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Jestico + Whiles

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship is named in a record-breaking virtual ceremony. Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience. Iona, powered by liquefied natural gas, ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world, arrived for the first time into her home port of Southampton this morning ahead of tonight’s official naming ceremony. The ship was officially named tonight by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, Britain’s largest independent travel agency, in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship. The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of over 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show. A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future. There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019. Picture date Sunday 16th May, 2021. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 chris@christopherison.com For further press information please contact: Michele Andjel, michele.andjel@carnivalukgroup.com 023 8065 6653 / 07730 732 072 Laura Tattam, laura.tattam@pocruises.com 02380 656651 / 07771 283 845 Jenny Hadley, jenny.hadley@pocruises.com 023 8065 6650 / 07825 120 088

What we know about Britain’s largest cruise ship, designed by Jestico + Whiles

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
What we know about Britain’s largest cruise ship, designed by Jestico + Whiles

British cruise ship operator, P&O Cruises, has launched the latest addition to its fleet, Iona, with interiors designed by hospitality experts, Jestico + Whiles. Nearly three years since we first started following this project, let’s take a look inside Britain’s largest cruise ship…

Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship is named in a record-breaking virtual ceremony. Britain’s largest and most environmentally-friendly cruise ship, P&O Cruises Iona, has been officially named in a very contemporary ceremony with a record-breaking virtual audience. Iona, powered by liquefied natural gas, ground-breaking for the UK cruise industry and one of the cleanest fuels in the world, arrived for the first time into her home port of Southampton this morning ahead of tonight’s official naming ceremony. The ship was officially named tonight by Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, Britain’s largest independent travel agency, in a glittering quayside ceremony by the bow of the ship. The event, held at sunset, was hosted by Jo Whiley and broadcast to a “virtual” audience of over 25,000 guests. The highlight of the show was a rousing set from Iona’s music director Gary Barlow performing two iconic Take That hits “Greatest Day and “Rule the World” against the backdrop of a spectacular laser show. A specially produced Nebuchadnezzar (equivalent to 20x 750ml bottles) of Alex James’s Britpop cider smashed against the hull of the ship in spectacular style to bring it good fortune in the future. There was also a special performance by The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir and Mica Paris singing Believe, a song which was composed by Simon Haw MBE and was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen, head of the Commonwealth, for its 70th anniversary in 2019. Picture date Sunday 16th May, 2021. Picture by Christopher Ison. Contact +447544 044177 chris@christopherison.com For further press information please contact: Michele Andjel, michele.andjel@carnivalukgroup.com 023 8065 6653 / 07730 732 072 Laura Tattam, laura.tattam@pocruises.com 02380 656651 / 07771 283 845 Jenny Hadley, jenny.hadley@pocruises.com 023 8065 6650 / 07825 120 088

Britain’s largest and most environmentally friendly ship, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) will accommodate up to 5,200 guests. Iona was named in a spectacular ceremony broadcast to a virtual audience on Sunday May 16 and the ship’s maiden voyage will be on August 7, sailing the UK coast and up to her namesake island.

The award-winning interior design and architecture studio, Jestico + Whiles, which recently took part in a panel discussion on the new era of lifestyle at Hotel Designs LIVE, has designed most of the food and beverage spaces throughout the ship and the most spectacular space of all, the soaring triple-height Grand Atrium which captures unprecedented panoramic views across the ever-changing seascape, as far as the horizon.

The Grand Atrium is the heart of Iona, a lively focal point that encapsulates the spirit of the ship, with spectacular views and natural light. This special space is designed to ‘draw the outside in’ and, accordingly, Jestico + Whiles has made the sea the hero of the space, allowing guests to connect with the seascape around them.The Grand Atrium will be, according to the occasion and time of day, either playground or sanctuary.

“The refocusing of the guest experiences on the sea is the heart of an entirely new brief.” – Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins, Associate Director at Jestico + Whiles.

It a key entertainment space, designed meticulously to effortlessly accommodate a wide variety of experiences, from musical performance to thrilling aerialists.

At other times it will attract guests throughout the day for convivial repose, offering from morning coffee as the sun rises and sundowners at dusk.

