An Experiential Ship at Sea: Studio Dado Undertaking NCL’s Norwegian Prima


It’s a common fact for hospitality and travel industries that the past two years weren’t their best due to the global pandemic. Nowadays, effective vaccine rollouts coupled with renewed interest in outdoor travel have certainly skyrocketed the demand for these establishments. While holidays are almost always attributed to visiting theme parks and staying at grand hotels, these aren’t the only means of enjoying life’s luxuries away from home.


Thanks to the collective minds of Greg Walton, Yohandel Ruiz, Jorge Mesa, and Javier Calle, the four partners of Studio DADO are intimately involved in every project that leaves their office as they raise the bar to cruise passenger satisfaction and brand awareness. This is a work practice they commit to in their

latest partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to develop the interior design of Norwegian Prima.


A Gamechanger for Experiential Spaces

Studio DADO was born from a need to disrupt the cruise design industry with a boutique approach to the design and management of cruise projects. They wanted to create a firm that elevated cruise design and offered an unprecedented level of service to their clients.


As storytellers at heart, the partners of Studio Dado make it their goal to capture the imagination of guests as they enter a premium hotel or a luxury cruise. “Whether on land or at sea, the guest experience is rooted in all our designs. It’s this narrative and the human connection and interaction with our spaces that intrigue us. We are, at heart, curious minds exploring the world and bringing that curiosity and thirst to all that we do.” – Studio DADO


Collaboration is a crux of their design process, they work with a wide range of partners, allowing them to have a platform that fosters partnership in their projects. Their latest challenge is an opportunity to represent their brand’s design-forward mindset in developing the experience of traveling by sea.


“Whether on land or at sea, the guest experience is rooted in all our designs. It’s this narrative and the human connection and interaction with our spaces that intrigue us. We are, at heart, curious minds exploring the world and bringing that curiosity and thirst to all that we do.”



A Vessel To Spark the Future of Cruise Design

As long-time partners in the past on various projects, Studio DADO and Norwegian Cruise Line have worked together on several refurbishments and new-build collaborations over the past five years. However, Norwegian Prima tells a brand-new, elevated design and architectural story.


Currently under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Norwegian Prima is the first vessel in a new class for NCL, poised to be the most experiential to ever set sail. Smaller than many other new ships in the contemporary and premium vessel categories, Norwegian Prima will welcome 3,215 guests on board when she sets sail in Europe from August 2022. The vessel represents a step-change for NCL and a marked step forward in its appeal to tastemakers, influencers, and travel enthusiasts.


"Integral in creating the look and the feel for Norwegian Prima, Studio DADO ensured all spaces shared a cohesive experiential ethos and translated the brand’s story into seamless appointments and elevated experience sat every turn.”



A Mixture of the World’s Finest

“When a cruise line embarks on a journey to develop its next class of vessels, to be invited to participate in the conceptual design phase is quite an accolade. Studio DADO was honored to be considered a voice in NCL’s prestigious and extensive project of designing their most premium vessel yet. Integral in creating the look and the feel for Norwegian Prima, Studio DADO ensured all spaces shared a cohesive experiential ethos and translated the brand’s story into seamless appointments and elevated experiences at every turn.” – Studio DADO


To design what will become the most experiential ship at sea, Studio DADO surveyed the world’s most visited and luxurious locales.


From the Burj al Arab and Dubai’s premium attractions for discerning travelers to the glitz of Las Vegas’ nightlife, Studio DADO deconstructed the most sought-after elements of land-based attractions. By recreating these once-in-a lifetime experiences at sea, the Studio DADO team sought to transform and elevate guests’ expectations of what is truly possible on board.



A Display of Worldly Culinary Wonders

No cruise experience would be complete without a fine selection of dining options. This is where Studio DADO’s meticulous research has developed great representations of Eastern and Western culinary cultures.


Starting with “Hasuki”, this Teppanyaki Restaurant may be mistaken for an Asian art gallery. Paying homage to Japan’s rich history of craftsmanship, with features that stay true to its clean-lined design. The teppanyaki hoods are concealed with Japanese blue and white patterned shroud, while the atmospheric light fixtures are reminiscent of the Japanese lantern festivals, with lights disappearing into the ceiling. To complete the authentic look, walls are lined with tatami mats complemented with Bamboo-patterned blue glass tiles for its interiors. All these elements invite guests into the artisanship of Japan through art and culinary masterpieces.


