Tomas Tillberg Design explains what it meant to design the interiors of the world’s first China-built cruise ship
SunStone Ships’ Greg Mortimer has set a precedent by being the first cruise ship delivered from China.
SunStone Ships president Niels-Erik Lund says, “What we say is we built a European ship assembled in China. It is European designed, European managed and uses European equipment.”
Finland’s Makinen was selected to contract the interiors and Tomas Tillberg Design was chosen for the interior design. It has designed SunStone Ships’ interiors for a decade.
Tomas Tillberg Design lead designer and managing partner Nedgé Louis-Jacques explained the challenges of the ship’s assembly and construction being in China, saying the main consideration was “being able to source and find the materials we needed to ensure the original design was kept intact. We did a lot of research and worked very closely with the interior outfitter company”.
He adds “In terms of design it was very important to keep in close communication with the interior outfitters. We had e-meetings twice a week.”
When it comes to the design, Mr Lund says the seven Infinity-class ships have been chartered by different cruise operators. “Each charterer designs its passenger areas of the ship, some have swimming pools, some are without, they have differing numbers of restaurants as they operate in different places, with different demographics and passengers.”
Aurora Cruises, which is chartering Greg Mortimer, is “very expedition minded”, says Mr Lund and so has a helicopter deck instead of a pool. It has two restaurants and 80 cabins with 160 passengers.
Explaining the main design features, Mr Louis-Jacques says, “Our inspiration was Antarctica. We wanted to ensure we allowed nature to take centre stage. Most rooms feature large windows and the ship has ample dedicated viewing areas such as the hydraulic viewing platforms and the observation deck so passengers never miss an impromptu whale sighting or can simply take in the beautiful landscapes.
“Throughout the ship, a neutral colour palette was accentuated with different shades of blue accents and artwork and graphic images were a big part of the design.
“We allowed ample space for large format art pieces, specifically the cabin headboard and full height vertical pieces at the entry to cabins and stair landings. Walking around, one can easily and quickly get a sense of these key elements.”
The design company is also working on ferries being built in China. It is playing an important role in Viking Line’s newbuild project being built at Xiamen Shipbuilding in China. A team lead by Tomas Tillberg Design managing partner Carlos H Reyes is responsible for the co-ordination between the shipyard, the outfitters and the architects.
Tomas Tillberg is leading the way when it comes to the interiors of cruise ships being built in China.