Roll of the dice pays off
In late 2016, Greg Walton, Yohandel Ruiz, Javier Calle and Jorge L. Mesa—all previously with CallisonRTKL—started their own firm, housed in a South Beach apartment. They called it 'DADO' after the word for 'dice' in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, to reflect taking a gamble in starting a new business. But they were confident, too, backed by a combined nearly 60 years of expertise in cruise ship design.
Their gamble paid off, and the now 14-strong team is preparing to move into their new Coral Gables office in Puerta Del Sol at Douglas Entrance, a historically designated location that’s close to clients and other design firms.
Norwegian Bliss, Seven Seas Splendor, Project Leonardo
Studio DADO's work aboard the recently introduced Norwegian Bliss includes Ocean Blue, the seafood restaurant; Teppanyaki and the chocolate tier at the new chocolate patisserie Coco's.
They're also designing public spaces for Norwegian Cruise Line's 2019 newbuild, Norwegian Encore, and working on the staterooms for the next-generation newbuild Project Leonardo. Further work is for Norwegian's private island Great Stirrup Cay.
Other projects include Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 2020 newbuild, Seven Seas Splendor, and Oceania Cruises' R-class ships.
Studio DADO attributes its success to a growing industry, the firm's solid reputation and a penchant for problem-solving that looks beyond design and considers operations and revenue implications.