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Tillberg's Johansson elaborates on challenges of designing Titanic II interiors

'A fantastic challenge' - Johansson, right, with Palmer
A ‘fantastic challenge’ is how Fredrik Johansson, partner and senior architect at Tillberg Design, described Titanic II. The Sweden-based Tillberg Design was selected in a competition to create all the interiors for the ship Australian businessman Clive Palmer wants to build in China.

‘Replicating the original interiors may not seem like a very innovative task, but the project will be very creative in a different way than a typical contemporary cruise ship,’ Johansson told Seatrade Insider. He added it’s fortunate that Palmer’s Blue Star Line has a steering committee that includes some of the world’s leading experts on Titanic and her interiors.

The new interiors will have to comply with all current marine requirements, and incorporate modern fire protection, air conditioning and technology. Among the thousands of details that were different in Titanic’s day, beds were a lot shorter, the passengers shared bathrooms and showers, there were no televisions and not much entertainment by today’s measures.

‘This leads to stimulating and fascinating research and discussions,’ Johansson said.

Plus, there’s Titanic II’s additional Safety Deck, where the extra lifeboats will be located. The underlying thought is to design this deck to guarantee the safety of the ship, but also give an enhanced yet authentic passenger experience, and generate some revenue.

The aim of building a period replica is to give an experience that is as close to the original as possible, Johansson said. There is a large element of the theatrical in this, which can be further enhanced by providing good and realistic ‘stage property,’ as he put it. For instance, a number of possible venues and facilities for Safety Deck have been discussed that could provide period objects such as garments, hairstyles, accessories and makeup.

The Safety Deck will also offer features the original ship did not have, or that were not accessible for all passengers.

‘In essence, all the new interiors will be designed in a period style, a bit like they could have been if Titanic would have had another deck,’ Johansson summed up.