Virgin Voyages has revealed what life on its first ship will look like, after debuting a selection of designs for the vessel’s exterior and interior public spaces in New York yesterday.
The city, which is currently in the middle of NYCxDESIGN, its annual celebration of design, felt like the perfect place to lift the lid on the first set of work from the Virgin Voyages 'Creative Collective'. The collective has been carefully curated and features some of the world’s leading interior design firms, none of whom have ever designed for the cruise industry before.
Last night saw designs from Tom Dixon of London, Roman and Williams of New York and Concrete Amsterdam given their first public outing, with the architects on hand to reveal the thought process behind their work - all of which feed into the brand’s design concept of the Modern Romance of Sailing.
Joining Tom Dixon, as well as Lisa Hassanzadeh and Rob Wagemans of Concrete Amsterdam for a panel discussion was Dee Cooper, SVP of Product Design for Virgin Voyages, while Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman and Williams shared their insights via video link.
Tom Dixon, who is behind the ship’s upscale modern Mexican restaurant and Richard’s Rooftop area, was keen to stress how this will be a cruise like no other - and for good reason.
"It seems risky to use designers who have never been on a cruise before, but it makes complete sense," explained Dixon. "The glamour of going on a cruise seems to have vanished, I like the idea of bringing that back but in a modern way."
While Rob Wagemans of Concrete Amsterdam, who have designed the Athletic Club - an outdoor lounge that celebrates traditional nautical elements, relaxation and adult play - explained why he believed it was so important to have such a broad range of different architects and designers involved in the project.
"This ship should let you live the lifestyle that you want while you’re on it, not one which has been dictated to you by a brand," noted Wagemans. "There are so many different areas to explore that offer real difference."
This was also a point of view shared by Dee Cooper, who explained just how central the element of choice was when selecting members for the Creative Collective. "Giving the passengers diversity of choice has been key when deciding who to work with. Let’s take New York as an example, you can go Uptown for some sophistication or you can head over to the West Village for more of a relaxed night - people value that choice, so why shouldn’t you be able to have that option on a ship?"
Also on hand was Tom McAlpin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Voyages, who was excited to see how all the design work was helping the business to achieve its central mission statement.
"At the core of our Epic Sea Change For All is ensuring that the spaces on our ships are well-styled, distinct and reflective of the dynamic experience we want to bring to our sailors," said McAlpin. "Our design partners together with our internal design team have dreamed up eye-catching, intimate and alluring spaces that we can’t wait to see come to life."
Virgin Voyages currently has three ships on order due for delivery in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The first of which will be ‘Adult by Design’, offering an incredible yacht-like vacation experience for those 18 and older.