Moving from the East to the West, “Le Bistro” exemplifies the mood of Paris and features traditional glass paneling with a two-dimensional shadowbox effect. It also highlights a series of three floor-to-ceiling chandeliers as the focal point of the restaurant. Coffered ceilings and plaster moldings interact with modern furniture and parquet flooring to enhance a cultured experience where Versailles meets the Palace of Mirrors.


Inspired by the square forms and unexpected solid color selections of renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, the Studio DADO team first adapted the space outline to push the exterior walls out of “Los Lobos”’ cube layout. This resulted in a better flow between the interior and the exterior, combining natural textures and authentic forms like barro negro (black clay) and celosías (latticework). It features a large-scale wall mural that was developed through the careful study of traditional Mexican garment patterns, complemented by rosa mexicano, a strong pink in between fuchsia and magenta to frame the interiors. Besides a culturally charged backdrop, guests will be mesmerized by hundreds of handmade, hand-selected alebrijes (Mexican folk-art sculptures) from Oaxaca.


No cruise experience would be complete without a fine selection of dining options. This is where Studio DADO’s meticulous research has developed great representations of Eastern and Western culinary cultures.



A Stellar Collection of Attractions

Traveling by sea requires guests to find worthy accommodations that provide a balance of a day’s worth of activities and an evening of relaxation. This is why Studio DADO blended a palette of muted and neutral color palettes for staterooms and suites. With each stateroom serving both aesthetic and functional purposes, guests are sure to find their stay comfortable as they wander around the many attractions onboard.


Spanning decks six, seven, and eight, NCL’s first three-level Penrose Atrium onboard Norwegian Prima blends futuristic architecture with the sense of wonder of the ocean’s earliest explorers, drawing inspiration from some of the world’s renowned meeting places such as St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican or St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The Studio DADO team pushed the architectural bounds of the grand space and manipulated geometry to create a unique and memorable feel.


As guests enter the Penrose Atrium, their eyes will be drawn to the large-scale chandelier piece, inspired by the various points of light visible in a star formation. This was custom created by the renowned Czech lighting design firm Lasvit. Complementing the Penrose Atrium is its feature stair element, a futuristic linear masterpiece that will transport guests into space. The installation features moving light fixtures and weighs more than 7,300 pounds (3,311 kgs).


There’s nothing more comforting than gazing across the vast horizon of the sky and sea. Sitting atop the ship, the Observation Lounge is a multi-use refuge with different zones for lounging, reading, or grabbing a delicious bite to eat. This cozy, homey ambiance invites guests to lounge and socialize within the different alcoves, separated by elegant screens and partitions, and decide how they wish to spend their time.


By allowing the exterior colors to blend with the space, nature becomes both an indoor and outdoor experience. The wings of the monarch butterfly – known to travel extensive distances – inspired the carpet design. Fanciful telescopes encourage guests to view ports of call or observe the calming effect of the distant seas. Guests who prefer a quiet moment of reading and learning can make use of the library that lines one of the lounge's



"We are honored to have been an integral part of a best-in-industry team that created the experiences and designs guests will be enjoying onboard Norwegian Prima sailing from August 2022.” – Studio DADO


Adventure Across the Sea Awaits

Norwegian Prima is an excellent example of experiential cruise design, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the architecture and culinary culture of the places they have yet to visit. This blending of culture and innovation makes the architectural design of the ship truly a first-class experience at sea.


“The unveiling of the exceptional Norwegian Prima represents a critical elevation for the Norwegian brand, and we are honored to showcase an unsurpassed level of design at sea. Together with the Norwegian executive team, the exceptional Fincantieri shipbuilders, and expert craftspeople flown in from across the globe, the Studio DADO team envisioned and brought to life elegant spaces to inspire the most well-traveled and discerning guests. We are honored to have been an integral part of a best-in-industry team that created the experiences and designs guests will be enjoying onboard Norwegian Prima sailing from August 2022.” – Studio DADO


Studio DADO’s year is full of many great projects and commissions, including refurbishment projects and their first wallcovering collection, which is sure to be another accomplishment worth seeing and experiencing firsthand. D+C


 

WORDS

Gerald Manuel


IMAGES

Studio DADO