An elegant, gravity defying, arcing staircase of Italian marble with a filigree, bright silver serpentine balustrade serves as the centre piece to the space, evoking the glamour of the iconic cruise ships of the early 20th century. Designed as a sculpture, its swooping form leads guests on a journey through the decks offering ever changing views.

Since you’re here, why not read our ‘suites on the high seas’ feature, which explores why hotel designers were asked to design cruise operators latest vessels?

The unifying experience of the atrium is always the view to the sea that provides an enchanting, captivating backdrop to the activity within.

“Despite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to create a unique Grand Atrium that is harmonious with the separate venues, making the space both open and intimate,” said Jennifer de Vere-Hopkins, Associate Director at Jestico + Whiles. The refocusing of the guest experiences on the sea is the heart of an entirely new brief. The sea becomes the focus of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to the outside.”

P&O Cruises Senior Vice President, Paul Ludlow, added: “We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona, and the design of the Grand Atrium tells you so much about how special she is going to be. Balancing intimate spaces with larger social areas, guests will be wowed by the three storey high glass walls and the ever-changing view they reveal. From the moment they step onto the staircase, I know guests will be swept away by the beautiful design.”

Jestico + Whiles has designed P&O Cruises first ever ‘gastro pub’ – The Keel and Cow – on Deck 8, with views over the Grand Atrium and the ocean. The Glass House on Deck 7 will include an impressive wine list and menu curated by award-winning wine expert Olly Smith, wines from around the world are served by the glass. Wine connoisseurs will be well taken care of with a new experience, Cellar Door at the Glass House will offer wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners.  Guests can relax with unbeatable views as they watch impromptu aerial and circus performances in the three-storey high space.

On Deck 6 at the Vistas Cafe Bar there is a unique offer from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard.  The nearby Emerald Bar will evoke the glamour of a 1920s cocktail bar.

Iona was constructed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. She holds 5,200 passengers and is the largest cruise ship for the British market.

Main image credit: P&O Cruises

Virtual roundtable: Tomorrow’s perception of clean

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: Tomorrow’s perception of clean

To cut through the noise and with the aim to identify meaningful solutions, Hotel Designs’ next virtual roundtable, in association with Geberit, tackles the hygiene debate to ultimately understand tomorrow’s perception of clean…

On the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: I really feel for suppliers and manufacturers during this time, during the Covid-19 crisis, because it is so difficult to predict what consumers will demand moving forward and therefore designing products that are suitable for tomorrow’s guests who are checking in is such a challenge. But I want to know, is hygiene becoming a selling point in itself and is this driving innovation at Geberit HQ?

Lynne Clapham-Carter: Hygiene has always been a driver in bathroom manufacturing and Geberit has always been at the forefront of innovative tech – both in terms of hygiene and water-saving solutions – for the last 150 years.

What I am finding is that technology has been in place for a while and now people are beginning to discover this, which is driving demand. Hygiene and touch-free tech has long been standard for many commercial spaces. Now, as a company, we are seeing this being pushed into the residential space.

A modern, sleek bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

HK: Hygiene has been the fundamental topic in every conversation recently – but our industry is, by its very nature, already setting high standards when it comes to clean and safe spaces. How will hospitality reassure the post-corona consumer without making it feel sterile? 

James Dilley: It’s partly perception. I think, pre-pandemic, we were seeing a lot of the non-touch tech evolving in any case. The way check-in areas have changed in recent years is a prime example of this. In theory, and I don’t believe hygiene was the driver for this, we can go through a hotel experience without having to touch anyone or anything. The counterpoint of that is in the luxury market, where there has been a strong demand for real human contact. People will pay more for a human to deliver that service and they [luxury hotels] will have the challenge to deliver that in a post-pandemic world.

HK: When it comes to lifestyle and luxury, does the perception differ?

Hannah Willock: Everyone is so well travelled now that, I believe, it spans across both – you want the hotel to feel like a home-away-from-home. We’ve had a lot of conversations recently about injecting technology in a meaningful way so that the hospitality experience is accessible to everyone.

“Bathrooms are semi-blessed for appearing to be cleaner than clean.” – David Mason, Head of Hospitality, Scott Brownrigg.

HK: Now more than ever there is that bridge between design and service. Are you then, as designers, more involved in conversations regarding service at an earlier stage of the design project?

