Great British designer, Nick Munro has recently taken on his biggest project to date, as design consultant for “Ventura” – P&O Cruises latest and largest addition to the fleet, set to be launched this April.
Nick’s brief was to create a collection of products that would be used everyday on board Ventura; in the restaurants and bars but also inside every cabin, and to design a piece of art that would stand in the spectacular atrium of the ship, to be recognised as the symbol of Ventura. In keeping to his trademark style, it is expected that his designs will feature pewter, ceramics, glass and lighting.
A highlight of Nick’s career was to gain the title of UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year, awarded for his use of bedsprings as egg cups. In more recent years, he has undertaken commissions on behalf of prestigious companies including Wedgwood, Victoria & Albert Museum, Spode, Tyrone Irish Crystal, Bugatti, Royal Selangor and John Lewis, and was therefore considered to be well qualified for the exciting position.
Here Nick talks about the project, cruising, and his beautiful ‘Anemone’ sculpture.
How did you become involved in the Ventura project?
“I received a very brief email from P&O Cruises inviting me to attend a ‘meeting about a joint project concerning our new super liner’ – all very intriguing and mysterious!!”
What was you perception of cruising before taking on this project?
“Although I have never been on a cruise before, I have always enjoyed sailing and love the freedom of the open water. The appeal of a cruise holiday was therefore already in place and having an insight into the quality of every aspect of life aboard Ventura, my plan is to take my family up to see the fjords in 2008”
Do you think that people are looking for more than just the cheapest option when it comes to travel?
“I think the cheap flight thing will always have an appeal but I think people are growing a bit tired of the cheap experience that comes with it! The joy of cruising is that you can leave all the hassle behind and enjoy a serene escape into another world. Perfect also for those travelers who wish to experience the delights and beauties of far flung places without packing and unpacking bags between stops!”
What is the inspiration for the Anemone sculpture and what is it made from?
“My 'Anemone' sculpture was inspired by the wonders of the world's coral reefs. I love the diversity and splendour of the forms and colours that are to be found on the ocean floor, and designed 'Anemone' to be an expression of my passion for our underwater treasures. I chose 'bubble glass' as the medium which would best capture the living and breathing energy that is beneath Ventura as she crosses the oceans”
Where does your brief start and end?
“From the outset, I knew that I wanted to be involved with as many aspects of the design of Ventura as possible, which luckily was exactly what the P&O Cruises team was also looking for. This has allowed me access to countless aspects of its operation, from the not so glamorous such as waste disposal – we needed to figure out if the drains could cope with washing away coffee grounds before we could design and specify a cafetiere for each cabin – through to the spectacularly expressive, in the shape of my glass ‘anemone’ sculpture to be sited in the grand atrium!
Along the way we have overcome all sorts of obstacles, such as the weight of the cutlery; thousands of pieces of steel cutlery weigh in at several tons and so the thickness and weight of each piece had to be signed off by the chief engineer. However, with perseverance and patience, the result is approximately 200,000 new items on board Ventura when she sails in April”
What is your favourite Nick Munro design on Ventura?
“Hard question but if I had to choose one thing I think one of the most beautiful objects is the new cafetiere – inspired as it happens by a classic ship’s funnel”
Have you worked with any new materials on this project and how did that affect the design and final product?
“The world of sculpture is a new one for me and I’ve loved working on the ‘anemone’ project. It took quite a lot of figuring out both from an artistic point of view and from an engineering point of view – right up my street you could say!”
What would you like Ventura customers to come away from their trip with?
“Lots of sparkling memories and hopefully not too many stolen objects!”
The 115,000 ton superliner is the largest superliner ever built for the British market and is set to launch a new standard in 21st century cruising.
Culinary legend and winner of three Mitchelin stars, Marco Pierre White, will bring his expertise and flair onboard at The White Room restaurant, along with child favourite, Noddy, who will be keeping the younger passengers entertained. In keeping with the British theme, Ventura will also feature some of the wacky and controversial modern art displayed at the Tate Modern.