Holland America Line’s (HAL) third newbuilding 2,668-pax ’Pinnacle’ class cruise ship ‘Rotterdam’ left Amsterdam in October for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before embarking on a series of Caribbean cruises last month.
For Oslo-based architecture and design firm YSA Design, which was responsible for several public areas on board, the 297 m long cruise ship brought a mix of familiar territory and new ground, the company said.
In addition to lift lobbies and cabin corridors, YSA was responsible for the same leisure venues as on the vessel’s sisterships, ‘Koningsdam’ and ‘Nieuw Statendam’.
For example, the World Stage theatre, with its two-storey, 270-deg wraparound LED screen – an industry first when seen on ’Koningsdam’ – remains a prominent attraction, as does the Observation Deck fitted with interactive tables, first introduced on ’Nieuw Statendam’.
However, YSA Design senior architect and project lead, Trond Sigurdsen explained that HAL wanted continuous evolution in the interior design.
“With its ’Pinnacle’ fleet, Holland America Line wanted a fresh and contemporary aesthetic and ’Rotterdam’ is its latest inspiring example.
“The ship is designed at the ‘human scale’, with smaller private spaces being central to the relaxing atmosphere on board. Although the basic layout of the ship is the same, ’Rotterdam’ is very much reflective of modern times,” he said.
To achieve the desired result, YSA opted to divide open areas into more compact and intimate spaces, allowing guests to spend time in smaller groups. This extended to outdoor decks, where guests experience personalised service and the feeling of ‘specialness’ associated with smaller ships.
YSA was also responsible for the curation of the art collection, which features depictions of animals and nature in the ship’s public spaces, as well as aquatic-themed artwork in the spa area.
Art was also key to ’Rotterdam’s’ modern aesthetic, with music-inspired pieces adorning walls, halls and corridors throughout the ship to reflect the main musical themes of ’Pinnacle’-class ships. These include hand-carved vinyl records and unwound cassette tapes portraying the faces of iconic musicians; a world map spray-painted onto a set of speakers; and sculptures in the shape of musical instruments, the company explained.
In addition, the YSA-designed, deck-10 Pan-Asian restaurant, Tamarind, features East Asian-influenced artwork, including a traditional Japanese dress crafted of satin ribbon and two fibreglass sculptures depicting China’s terracotta warriors.
YSA Design’s relationship with HAL dates back to a 2001 refurbishment and conversion project on the ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’. Since then, the company has been involved in refurbishing 10 HAL cruise vessels in line with its Signature of Excellence initiative. This incuded designing half of the public spaces on board 2007’s ‘Eurodam’ and developed the Observation Deck fleet concept featured on ’Nieuw Statendam’ and ’Rotterdam’.
CEO Anne Mari Gullikstad told ICSI that YSA preferred to get involved at a very early stage of drawing up the newbuilding general arrangements (GA).
In 2016-2017, YSA started to utilize a sophisticated 3D software program called REVIT, in which all the data needed for an interior design specification is incorporated. A 3D mock-up of a planned room or space on board can then be shown to the shipyard, which is to undertake the work for a better understanding of the concept.
Elaborating on the call for standardisation, she explained that for interior design, sustainability demands on the materials specified had arrived – which she thought was good news.
“What needs to happen is that there is a standardisation developed like an ISO certification for each material,” Gullikstad explained.
She admitted that this was obviously a very demanding task, however in order for any designer to be confident that the material specified is actually meeting all the requirements of being a green product, this was an absolute necessity.
There is a non-profit organisation, Cradle to Cradle products innovation Institute, which sets the global standard for products that are safe, circular and made responsibly.
“There needs to be a requirement that all materials have a certificate proving that they pass a common standard like this,” she said, adding, “As of now, all vendors can inform us that their products meet required standards, but it is difficult for us to know if this is actually correct or if it is someone who ‘green washes’ their products.”
At the recent CSIE London expo, YSA’s Disney Cruises design team was entered for the Team Award category, as the company is working with the US cruise company on three newbuildings.
Explaining its decision to nominate its Disney team, YSA said that as one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable brands, Disney had high standards for its products.
That YSA Design was commissioned to conceive and develop venues and architecture on board three Disney Cruise Line vessels is testament to its reputation and the strength of its relationship with the cruise company, it claimed in its citation.
Led by YSA’s senior architect and partner Jan Krefting, senior interior architect and partner Anne Mari Gullikstad and senior architect Kristian Englund, YSA’s Disney team worked to bring the project to a successful conclusion, overcoming the significant challenge of designing three ships during a pandemic.
In addition, the team had to come up to speed with the building-information-modelling program REVIT, which to date, YSA had never used on such a large scale.
As per the terms of the contract, YSA employed REVIT to execute all of the atrium’s drawings in 3D, which, given that the venue spans three decks and contains numerous geometric shapes and intricate details, proved a considerable undertaking.
YSA claimed that this 3D-modelling work was the most extensive of its kind in the cruise industry thus far. The Disney team developed a virtual replica of the atrium from scratch that allowed the client to ‘walk’ around the space as if on board the ship.
As a result, Disney Cruise Line’s representatives were able to closely view each element and interact with the materials.
YSA’s design team was also responsible for developing the spa venue, including reception and waiting areas, changing and treatment rooms, and the central ‘Rainforest’ area, which comprises a sauna, ice lounge, hammam, experience showers, small pool and an outdoor whirlpool.
The team’s task was to offer a seamless journey from one area to the next, ensuring guests feel completely immersed in the spa environment.
Despite the size of the venue, the team succeeded in creating a cohesive design inspired by the effortless flow of water and nature – with aesthetic, auditory, olfactory and tactile elements contributing to the sense of tranquillity, YSA claimed.
Key to the success of the spa project was the co-operation achieved between YSA architects, textile designers and render artists. The latter’s photorealistic renderings of the spa captured the finer details of the venue, as well as the feelings each section sought to elicit.
Finally, in designing and developing the vessels’ side view and upper decks, the team endeavoured to uphold the values of the Disney brand, which places as much emphasis on exterior architecture and design as it does interior.
The result is a look and feel that is modern, sophisticated, and yet unmistakably ‘Disney’. As Walt himself said, “If you can dream it, you can do it,” YSA’s citation concluded.