David Mason: As designers, we have always been part of that process considering that we are creating experiences. So, I think we are always working with those touchpoints in mind. Bathrooms are semi-blessed for appearing to be cleaner than clean – not like, for example, soft furnishings or fabrics. If we are going to go back to this very tech-driven approach to design to move people around the space, we have to then remember to include more touchpoints to make up for the human element and interaction being lost.

“You don’t therefore want to make it feel clinical.” – Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International.

HK: What are the pitfalls to avoid when looking at tomorrow’s perception of clean?

Fiona Thompson: When you are in a hotel there is an assumption that there is a level of clean. And I know that the big hotel group are collaborating to maximize this, but from a human level there is already a strong assumption that hotels – in general – are clean spaces and that, especially in the bathroom, that there is a level of cleanliness. You don’t therefore want to make it feel clinical. It’s now about creating that balance.

HK: Tamara, you are working on a very exciting development in London. Do the conversations differ between hospitality and residential?

Tamara Ayorech Okello: I think we are all striving for an enhancement to what we already have. A lot of our purchasers, post-covid especially, are putting more emphasis into the bathroom being a space of tranquility. In residential, it’s about having loyal and trustworthy suppliers who can ensure that the spaces look amazing but also out-perform others on the market. In terms of client engagement, the most common thing we are seeing being demanded in the bathroom is quality fixtures and fittings. That is not going to change, it’s only going to progress – and it’s something people are more inclined to invest in.

“At first, we see these high-tech products emerge in suites but when demand surges the cost of these items will come down and they will become almost as standardized part of the bathroom design.” – Richard Snow, Senior Designer, RPW Design.

Light and bright modern bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

HK: One of the takeaways from a recent Hotel Designs LIVE event we hosted was that wellness would be injected in all areas of the hotel moving forward. That suggests to me, as you were saying Tamara, that clients and consumers alike will put more emphasis on the bathroom. How are these spaces becoming more than just practical spaces? 

Richard Snow: New technology, such as the shower toilet, is starting to become an interesting conversation. At first, we see these high-tech products emerge in suites but when demand surges the cost of these items will come down and they will become almost as standardised part of the bathroom design. We’ve had rooms in the past where we have designed them as a spa room and I think it depends of budget, quality and style. It’s exciting that more products are becoming available that make these rooms more of an experience. For me, it will be interesting to see how that technology from the five-star level drips down into more accessibly priced hotel experiences.

HK: Do you think that spa experience will become standardised?

FT: I’m not sure if ‘spa experience’ is the right phrase, but health and wellness is such a large factor at the moment for all sectors in the hospitality arena. Covid-19 has changed such a lot that I believe the bedroom and bathroom will just become such an intimate space which allows for the wellness experience to be elevated.

HK: In recent times, lifestyle brands have not been afraid to target themselves to a particular, often narrow, demographic. In lifestyle specifically, what are the hygiene demands from modern travellers?

JD: The W Edinburgh is highly tech based and without touch, however, when it opens, the guest will have a choice. The challenge for this hotel is that there are no barriers between the city and the hotel – it is an extension of the neighbourhood and there is no perception of security or threshold for that matter. And actually, the most public of spaces in the hotel are right at the top of building in order to utilise the view across the city. The challenge will be how to control and manage people from outside. There are a lot of challenges but hotels’ currency is hygiene and sanitation. Now I am just seeing that businesses are just packaging the messaging in different ways.

LCC: A few years back, Geberit published a white paper that looked at the five senses in order to create a safe haven within a bathroom or guest suite to actually look at it in a holistic way. From our side, it was about understanding the challenges and how they get assaulted and creating a space where you feel space without it feeling clinical. As a manufacturer, our job is to address the acoustics, the smells and touches (all those tactile things) and how they impact in product.

“When we eventually do come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, social contact will be mayhem in such a beautiful way.” – James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles.

HK: What would you say are the main demands you are hearing from designers and architects at the moment?

LCC: Swapping things from touch to touchless. That would be the biggest enquiry at the moment, and that goes for both residential and hospitality.

FT: Particularly in public spaces.

RS: There is a different perception in public and private areas. I think there is an element of guests wanting to be in control in their own private spaces.

JD: I am a great believer in that for every action there is a reaction. And for me, there has been a lack of social contact recently. When we eventually do come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, social contact will be mayhem in such a beautiful way. I also think this will be the same with hygiene and sanitation. We have been closeted and constricted for two years and I think consumers will demand for sharing plates.

