The design vision for Iona, which is due to return to homport Southampton on Saturday, was to make ‘the sea the star’. Richmond International was tasked with creating an environment that brings the outside in.
Richmond handled the design of several spaces including the cabins and suites, Oasis Spa, The Limelight Club, The Club House, The Crow’s Nest, Ivory Suite, The Epicurean restaurant, and Ocean Studios cinema. Each has its own distinct character and ambience that effortlessly blends into the next.
Richmond International director Terry McGillicuddy commented: ‘It was a pleasure to work with P&O Cruises again on this new project following the success of our work on Britannia. With Iona we have created an elevated guest experience through meaningful design touches that create a sense of luxury and sophistication.’
Cabins, suites and corridors
Taking inspiration from the ocean, the cabins and suites reference the ship’s environment through subtle design touches. For example, the carpet pattern features nautical knotting and the circular mirroring and artwork playfully nod to traditional portholes. The use of light blue and sandy yellow tones throughout are a reflection of the sea and shore.
The Conservatory Mini-suites on board Iona, which are a first for P&O Cruises, continue the theme of bringing the outside in with the introduction of an additional conservatory space. This area can be closed off from the main cabin or opened up to create a direct connection with the balcony and sea. The L-shaped sofa seating area offers an ideal setting for a morning coffee or pre-dinner drinks with stunning seascape views.
The premium suites, complete with a spacious lounge area and lavish marble-style bathroom, are characterised by their muted sandy tones and contemporary styling adopted to channel the spirt and elegance of luxury yacht design.
In the corridors a directional-lined pattern is used on the carpet and feature panels have been introduced outside each room with a letter box for invitations and menu cards, integral lighting, and cabin number.
Spanning two decks, the expansive spa has an understated and refined aesthetic. A timber ceiling feature, designed to reflect the movement and rhythm of the ocean, overlooks the reception. The connection with the ocean is also highlighted with the use of soft corners and light materials as well as ocean inspired tiling on the walls.
Timber panelling frames the treatment rooms. Most of these have comfortable window seats boasting ocean views through the large windows. In keeping with the nautical theme, the wooden screening and wall panelling also feature a flowing wave design.
Spa areas include the thermal suite, complete with a large central hydrotherapy pool with massage jets and air recliners, a therapeutic sauna, sensory steam rooms and experiential showers, a gym, and a fitness studio.
The Limelight Club
The backlit bar and central stage area are the focal points in this intimate dinner and entertainment venue. The surrounding furniture and carpet follow a deep purple colour scheme, further enhancing the space’s sultry, exclusive ambiance. At the rear of the room several booths have been created each with their own decorative chandeliers.
The Club House
The Club House is a multifunctional space, moving from day to night, from a morning coffee spot with views across the ocean to an evening entertainment hub hosting comedy nights and live bands.
A bright and inviting space, The Club House takes inspiration from spring colours with the use of botanical greens and yellows for the marble tables, furniture, and carpet. Around the upper seating area, a ceiling feature incorporates these colours into a pergola installation with a greenhouse feel.
The Crow’s Nest and Ivory Suite
The Crow’s Nest takes its inspiration from the high seas featuring naval references throughout, for example the use of brass metalwork and mirroring. Deep navy blues and metallic gold finishing bring a sense of sophistication and exclusivity to this bar area. The introduction of soft lines in the circular screens and carpet pattern also represent a musical influence; a nod to the entertainment that take place in this space.
The multi-purpose Ivory Suite is adjacent to The Crow’s Nest and transitions seamlessly, using the same carpet pattern but with a cream base.
The Epicurean restaurant
Iona’s fine dining restaurant The Epicurean features floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views. Taking centre stage inside the restaurant is the undulating ceiling achieved through panel work and lighting that reflects the movement of the waves. The rise and fall of the ocean is subtly mirrored in the variation of teals, creams and whites that are used in the carpet and artwork.
With rich scarlet hues and bare bulb Hollywood lighting, this four-screen cinema complex is a true celebration of the great cinema era. Guests are guided from the foyer to the screening rooms by a lane of patterned carpet and lighting that is surrounded by a series of film posters.
In addition to Richmond International, Iona's interior design team included Partnership Design (PSD Hamburg) and London-based Jestico + Whiles responsible for many of the food and beverage spaces throughout the vessel, as well as the triple-height Grand Atrium.
Seatrade Cruise Review
In next month's Seatrade Cruise Review, Richmond's McGillicuddy reveals more about the Iona project including the designer's favourite space onboard.