• Tillberg Design: interior design
    with a Scandinavian touch

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Nowadays the passenger experience is extremely important on a cruise ship, with interior design playing a decisive role. The design regularly looks at the hotel industry to achieve the same level of luxury and comfort on board. Designers who are also experienced in designing hotels and restaurants therefore have an edge. An example of such a design agency is Tillberg Design of Sweden, active since 1964 and as interior designer involved in a long list of international cruise ships.

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All too often cruise ships are referred to as 'floating hotels'. That may sound a bit facetious, but the comparison is not even that far-fetched. In recent years architects and designers have for their designs of cruise ship interiors been increasingly looking at the hotel industry and leaders in the field of hospitality experience. Today's demanding traveller insists that the comfort on board is at least equivalent to that of a 4 or 5-star hotel. The keyword to meet this requirement: design. The right interior design can create the right feeling of luxury and a unique passenger experience. 

When it comes to interior design in the cruise industry, several trends can be identified. For example, today's cruise ships are often extremely modern or even chic inside, using rich fabrics and materials, high-quality carpets and sleek designer furniture. This applies to the public areas but also to the cabins, which are no less comfortable than luxury hotel rooms. As a result, a cruise ship has more and more the look and feel of a super yacht, only on a large scale. The traditional lobby is increasingly replaced by a public space that is furnished as a living room with comfortable furniture and coffee tables. In short, a place where the traveller likes to stay. This also applies to the restaurants, which are no longer dining halls, but charmingly furnished rooms where people can dine and linger leisurely. In recent years cruise ships have paid much more attention to the design of fitness and wellness areas – after all, the traveller also likes to stay in shape on board.

Huge status

It is not surprising that world-renowned designers and design agencies have been increasingly called in to design and style cruise ship interiors, even if they have never worked in the cruise industry before, such as at the Celebrity Edge recently. A company that has built up an enormous status in the cruise industry is Tillberg Design of Sweden. This well-known design agency designs interiors for hotels, restaurants and luxury cruise ships, including not only public areas such as restaurants, lounges, bars, spas and swimming pools, but also luxury private rooms such as suites and cabins. 

Tillberg Design takes care of the design down to the last detail, so including materials, colours, fabrics, furniture and lighting. 'We devise a unique design for each client. That can be very contemporary, but also refined classic', says Fredrik Johansson, partner and art director of Tillberg Design. According to him the design process consists of three phases: Envision, Shape, Create. This results in the best conceivable design solutions, says Johansson. 'We really take the time to get to know the customer and their design wishes. Our ultimate goal is to arrive at a design that perfectly matches the specific requirements of the client and is timeless at the same time. It takes about three to five years to design and build the interior. Moreover, the vessel will then be in service for at least ten years. This means that everything we design must be easy to maintain and extremely sustainable in every respect.'

Tillberg Design has built up an impressive clientele. The Swedish company recently designed the complete interiors of the cruise ships of Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Crociere and TUI Cruises, among others. Tillberg Design is currently working on the make-overs of two Holland America Line ships: MS Ryndam and MS Statendam will be re-launched and will sail from Australia as MS Pacific Aria and MS Pacific Eden respectively. Johansson cannot wait for the result: 'The launch of a cruise ship designed by us is always very gratifying.'

'No limits'

Tillberg Design is one of the many design agencies Bolidt works with. In its interior designs, the Swedish company regularly chooses the high-quality decks from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, the Netherlands. According to Johansson, Bolidt's floor systems are of high quality, maintenance-free and safe. Moreover, Bolidt is a pleasant partner to work with. Johansson says, 'Bolidt more than lives up to its slogan "No Limits". In large-scale projects such as the design and production of a cruise ship, you must be able to count on solid partners. For me, "No limits" stands for reliability, flexibility and quality. Bolidt scores excellently on all three points.'

According to Johansson, Bolidt offers numerous design options, making the decks very easy to customise. Recently, the design of the MS Costa neoRomantica of Costa Cruises showed this once again. Johansson says, 'Passenger experience on board is becoming increasingly important. We were able to customise the design of Bolidt floors for our clients, creating a truly unique atmosphere and experience, as can be seen in the Club Restaurant, the Vienna Lounge, the Wine & Cheese Bar and the Nightclub & Disco.'

Real winner

The cooperation between Tillberg Design and Bolidt has now lasted 25 years, still to the complete satisfaction of Johansson. 'We like to work with companies that, like Tillberg Design, are passionate about innovation. Bolidt constantly comes up with new solutions and knows how to combine this with professionalism, flexibility and excellent service. If you manage to bring these things together, I think you're a real winner.'

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