DM: With the vaccine as well, we are getting a positive approach that we will come out of this and it is helping us move forward.

JD: The irony is that by making the hospitality experience touch-free is to use your mobile phones, and mobile phones have got to be the most unsanitary objects in our lives. The fact that we are using them to combat germs just does not make any sense.

HK: Will shower toilets become more popular in the west?

FT: I think it is happening. In more and more of the properties we are working on it has become an option. I think that’s partly because it is an added facility and sometimes it is a space saving answer to the brief to remove the bidet. There is more of a challenge to introduce these in public areas.

RS: When you are in Japan, they are everywhere but certainly here it will take time for the shower toilet to be embraced.

TAO: In residential, I can see the shower toilet being embraced but I am not sure how that would jump into the hospitality public areas.

LCC: One of the things I find interesting in this conversation around shower toilets is that our society has become a lot more multi-cultural now and participially in the hotel industry people are travelling and in Japan, as an example, more than 50 per cent of people have shower toilets in their homes. So, when they come to a hotel and are paying large sums of money for a night they will expect the same, at least, if not better than what they have in their hotel. Hotels are using refurbishments as an opportunity to install these products.

HW: In our projects in the Asia/Pacific region, we are speaking with suppliers to ensure that the shower toilets we specify are simple and easy to use. Also, in addition to the obvious features of these products, clients also buy into the other benefits such as the anti-bacteria cleaning features.

FT: if you can simplify the controls, then people will use it.

Image of urban large bathroom

Image credit: Geberit

HK: Can we do better than sensors when it comes to touchless tech? 

HW: We are seeing a lot of app-based technology especially when it comes to showering. In a residential setting that is becoming really popular but in a hotel that throws in a lot of challenges, it is possible and if the conversations are had at the very start of the project it can be integrated into projects successfully . I think we will begin to see more and more adoption and integration of this in hospitality over time. What is key is ensuring the success is that if it’s used  its user friendly for all guests across the board.

DM: I worked on the Eccleston Square hotel, which stored guests’ information so that the temperate of the room and service requirements could be replicated when the guest returned. That was 10-12 years ago so the technology is there but it is about streamlining the process. It is at the end of day a balance.

I think it’s also a generational thing. What works for one demographic won’t necessarily work for others. We need the choice, tech is advancing all the time, who knows what it will look like in five years’ time.

RS: I think technology will slowly drip in in order for the change not to be so dramatic and sudden. Given what happened a decade ago, when tech flooded a lot of hospitality experiences, designers are very aware to make gradual steps forward that are considered in order to enhance the overall guest experience.

LCC: There is the perception that technology and wellness do not fit well together but in actually fact the opposite can be true. There are a lot of things about technology that can help wellness. In the early days, we used motion sensing in touchless tech but now it is proximity sensors which are far more accurate. There are features in flush plates where as you walk towards them an orientation light glows. This is opposed to having all the lights on if you wake up in the middle of the night.

JD: What we are saying is that tech is filling the void of what good service used to be. If you checked into a good hotel 20 years ago, the General Manager or the concierge would recognise you and to an extent recognise your demands and preferences. They would have this knowledge – it’s trivia but it recognises care and consideration. Somehow those symbols of luxury are being replaced with technology and I find it quite a hallow gesture compared to the human touch that we used to have. That’s why I believe the human touch will never be replaced in the premium hotels.

HK: For me, tomorrow’s bathrooms will play on the five senses – can we inject sound/smell/touch into the bathroom experience without being gimmicky? 

FT: As long as it isn’t cliché. Great lighting is a given but some of these experiential showers deter from a great experience. Anything that addresses the senses has to be thoughtful and meaningful.

Geberit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Geberit

Hotels at New Heights: suites on the high seas

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

To conclude our series, Hotels at New Heights, Hamish Kilburn investigates why more and more hotel designers are taking to the seas to design the luxury cruise vessels’ suites of the future…

Somewhere between Myanmar and Phuket, in the Andaman Sea, my perception of luxury cruises shifted from that of a cliché to feeling very much part of an exclusive club. In what felt like a blink of an eye on board Seabourn Sojourn, while watching an unpolluted starry sky meet the horizon, I realised that I was in my own little ‘one-off experience’ moment, which was totally unmatched by any hotel on the planet – no matter how luxurious.

