Hospitality interiors experts Richmond have been commissioned to create the interiors for P&O Cruises’ largest ship so far, the Britannia. For the first time, P&O Cruises has approached the entire interior design scheme differently, handing over every aspect of its cabins, suites and public areas to one design agency.

With a portfolio including some of the world’s finest five-star hotels, Richmond have a wealth of experience in creating superlative interior schemes internationally. Their portfolio includes hotels such as the luxurious Langham hotels in London and Chicago, the award-winning Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest, the recently opened Four Seasons Moscow, and Corbin & King’s first acclaimed hotel, The Beaumont, in London’s Mayfair.

Richmond’s latest challenge combines the excitement of cruising with the sophistication and comforts of a five-star hotel. Richmond have approached this project in the same way they would a luxury hotel, with their understanding of the requirements of the modern day traveller playing a key role, in what promises to be a ‘modern classic’ from P&O Cruises.

The interior design scheme originates from P&O Cruises heritage, with a quintessentially British sense of style and glamorous, classical touches; yet, it incorporates new innovations and concepts in dining, technology and entertainment to appeal to new audiences, as well as resonating with P&O Cruises loyal customer base.

The three-tier Atrium is the social heart of the ship and offers a refined, flexible and sophisticated social setting, with an elegant sweeping staircase connecting the decks.

Richmond applied their experience in hotel design by creating a space similar in function to that of a hotel lobby: a central zone where the social life of the ship comes together. The Atrium space is much larger than in any previous P&O Cruises ships and Richmond have maximised its use by offering a Market Café, with patisserie from master patissier Eric Lanlard, delicatessen and gelateria to be enjoyed during the day, and the Blue Bar, on the opposite side of the lower deck, which comes to life predominantly at night, as well as a number of sophisticated shops located in the middle retail deck, relaxing coffee bar and wine expert Olly Smith’s The Glass House wine bar.

The Atrium’s centrepiece and focal point is a ‘Star Burst’ sculpture that stretches all three decks; a remarkable lighting installation which takes its inspiration from the star constellations used as historical naval references and draws on P&O Cruises rich British and seafaring heritage. The space that surrounds it is contemporary yet classic with a nautical blue and cream colour palette that flows throughout the public spaces, and carpet design reminiscent of a traditional British garden maze.

Richmond were previously involved in the successful relocation of the Spa area on P&O’s Royal Princess cruise ship, which moved to a more fitting location connected to the lower Atrium deck. The Oasis Spa on board Britannia has also been positioned here. This serene space with a moody palette offers guests a luxurious and calming environment. Passengers can relax in a central plunge pool, and enjoy treatment rooms, experience showers and waterbeds. In the Oasis Spa, lighting solutions enhance the freshness of the space, and create a relaxing atmosphere complementing the dark texture elements. Across the entire ship Richmond worked very closely with lighting design consultants, Maurice Brill Lighting Design, to ensure the lighting enhances the interior design elements, giving drama and depth to all the spaces.

In addition to the ship’s all day-dining restaurant, Horizon, and main dining rooms, Peninsular, Oriental and Meridian Restaurants – where the division of space has been reconsidered to create more intimate areas – guests can enjoy an unforgettable fine-dining experience at The Epicurean Restaurant, where the emphasis is on quality cuisine and grand-style. An exclusive restaurant, the Epicurean exudes glamour and luxury in an understated and comfortable way, with a soft cream palette and highlights of colour and opulent, metallic detailing.

P&O Cruises celebrates culinary talent with Britannia’s Food Heroes – an unprecedented line up of the country’s celebrity chefs who lend their expertise to the varied fine-dining options on board, ranging from speciality restaurants and wine bars through to special gala dinners. One of the superior restaurants is Michelin starred chef, Atul Kochhar’s Indian restaurant with a twist, Sindu. A quality space with a modern fusion Indian theme, Sindu is spacious yet comfortable, with a colour palette inspired by nature and spices, and modern patterns which pay homage to the food it serves. Richmond have created smaller, more intimate spaces within Sindu and used decorative lighting and textural screen detailing for a private and unique experience for its customers.

The newest gastronomic experience on-board is The Cookery Club in association with celebrity chef James Martin. A dedicated, clean and functional space with 12 cook stations, the Club offers passengers the opportunity to enjoy a range of classes, hosted dinners, demonstrations and tastings. Here elements of display, in the form of graphic blackboards featuring menus and food illustrations, decorate the room and provide plenty of inspiration.

The Crows Nest observation bar, located at the fore of deck 16, is destined to become one of the most popular spots on board, with its spectacular panoramic views. A unique space, the Crows Nest emulates traditional, nautical décor with rich timber panelling, displaying historical P&O Cruises memorabilia, and an eclectic mix of comfortable seating including high wingback chairs. 

The Crystal Room on deck 7 is P&O Cruises show lounge with a dance floor dedicated to ballroom and Latin dancing. Richmond’s careful planning of the ship allows the Crystal Room to be accessible yet protected from the general circulation flow. The palette of subtle golds and pale blues is complemented by elegant, floral decoration, which is carried through into the balustrades. A graceful chandelier hangs over the dance floor and mirroring set around the outside, accentuating every aspect of the room. In the words of Richmond Director, Terry McGillicuddy, “the biggest challenge of spaces within a ship is the lack of available height”. Richmond have created the illusion of extra volume by coffering the ceiling, mirroring elements, and focusing the light to emphasise and enhance the space.

The 1800 Cabins and Suites have been designed in a fresh and clean palette of soft calming greens or blues and respect nautical tradition whilst being equipped with the sophisticated ‘mod cons’ and technology you would expect to find in a five-star hotel. Richmond have redesigned the cabins to maximise the available space, giving each cabin type its own identity and offering a more comfortable experience. Each outward-facing cabin has a balcony whilst all cabins feature exclusive artworks by selected British artists, as part of the multi-million pounds art collection on board.

Overall, Richmond have achieved an understated, quintessentially British feel, with a relaxing yet contemporary and luxurious atmosphere through the use of shape, space and soft furnishings. Richmond have also emphasised the use of various different spaces within the ship by giving them an individual identity, resulting in a coherent design which flows effortlessly throughout the entire vessel.

“As a British company it has been an honour to have worked with P&O Cruises on the interior of their, and this country’s, largest and most contemporary ship,” said Terry McGillicuddy. “British culture vastly influences the design of Britannia with a modern yet classic interior that reflects British elegance and incorporates nautical tradition.”

Britannia will be named in March 2015, arriving at Southampton in early March, to be followed by a week of inaugural events. Britannia will set sail on her maiden voyage on 14 March 2015, which will see the ship sail from Southampton to the Mediterranean, the Norwegian Fjords, the Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea.

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