AD Associates feels the pulse of London every day, as the firm has grown to 25 strong and is heavily involved with the expansion of Crystal Cruises, having been the lead designer on the line’s four river ships and now turning their attention toward the Endeavor-class expedition yachts.
“With the river ships, we worked on the initial GA development, concept and all the way through to the delivery,” said Chris Finch, founder and partner.
Key to designing for the river ships was the firm’s experience with the Crystal Esprit, where they scaled down the big ship experience for a smaller vessel, according to David McCarthy, director of marine projects and communication.
The first river project was the Crystal Mozart, which entered service in 2016 and was quickly refurbished in a nine-month window after a lengthy layup period.
“That was a challenge, the ceiling heights are much lower and you are dealing with constraints with air draft,” said Finch.
The London-based firm went as far as developing a pop-up top-deck bar that can be lowered for bridge clearance.
The effort is currently being pointed toward Crystal’s expedition expansion. Finch said the project was in the late stages of its concept phase during an interview in mid August.
“It’s very much a group effort,” he said, referring to his design firm working alongside the cruise line, MV Werften and the ownership at Genting Hong Kong.
The ships, promised to be the most luxurious expedition offering, will have an essence of the Crystal feel and a recognizable look, according to Finch. He said the interiors would be fresh with a pop of color.
Inspiration comes from the latest trends outside the cruise or river industries.
“It’s more about the experience, and how you blend those experiences into the interiors with a holistic approach,” he said.
According to Finch, being involved with everything in a space, down to the fonts on a restaurant menu, is the key to having the space truly come together.