In just a handful of days, our short voyage took us to four countries until we eventually arrived in the bright lights of Singapore. We docked just in time to attend the naming ceremony of Seabourn’s latest ship, the Encore. With interiors imagined by award-winning designer Adam Tihany, who is best known for working on hotel projects such as The Beverly hills Hotel, Mandarin Oriental London and Four Seasons Dubai Financial Centre, it was clear that the luxury cruise liner was daring to be different in order to cater to the growing demand for luxury travel.

Seabourn Encore/Ovation

From impeccable finishes and bespoke fittings to the hand-picked art, the Encore was the beginning of a new design direction for the Seabourn brand with a few elements remaining the same, such as the iconic hot tub positioned on the bow. Tihany’s sharp vision provided comfort and familiarity of an on-board living room. The atrium included an elliptical double-helix staircase that connects seven floors and was complete with a six-storey art installation that, again, reiterated the design inspiration of Seabourn’s effortless luxury style.

Public areas that are large with a mix of furniture

Image credit: Seabourn Ovation/Adam Tihany Studio

Ever since then, the industry has evolved and expanded as a result of travellers being prepared to go further to explore beyond just one beach, city or a destination. In 2017,  a total of 25.8 million passengers boarded cruise ships to travel, which is 4.9 million more passengers than in 2012.  With this great demand comes great responsibility. The leading luxury cruise liners as we knew it had to, with a splash of irony, charter themselves into new waters in order to seek inspirational interior designers to work on creating their up-market future fleet of ships.

“‘Experience’ has become the buzzword for the hospitality industry. Guests are no longer focused on traditional expectations but are looking for interior spaces that have been tailored to their own unique interests and aspirations,” explained Tihany when discussing how the latest design-led cruises are changing the hospitality arena. “Whether it be within the comfort of a suite or through a transformative dining experience, the changes within the cruise world bring to light a current momentum I call the Age of Design, which continues to move the dial in all areas of hospitality.”

Suite on board Seabourn Ovation with large bed and calming interiors

Image credit: Seabourn Ovation/Adam Tihany Studio

While Tihany continued to wave his interior designer wand on Seabourn’s luxurious fleet, with the launch of Ovation last year, other celebrated hotel designers were also receiving ambitious briefs in order to take luxury cruise ship design to new heights.

P&O Britannia / P&O Iona

Richmond International became the first interior design firm to be selected to help reimagine the interiors for P&O Cruises directly because of its impressive luxury hotel portfolio. Director Terry McGillicuddy was given the somewhat unusual task to design the entire interiors for the P&O Britannia vessel, which took its maiden voyage in 2015. “This opened up opportunities for a whole-ship holistic integrated design approach,” he explained. “And allowed us to integrate a consistent design thread whilst maintaining the individuality and integrity of each space.”

“Richmond loved this challenge after decades in land based hospitality design; this has become a huge part of our business.” – Terry McGillicuddy, Director, Richmond International.

Despite the firm having led interior design projects such as The Beaumont, Langham London and Sandy Lane in Barbados, the team were required to adapt their design processes in order to comply with certain marine regulations, as McGillicuddy explains: “We needed to learn the specifics to Marine Works Regulations and certifications, respecting International Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS) rules, and a whole new ‘ship’ language.

Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin

Image caption/credit: Render from Richmond International of Balcony Cabin on board P&O Iona

“It was also crucial to understand the differences between the interior fit out process of the ship, which is a metal construction ‘panel’ based system throughout. We had to appreciate the limitations in terms of space constrictions and minimal ceiling heights, and design the interior around these issues.

“Due to restrictions on weight and different fire regulations, material specification was also a challenge. We looked at new suppliers and manufacturing processes, which have the approved IMO certification for marine use.

“All of these new parameters were exciting to learn whilst respecting the very tight turnaround times in the build program. Richmond loved this challenge after decades in land based hospitality design; this has become a huge part of our business.”

