Cruise & Ferry Interiors 2020

1 4 0 Joining the cruise business In the early 1970s, someone gave me a Caribbean cruise onboard Sitmar Line’s Fairsea as a gift to celebrate achieving my master’s degree in architecture. While onboard Fairsea, I noticed that the shopping area was not very well arranged, so I took several photos, drew some sketches and, when I returned home, prepared a proposal for a new design with handmade renders. I sent a letter to Sitmar to say how much I enjoyed the cruise and shared my design suggestions. Just a few weeks later, I was sitting in front of Boris Vlasov, owner of Sitmar and V. Group, at Sitmar’s office in Monte Carlo and my adventures in the cruise business began. Evolving design processes When I first began designing ships in the 1970s, a large proportion of the cruise fleet had originally been designed and built to provide a regular service from Europe to North and South America, or to Asia and Australia. In those ships the layout and available space for public areas and cabins was the result of a compromise between the original ship design and the new cruise requirements. To achieve this, architectural teams used to prepare drawings and renders by hand to present to owners. Computers and computer-aided design software became available at the beginning of the 1980s and by the middle of the decade, all our work was produced and presented with the aid of computers. Consequently, the artistic and very personal approach to design was quickly substituted by a new standard – a very impersonal digital language. However, it was still common practice to present designs to owners via face- to-face meetings to enable them to give feedback. This allowed us to propose alternative solutions and develop a clear understanding of how to finalise the design by the end of the meetings. By the 1990s, the advent of the internet made it possible to transmit drawings electronically, so the process of presenting designs and getting the shipowner’s feedback became much faster. However, it also meant that owners increasingly sought to achieve their version of perfection, so we had to continually update our designs and present new solutions. Team changes As design processes changed, so did the types of people working on the projects from the shipowner’s side. In the 1970s and 1980s, the team consisted of people experience in managing operations, DES IGN LEGEND Giacomo Mortola First appointed as a technical advisor for Sitmar Line in 1974, Giacomo Mortola opened GEM design studio in 1984 and has since become a cruise ship design icon. Jon Ingleton talks with him about his distinguished career Giacomo Mortola sketching designs for passenger ships in his office in the 1990s