‘Pillars’ of cruise ship design – including lighting, balance, proportion and scale – must work together, said top executives at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe’s opening conference session in Barcelona
MSC Cruises vice president of newbuilding and refurbishment Trevor Young told the audience at the Leader’s debate: pillars of design session: “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.”
Mr Young emphasised “We spend 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 ship. That journey is really important and the operational side is what makes the difference. What makes it an experience that people want to come back, that it doesn’t just look pretty? We can all design things that look amazing, what is it that creates that emotional response, that makes the guest wants to come back?”
Mr Young said it has to 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 to come up with a justification for 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 don’t have every day and we elevate that experience through multiple design tools.” She highlighted the importance of tweaking proportion, scale, balance and materials.