Following the success of P&O Britannia, Richmond International, together with interior design and architecture firm Jestico + Whiles, were awarded the opportunity to design the interiors for the new ship, Iona. Expected to launch in 2020, with the distinct aim to “bring the outside in,” Iona is expected to feel more like a large resort than a conventional cruise ship. With a glass dome roof and spacious layout throughout, the vessel will be flooded with natural light. “Guests are now expecting more state-of-the-art vessels, exclusive destinations and authentic ‘memorable’ experiences; interior design must respond to and support these demands,” said McGillicuddy. “This can result in cruise ships evolving to a more ‘resort’ like experience and the design more focused on the deployment markets or passenger origins. This can bring in local and cultural design requirements which we can leverage from our hotel heritage.”

Straddling both interior design and architecture, Jestico + Whiles, unveiled its design for a new atrium concept on board P&O Cruises’ next generation of ship, Iona. The design of the soaring triple-height Grand Atrium is described as the heart of the vessel, complete with panoramic views across ever-changing waters. “The sea becomes the focus of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to the outside, said James Dilley, Director of Jestico + Whiles. “Despite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to make the Grand Atrium harmonious with the separate venues, making the space both open and intimate.”

Render courtesy of Jestico + Whiles showing the large atrium inside P&O Cruises' Iona

Image caption: Render courtesy of Jestico + Whiles showing the large atrium inside P&O Cruises’ Iona

An elegant, arcing staircase of Italian marble with a polished, filigree silver balustrade serves as the centrepiece to the space, evoking the glamour of the iconic cruise ships of the 20th century. Designed as a piece of sculptural architecture, its curving form guides guests on a journey through the decks offering changing views and perspectives of the sea and activity within, encouraging everyone to explore the variety of destinations on board.

Celebrity Edge

Following its maiden voyage on December 9 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, all eyes seem to be focused on the Celebrity Edge cruise ship. The 1,467 staterooms, including 176 suites, on board have been designed by the award-winning luxury interior designer Kelly Hoppen. In addition to the laid-back luxurious accommodation, Hoppen also designed the Retreat Sundeck and The Retreat Lounge and Luminae, which is the suite-class restaurant.

“Celebrity Edge is definitely a ship of the future – nothing like this has ever been done in this industry before. I was so honoured to be part of something this groundbreaking and it was a challenge for me to do something that no one had ever done before,” explained Hoppen. “The craftsmanship and quality that Celebrity Cruises follows is second to none and their reputation for innovations in the industry is already renowned so it was an incredibly exciting project to work on.”

Hoppen’s stylish interiors proved so popular that they are now being rolled out across the fleet as part of a $500 million investment called the Celebrity Revolution.

Iconic Suite Cat IC - Master Bedroom - Room #12100 Deck 12 Forward Starboard Celebrity EDGE - Celebrity Cruises

Image caption: Iconic Suite Cat IC – Master Bedroom – Room #12100 Deck 12 Forward Starboard
Celebrity EDGE – Celebrity Cruises

The architect on the project, Tom Wright, whose impressive portfolio includes projects as grand as the Burj Al Arab, pushed design boundaries by unveiling the world’s first cantilevered deck on the vessel. The elevating deck, or Magic Carpet as it is being called, can move up and down the ship’s exterior with the ability to dock at four separate levels. The concept of its interiors, designed by Hoppen, transforms into many settings. When it is positioned at Deck two, for example, it becomes a luxury entrance foyer. However, when it moves to Deck 16, it becomes a high-dining experience.

Designed by architect Tom Wright, the Magic Carpet is the world's first cantilevered deck

Image credit: Designed by architect Tom Wright, the Magic Carpet is the world’s first cantilevered deck

Design studio Jouin Manku also worked on the interior spaces inside Celebrity Edge. On board, the studio imagined The Grand Plaza, which is the Main Dining Atrium as well as the connecting circulation spaces.  Designers Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin came to the Celebrity Edge project with a sense of excitement and wonder, and the desire to capture the magic of travelling by sea. Inspired by the glamour and adventure of the pre-war era of travel, they sought to transform this experience for the 21st century.

Meanwhile, the three-storey Eden bar and restaurant stretches across the stern of the vessel and is complete with striking spaces of dark greens, brass and palms.

