In the last few years, designing carpets for cruise ships has become a bigger part of our business. Clémence Hardelay is the Project Manager at Creative Matters who works most closely with this sector, so to start out we asked for her favourite piece. She chose the irregularly-shaped inset carpet for the jewellery store on board Celebrity Edge.
“At first we received a floor plan, no specific design direction except that it needed to fit with the surrounding colourway. What we noticed was the off-centre column and that’s what directed our choice of pattern,” said Clémence, adding “We immediately thought that Nova (from our handknotted Aerial Collection) was just perfect for the space. We adapted the pattern into the woven Axminster format which is the production method usually appropriate for cruise ship public areas. When I visited the ship I was stunned by the elegance of the space. The carpet fits perfectly and I love how the pattern reflects in the mirrored cabinets, adding dimension to it.”
Celebrity Edge is one of six ships owned by Royal Caribbean International that now displays our carpet designs. “Royal Caribbean originally requested our help because their manufacturers’ concepts weren’t always meeting their requirements in terms of colour, design and visual texture. This resulted in a long sampling stage where sometimes up to 50 samples per area were made. With our expertise, not only did the number of samples reduce to between three and seven, but the designs became more contemporary and in line with their vision,” said Clémence. An example of this is our design for Cafe al Bacio. The client’s inspiration for the space was images of pleats and fluid, transparent fabrics.
We created one pattern reflecting the lightness and movement of the pleats for the neutral carpet, and we scaled up a section of it for the red circular carpet that needed to match the colour of the velvet fabric of the chairs.
For most of our Royal Caribbean projects, we liaise directly with their internal design team but it’s interesting how Royal Caribbean hires different interior designers for each space - suites, staterooms, restaurants, bars and shopping areas. For some spaces we have collaborated with the interior designers, helping them and Royal Caribbean to achieve the desired look. Sometimes we consulted only on colour, other times we created designs based on the interior designer’s vision. The challenge is to please both as they each have their opinion and requirements. For example, on the Celebrity Edge ship, we worked closely with Jouin Manku to develop the correct colours for the Martini bar and then with Kelly Hoppen to add interesting blended textures to her existing patterns for the corridors and staterooms.
We also worked with Krause Sawyer to develop the pattern and colourway for the carpet for the Raw on 5 sushi restaurant. They provided us with an inspiration image of an oyster shell and you can see this reflected in the finished carpet design.
Cruise ship carpet design can be restrained by small repeats (sometimes only 30cm) and a small number of colours (four to ten colours). Although it varies by manufacturer, the space, and the standard of the ship, these limitations are based on practicality and how frequently the carpet needs to be replaced. “As Celebrity Edge is a modern luxury cruise ship, we were fortunately often able to create repeats up to four metres wide and patterns with no repeat, which are both quite exceptional in this field. The results are beautiful, unexpected contemporary designs that elevate the cruise carpet world,” said Clémence.
For the Blu restaurant, the inspirational image for this space was a picture of sea waves and the colour direction was that the carpet needed to be monochromatic cobalt blue. We created five options - all of them a repeat of waves reflecting light with some white sparkles.
Royal Caribbean selected the fourth option (from the left) because of the depth of colour and water-like fluidity of the pattern, reflecting the curved details of the space’s architecture.
Having now developed expertise in the specifics of designing carpets for cruise ships, we are currently developing a Cruise Collection and will exhibit at the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo in Miami in June. (See below for more photos of designs we worked on for Celebrity Edge and Symphony of the Seas.)