbean to achieve the desired look. Sometimes we consulted only on colour, other times we created designs based on the interior designer’s vision. The challenge is to please both as they each have their opinion and requirements.”
She says that for example, on Celebrity Edge, Creative Matters worked closely with Jouin Manku to develop the correct colours for the Martini bar and then with Kelly Hoppen to add interesting blended textures to her existing patterns for the corridors and staterooms.
Cruise ship carpet design can be restrained by small repeats (sometimes only 30 cm) and a small number of colours (four to 10 colours), says Ms Hardelay.
“Although it varies by manufacturer, the space, and the standard of the ship, these limitations are based on practicality and how frequently the carpet needs to be replaced. “As Celebrity Edge is a modern luxury cruise ship, we were fortunately often able to create repeats up to 4 m wide and patterns with no repeat, which are both quite exceptional in this field. The results are beautiful, unexpected contemporary designs that elevate the cruise carpet world,” she says.