Aside from the water slides, zip-wires and other sensational headline-grabbing features on board the giants of the seas, there is a larger picture. With the cruise industry now leaning on leading hotel designers to imagine their future fleets, the lanes between luxury hotel design and luxury cruise ship design are coming together. In August of last year, the cruise industry hit new records, reporting a total of 113 ships on the orderbook to be introduced between now and 2027, with Seabourn, Princess, TUI and Lindblad among them. With the demand for cruise ships at an all time high, more and more award-winning hotel designers are seeing this market as one of ample opportunity, taking international hotel design on its maiden voyage for an unforgettable journey.

Throughout this series, Hotels at New Heights, we have investigated how other luxury markets are working to design their future territories. The aim of this series has been to understand how hotel designers and architects can continue to challenge conventional design in order to help lead the hospitality market with clear innovation and thinking outside the box.

To read article one, Hotels at New Heights: Suites in the Sky, click here. To read article two, Hotels at New Heights: Rooms on rails, click here.

If you would like to collaborate on future series’ and articles that are similar to these, please tweet us @HotelDesigns

Main image credit: Celebrity Edge/Kelly Hoppen 

Jestico + Whiles unveils grand designs for centrepiece P&O Cruises latest ship Iona

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

The well-known architectural firm has revealed its design for the Grand Atrium on British brand P&O Cruises next generation ship, Iona…

Following a growing demand in hotel interior designers and architects working to revitalise cruise ships, Jestico + Whiles has unveiled the plans to create a soaring triple-height Grand Atrium with unprecedented panoramic views across the ever-changing sea as far as the horizon for P&Os new Cruise ship, Iona.

The Grand Atrium is the heart of Iona, a lively focal point that encapsulates the spirit of the ship, with spectacular views and natural light. This special space is designed to ‘draw the outside in’ and, accordingly, Jestico + Whiles has made the sea the hero of the space, allowing guests to connect with the seascape around them.

Despite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to make the Grand Atrium harmonious with the separate venues

The Grand Atrium is a key entertainment space on board Iona and the sea will provide an ever changing backdrop to a wide variety of experiences. From morning coffee as the sun rises, to evening drinks as it sets, the Grand Atrium will be buzzing with light and life. And as day moves into night there will be a seamless transition as Jestico + Whiles employ the most modern lighting techniques to create a warm and intimate atmosphere.

Image caption: P&O Cruises – Iona – Atrium at night

“Despite the challenge of such a large space, we have worked closely with P&O Cruises to make the Grand Atrium harmonious with the separate venues, making the space both open and intimate,” explained Jestico + Whiles’ Director, James Dilley. “The refocusing of the guest experiences on the sea is the heart of an entirely new brief. The sea becomes the focus of the triple-height space; the sinuous curves are shaped around it, framing and complementing the views to the outside.”

We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona

An elegant, arcing staircase of Italian marble with a polished, filigree silver balustrade serves as the centrepiece to the space, evoking the glamour of the iconic cruise ships of the 20th century. Designed as a piece of sculptural architecture, its curving form guides guests on a journey through the decks offering changing views and perspectives of the sea and activity within, encouraging everyone to explore the variety of destinations on board.

“We’ve set out to make sure the sea is the star on Iona, and the design of the Grand Atrium tells you so much about how special she is going to be,” said P&O Cruises senior vice president, Paul Ludlow. “Balancing intimate spaces with larger social areas, guests will be wowed by the three storey high glass walls and the ever changing view they reveal. From the moment they step onto the staircase, I know guests will be swept away by the beautiful design.”

Image caption: P&O Cruises – Iona’s Gastro Pub

Jestico + Whiles has designed P&O Cruises first ever ‘gastro pub’ – The Keel and Cow – on Deck 8, with views over the Grand Atrium and the ocean. The Glass House on Deck 7 will include an impressive wine list and menu curated by award-winning wine expert Olly Smith, wines from around the world are served by the glass. Wine connoisseurs will be well taken care of with a new experience, Cellar Door at the Glass House will offer wine talks, tastings and wine-pairing dinners. Guests can relax with unbeatable views as they watch impromptu aerial and circus performances in the three storey high space.

On Deck 6 at the Vistas Cafe Bar there is a selection of treats from P&O Cruises Food Hero and master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. The nearby Emerald Bar will offer a stylish living-room feel, with premium cocktails and the buzz of a Covent Garden venue.

Iona, which will include interior design by Richmond International, is currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and will be launched in May 2020. When she enters service, she will hold 5,200 passengers and be the largest cruise ship for the British market.