Richard Riveire, Los Angeles–based principal of Rottet Studio, had never been on an ocean cruise ship before, let alone designed one, when he was hired to create the decor for all ships in Viking Ocean Cruises’ fleet—but that did not stop him from coming up with a concept for the 50,000-ton, 930-passenger ships. Rottet Studio collaborated with London-based SMC Design on the ship interiors; three ships are ready to set sail, and the fleet of six will be complete by 2019.
Torstein Hagen, the line’s founder and chairman, is Norwegian, and the Vikings were Scandinavian, Riveire said, inspiring him to create a “Scandinavian feel—clean, very modern, lighter colored, simpler. It’s deliberately not elaborately or overly decorated, not overdone.” This aesthetic is identical in all five of the fleet’s ships, with a color palette that focuses on pale blues, pure whites, and an occasional rust; light woods also predominate.
Many cruise ships, Riveire added, look like “Las Vegas 20 years ago, with bold attacks of color and light. We’ve used a minimalist, reduced palette. There are not a lot of heavy moldings, excessive drapery, giant swags of chandeliers. It’s very simple and straightforward.”
One of the more striking interiors here is the ship’s Winter Garden, a lounge where afternoon tea is served. Under its steel-and-glass dome sits a forest of stylized trees made from maple. Wood also abounds in the ship’s three-deck atrium and living room areas, the latter featuring a bar made of wood panels reminiscent of Viking longships. Another nautical touch in the living room areas are heavy, braided cotton macramé window coverings, in two shades of blue and white, that resemble the rigging on sails and hide views of lifeboats on the ship’s deck.
Similarly, the aesthetic in the Explorer’s Lounge and the library on the upper deck was inspired by Viking trade routes: The blue carpet design features compass roses, while a band of white acrylic that cuts across the middle of the lounge’s two-story-high exterior windows dramatically lights up at night to depict the constellations. The library contains not only books, but also seashells and replicas of Viking masks and weaponry.
In the passenger cabins, which, Riveire said, “tend to be small,” it “is all about making the space appear larger,” hence the use of pale blues and whites, with rust accents, and furniture that “does double and triple duty.” The designer employed blond walnut and, in the case of suites, maple flooring. Carpet designs are based on antique Norwegian quilts and rugs.
Perhaps one of the most unusual rooms in the ship is the Snow Grotto in the spa, created by spa and wellness designer LivNordic of Raison d’Etre. Part of a traditional Nordic bathing ritual in conjunction with the sauna and thermal pool, this glass room is filled continuously with a mist of water that turns into snow in its frigid interior— taking the Scandinavian experience to the next level.