The inaugural Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe brought the industry together to explore the latest design and interior themes, considerations and forecasts
Design pillars, sustainability, expedition and river cruises, refits and innovative materials were just some of the topics discussed in the packed conference schedule of Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe.
The first cruise interiors design expo in Europe gathered interior designers, architects, shipyards and interior suppliers alongside Europe’s cruise operators.
Over two days, the speaker programme brought together 30 of the most influential and innovative cruise designers in the business, sharing their ideas and expertise in a series of interactive sessions which encouraged insightful discussion.
The topical conference kicked off with the ‘Leader’s debate: pillars of design’.
Pillars of cruise ship design – including lighting, balance, proportion and scale – must work together, said top executives at the opening conference session in Barcelona in December.
MSC Cruises vice president of newbuilding and refurbishment Trevor Young told the audience at the leader’s debate, “The MSC company is passionately and vigorously run by family and they are involved in all decisions about the design of ships. It is about Mediterranean hospitality and values and about how the family interprets their 300 years of seafaring into the cruise industry.
Carnival UK director hotel design and projects Alison Clixby said of Carnival brand P & O Cruises that it “focuses on British design which is difficult to define even for a British person. We look at what makes it warm, homely and familiar... something recognisable that guests relate to.”
Elsewhere, Carnival’s Cunard “is a super luxury brand… we handcraft details that make it distinct for Cunard. We have a lot of heritage to draw on, from the 1920s, the art deco period and direct pattern references; we bring those design elements in quite strongly.”
Meanwhile, Tillberg Design partner and executive director Fredrik Johansson said “We need to understand each brand very deeply and help each brand stand out against background noise. If we work with 9-10 brands, we need to design each brand distinctively. If we design the ship from the very beginning, we make sure the design of the ship goes hand-in-hand with service and entertainment concepts. This makes the whole guest experience much stronger.”
Working as a ‘package’
Mr Young emphasised “We spend a huge amount of time making sure what is designed actually works from an operational point of view.”
Ms Clixby added “Planning is critical… like the flow and ceiling heights, trying to get a feeling of space and how that changes as you walk through the ship. That journey is important and the operational side is what makes the difference. What makes it an experience that makes people want to come back, that it doesn’t just look pretty? We can all design things that look amazing, but what is it that creates that emotional response, that makes the guest want to come back?”
Mr Young said it must be one big package. “The pillars of design all have to work together, we always say lighting is a good third of design, that is one of the pillars of design, it all has to work together as a package.
He said “10 years ago, LED was expensive and we had justify using it. Now by introducing LED we can lower greenhouse gas emissions and the technology allows it to be dimmable and different colours to create the atmosphere you want. Technology is extremely important; it is moving all the time.”
Ms Clixby added “People are here on holiday and want to have an experience they do not have every day and we elevate that experience through multiple design tools.” She highlighted the importance of tweaking proportion, scale, balance and materials.
Age of design
Next, keynote speaker Adam D Tihany took to the stage to speak about ‘Defining narrative – cruising in the age of design’. In his roles as creative director for Costa Cruises and Cunard line, as well as designer for Holland America and Seabourn, Mr Tihany has developed the design vision for some of the largest and smallest new ships at sea. Highlights of his speech included his first collaboration with Celebrity Cruises, on Celebrity Solstice. This looked at the Grand Epernay restaurant and its role in pushing dining rooms from decorated to designed. Mr Tihany also discussed how he applied the architecture of music to the Pinnacle-class of Holland America ships.
Elsewhere, sustainability was a prominent theme, running both through the conference and the expo. The ‘Sustainable cruise interiors’ session highlighted the importance of sustainability needing an industry-wide, international ruling similar to IMO. Waste management in drydocks was also discussed.
The wide-ranging conference programme included an in-depth look at the specifications and procurement process. Moderated by Petra Ryberg (P&O Australia), the panel included Alexis Gouilly Frossard (Kettal), Angelica Bapty (Genting Hong Kong), Antonio Di Nenno (MSC Cruises) and Daniela Herget (Quark Expeditions).
A key focus was how suppliers connect with cruise operators. Ms Herget recommended to anyone wanting to break into the cruise industry to go on a cruise themselves and experience the things a guest needs, while Ms Bapty suggested suppliers spend time educating their clients on the durability of their products. Asked about how to break into the market by an audience member, Mr di Nenno said “[At this exhibition] you will find most of the people that will be behind the doors you are knocking on”.
‘Streamlining the refit process’ examined the importance of time saving and how to achieve efficiencies.
River and expedition design spotlight
Elsewhere, river and expedition cruise ship designs were under the spotlight. Delegates enjoyed an indepth look at space considerations, with input from the panel consisting of Eleonora Brugnolotto (Crystal Cruises), moderator David McCarthy (AD Associates) and Lauren West (AmaWaterways).
Ms West pointed out that with limited venues on board, it is important that spaces can be flexible and repurposed during the day – such as the moving floor of a swimming pool, which when raised, repurposes it into a cinema. Mr McCarthy suggested the space-saving techniques used for technical parts on board river vessels can be transferred to ocean ships. The refurbishment timetable of river vessels was also singled out, with a close look at its benefits. As they are smaller than ocean cruisers, materials can be re-used instead of replaced, leading to less waste and vessels that are in excellent condition all season.
In design imperatives for expedition interiors, a panel of Daniela Herget (Quark Expeditions), Anu Shaw (Kudos Design), Eleonora Brugnolotto (Crystal Cruises), Fredrik Johansson (Tillberg Design), and Stefanie Jentz (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) took an indepth look at design and interiors topics specific to this cruise segment. This ranged from space considerations for effective operations and expedition vessel design being inspired by natural form, as well as applying the Arctic code to design.
Finally, the last session, ‘Future global outlook’, offered an absorbing range of topics, with top cruise ship designers – David McCarthy (AD Associates) Andy Yuill (SMC Design), Greg Walton (Studio DADO), Anne Mari Gullikstad (YSA Design), Marco de Jorio (De Jorio Design International), and Duo Yang (Kuhne Logistics University) – looking at how ships are changing, how interior design is impacted, which regions are growing fastest and the future of sustainability in the cruise industry.
P&O Cruises Australia head of design Petra Ryberg sums up the benefits of the first Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe. “Honestly, it feels like this show is truly made for me. I get to meet all the people I communicate with on a weekly or project basis. There is nothing better than meeting face to face. I only wish I could have more time with everyone.”
The next Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe will be held on 2-3 December 2020, ExCeL London.
Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe countdown