DESIGN AT SEA
Interior designers from hotel and residential backgrounds are changing the face of luxury cruise ships
Interior designers from hotel and residential backgrounds are bringing their expertise to the finest luxury cruise ships. Natalie Mourad and Amelia Hungerford discover how these visionaries are creating a hotel-at-sea atmosphere that appeals to first-time cruisers and devotees.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
There’s nothing on the rivers that looks quite like a Uniworld river ship. The distinctive design takes a generous dose of inspiration from the history of the region that each ship cruises, amplified with antiques, art, opulent flourishes and fabulous floral prints. The unique aesthetic has its roots in the design team, which is truly a family affair. Beatrice Tollman – matriarch of the Tollman family that owns The Travel Corporation, and founder and president of Red Carnation Hotels – works with her daughter, Toni Tollman – director of design and projects for both Uniworld and Red Carnation– to ensure each ship is imbued with Uniworld flair.
SS Joie de Vivre is the latest of Uniworld’s new-build river ships, bringing 20th-century Paris back to the Seine. Toni envisioned the 128-passenger vessel as a meeting of yacht style and stately châteaux, with glossy wood finishes, brass accents, chandeliers, rich Pierre Frey fabrics and silk wall coverings. The wrought-iron staircase in the lobby is said to be a nod to grand Parisian hotels. One of the more interesting features of the design is Club L’Esprit, the onboard spa and wellness centre that transforms into Claude’s supper club by night with a hydraulic floor over the heated pool.
Beatrice Tollman’s influence isn’t restricted to the design; she also contributes many of her favourite, comforting dishes to the ship’s menu for that home-style touch. uniworld.com
Viking Ocean Cruises
Since the launch of Viking Star in 2015, the newcomer to the oceans has been singled out for its chic, sleek Scandinavian aesthetic. All six 930-passenger ships in the Viking Ocean Cruises fleet were designed by Rottet Studio’s Richard Riveire in collaboration with the London-based SMC Design. Riveire is best known for projects in corporate interior design and hospitality (including two bungalows at The Beverly Hills Hotel) rather than for ocean-going vessels, and he brings a fresh eye to ship design. Modern, sharp and simple themes, complemented by plenty of glass to allow natural light in, reflect the design tenets of Viking’s most popular destinations: Scandinavia and Northern Europe. A palette of pale blues, clean whites and light woods, with occasional rust-orange accents, set the tone across the whole fleet, with Viking Orion the latest to take to the seas. viking.com.au
Hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany was called in to apply his skills to Seabourn’s latest sister ships, Encore and Ovation. Launched in January 2017, Seabourn Encore boasts 300 suites with private terraces, ranging from 28 square metres to the 120-square-metre Grand Wintergarden Suites, complete with glassed-in solarium. Tihany’s classic palette of navy and red on dark mahogany – deliberately aiming to avoid light Nordic woods – can be seen in the staterooms, which feature lavish bedrooms with separate living spaces. Renowned for his restaurant and luxury hotel projects – including The Beverly Hills Hotel – the design of Encore and Ovation evokes the understated elegance of a private yacht. Tihany aspires to oversee the design development of the rebranding efforts of the ultra-luxury cruise line, as well as working on the next generation of Seabourn ships. seabourn.com
More than three years since the announcement of Virgin Voyages, we finally get a sneak-peek at the non-cruisers’ cruise ship. Italian shipyard Fincantieri will deliver three ships between 2020 and 2022, each one a collaboration of hospitality design wunderkinds overseen by Dee Cooper, Senior Vice President of Design. Roman and Williams, Tom Dixon and Concrete Amsterdam were all chosen for their freshthinking, fabulous on-land lifestyle spaces and for the fact that they’ve never worked on ships before, which is sure to yield some ingenious results. Take the Athletic Club by Concrete Amsterdam; it will be a gym-meets-sports bar inspired by 1930s New York, marked by a raised, red jogging track and a giant catamaran net where brave ‘sailors’ (as the passengers will be known) can lounge while looking down at the lower decks. As well as the outdoor lounge space, Roman and Williams
will bring its ‘glamorous grunge’ aesthetic to the onboard nightclub, while English eccentric Tom Dixon, known for Shoreditch House and Mondrian London, will reimagine an upscale Mexican restaurant and the VIP Deck as fun, indulgent spaces. virginvoyages.com
Set to sail in December 2018, Celebrity Edge is the first in a new class of ships for Celebrity Cruises. A who’s-who of architecture and interior design has been assembled to bring the ambitious project to life, which is set to feature the world’s first ‘Magic Carpet’, a cantilevered platform that scales four of the ship’s decks throughout the day and offers ‘Dinner on the Edge’ on Deck Six by night. Patricia Urquiola of Studio Urquiola and Scott Butler of Wilson Butler Architects will be responsible for Eden, a whimsical garden venue including a restaurant, a bar (where mixologists pluck ingredients from the Library of Plants) and the unconventional Eve at Eden theatre, a dining and nightlife experience. Kelly Hoppen MBE of Kelly Hoppen Interiors has brought accommodation to life, including The Retreat concept, with its private pool, sundeck and Luminae @ The Retreat Suite-Class restaurant, as well as two two-bedroom Penthouse Suites with soaking tubs on the verandah. She is also fulfilling a childhood dream of designing a spa, with her calming vision for the 2,000-square-metre onboard wellness oasis. A neutral palette and complementary lighting will make The Spa a nature-inspired haven for guests, complete with a dramatic crystal installation and a Zen sculpture that doubles as a reception desk. celebritycruises.com
0301 Suite on board SS Maria Theresa exemplifies Uniworld’s design flair 02 Uniworld’s SS Joie de Vivre welcomes guests with a grand lobby staircase 03 Wintergarden aboard Viking Star brings Scandinavian chic to the sea 04 Understated spa design on Viking Seac 05 Roman and Williams’ concept for Virgin Voyages’ Dock Bar © Virgin Voyages 06 Seabourn Encore Penthouse Spa Suite features Adam D. Tihany’s sophisticated yacht-inspired design © Seabourn. Images 01–02 © Uniworld. Images 03–04 © Viking Ocean Cruises