Tillberg Design celebrates the conclusion of the seven-year Sun Princess project

Tillberg Design celebrates the conclusion of the seven-year Sun Princess project

Tillberg Design celebrates the conclusion of the seven-year Sun Princess project

Yacht Design

26/04/2024 - 10:30

Creating a complex interior for a complex superyacht project is a challenge that extends far beyond just interpreting an owner’s style and applying it to the fit and finish of the décor. It’s a process that involves an intricate understanding of ergonomics and flow dynamics, of design, of the interplay between adjacent areas and between exterior and interior spaces, and of project management and coordination to ensure the very best results from partners, contractors, suppliers and shipyard.

It’s something that Tillberg Design of Sweden (TDoS), part of the Viken Group, knows only too well, having worked across some of the most iconic – and most complex – cruise ship builds for more than six decades. Take the Sun Princess project, for example. This leviathan of a cruise ship – at 175,500 tons and with a 4,300 passenger capacity the newest, largest and most innovative Princess Cruises ship – is about to push boundaries, having just been launched from the Fincantieri yard in Monfalcone.

Since 2017, the TDoS team has been involved in the Sun Princess project as coordinating architects and designers of several onboard venues, including a three-storey dining room, a modern-yet-cosy two-deck lounge, and an expansive and panoramic terrace with infinity pool overlooking the wake of the ship. By taking an holistic approach to the classic contemporary design aesthetic, but by introducing subtle variations between areas and decks, the result is a stunning, seamless journey that still offers endless variation between zones, and all at a massive scale. The overarching vision for the design draws inspiration from a costal lifestyle and the endless variation in nature.

The sheer scale of the project would have proven problematic for many less experienced studios, but for TDoS that’s all part and parcel of their day-to-day design work. “With a capacity of nearly 100 people within the Viken Group, we have a rather unique pool of both top-end competence and capacity,” explains Fredrik Johansson, Co-Founder of the Viken Group and Executive Director of Tillberg Design of Sweden. “The Sun Princess project spanned over almost seven years, and at times we were over 25 people working for that client alone.

“In a project like the Sun Princess, we have to bring out our most creative skills,” he continues, “but we also have to keep a very strict discipline in everything we undertake. A large yacht project is no different – we have to be extremely focused, organised and professional in what we do, every day and in every part of the project.”

Ship to superyacht

Translating the experience of and complexity of a project like Sun Princess to the superyacht sector is something that pays dividends for superyacht clients. TDoS knows better than any other design group how to optimise the development and design process – from start to finish, and from GA to the smallest design details. “We are also used to manage very complex onboard flows and operations, and we know how to master-plan even the very largest yachts so that everything both looks and works to perfection,” Johansson says, pointing to design ideas such as the Waiter Station concept developed for Sun Princess – a feature probably not yet done elsewhere. “When everything is in the right place and functional,” Johansson says, “then the crew can provide excellent onboard service instead of fighting with the hardware!”

There are many more beautiful cross-fertilisations between the cruise and superyacht segments, Johansson points out, with people in both cases paying a premium to experience the beauty of being at sea. “We always put a lot of focus during the master planning and engineering phases to maximise the contact with the sea, the elements and the destinations,” he explains. “We are also used to creating some very impactful and unique experiences within clearly defined budgets and without having an endless amount of space. This, of course, spills over to our yacht clients, who know that they will always get the best possible end result, irrespective of the size of investment.”

Coordinated efforts

Finally, there’s the issue of project management, and coordination between other design teams, consultants, contractors and suppliers. It’s an aspect that’s critical to the success of a giant cruise ship project, and with TDoS acting as the hub that connects the spokes, it’s something that can make an indescribable difference to a large yacht project.

Indeed, the most important aspect – making sure everyone involved in the project is aligned with and well informed of the vision and the priorities of the key stakeholders – applies equally whether the TDoS and the Viken Group team is working with Princess Cruises or an UHNWI private client. “By ensuring there is a clear understanding of the end goal in a massive project organisation, we can also empower and motivate people more, in all the various disciplines involved,” says Johansson, adding that that means each person can take more responsibility, which in turn makes the whole development and decision process extremely effective.

It's part and parcel of what makes the Viken Group and TDoS the perfect choice for complex superyacht projects. “We have learned that doing things in the right order and in the right way helps every client – whether a cruise ship operator or a superyacht owner – to get the best value out of the project,” Johansson affirms.  “We also know that a critical part of our role as coordinating architect is to ensure that the overall vision of the project is communicated to, and appreciated by, all parties involved.

“By letting people know very clearly where we are going, and by doing things in the right order, we can also release everyone’s full potential, creativity, experience and knowledge,” he concludes. “There is simply no better way to achieve the best possible end result – regardless of who the client is, or the extent of our scope!”

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