Elegance, standing the test of time and creating something unique are major drivers for De Jorio Design International president and head of interior design Marco de Jorio
De Jorio Design International has designed the interiors of 14 ships within MSC Cruises’ fleet and it is working on the design of eight MSC newbuilds, which include large ships built for the contemporary market and four smaller ships aimed at the luxury sector.
Mr de Jorio’s background is steeped in ship interior design. After graduating from the University of Architecture in Genoa and Rome, in 1986 he joined Studio De Jorio, founded by his father, the renowned architect Giuseppe de Jorio. Then in 2000, he founded De Jorio Design International, with Giuseppe and brother Vittorio de Jorio.
De Jorio Design International’s longstanding relationship with MSC Cruises started with Lirica and Opera, which were delivered in 2003 and 2004.
Mr de Jorio opened up about De Jorio Design International’s approach to MSC Cruises’ ships. “We target real elegance and uniqueness and the design of new iconic elements. Our approach is not to copy, but to always give a new interpretation of a commercial element. Even when we design a typical restaurant we always translate the design in a new way, giving a new look to even a classic design.”
He emphasised that the company did not want to repeat or clone elements in a first-in-class ship, and this applied from the design right down to the carpets, chairs, sofas and lamps. “Every element is customised,” Mr de Jorio said.
Creating a durable design also underpins Mr de Jorio’s work. “It is easy to design something contemporary, but we must always think of the future. We cannot just design for the next three years, we have to create something that will last 15-20 years,” he explained.
“It is about respecting current tendencies but also being able to create a design that people say ‘wow’ to in 20 years’ time – to create something that is still seen as elegant.”
The MSC Meraviglia promenade represents a city and is unusual as there are no cabins
The Meraviglia-class of ship is a strong example that demonstrates how De Jorio Design International has created a ground-breaking, timeless and elegant design. In the heart of MSC Meraviglia is a three-story atrium with stand-out features including a glass mirror ceiling and two Swaroski studded glass staircases. There is also the game-changing 96-m long Galleria Meraviglia promenade, featuring an 80-m dome – the highest ever on a cruise ship – with an LED ceiling that creates ever-changing visual effects.
This two-deck promenade includes restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, a chocolate shop, the shopping centre, the spa and theatre. Highlighting its innovation, Mr de Jorio said “This promenade represents a city where one finds modern architecture and an urban space. It is unusual as there are no cabins, it is designed purely for passengers to spend their leisure time.”
Another example is MSC Seaview, where the interiors have been made very open to the outside space. This is to make the most the tropical temperate regions in which the ship travels.
Glass walls are used on the upper decks as much as possible and there is a pool on the aft of the lower deck – as well as higher up – which is rare on a large ship. This is so passengers can feel closer to the sea.
A loop between decks five, six, seven and eight enables passengers to walk from aft to forward and allows them to be connected to different spaces, both inside and outside, allowing passengers to feel close to the sea and take in the scenery. All decks are connected to public spaces, both vertically and horizontally, so passengers can have easy connections and easily access all activities.
Flexibility of space and easy transition of space usage between day and night is a key feature on this ship and others being built, such as MSC Evo, currently being built by Fincantieri. Here, De Jorio Design International has designed a large foyer with a three-deck high LED wall and ceiling that emulates the mood of Times Square and which will be used as a flexible space for shows, music and entertaining.
A challenge for cruise ship interior designers is to cater for increasing numbers of guests, as ships get larger. MSC Cruises’ World-class ships will have capacity for 7,000 guests. Mr de Jorio explained it is important to harmonise free flow through creating open-plan spaces – areas with several different spaces through which people can move freely – and not isolating spaces.
He singled out a good example on the MSC World-class ships – they are designed with a double promenade – a very large three-deck inner promenade and an external one, each full of different activities. “Even if each promenade offers different corners and areas, all are connected, and the flow of people can move and not stop.”
Mr de Jorio has been at the forefront of cruise ship interior design and he elaborates on the exciting opportunities for designers in the future. “We will see different types of ships, with more and more smaller ships specialised on one special activity, perhaps for exploration, beauty, fitness or for the concept of enjoying life.”