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Q&A: Renowned Designer Adam D. Tihany Reveals Koningsdam’s Enticing Interiors

Adam D. Tihany is regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent hospitality designers, and he’ll make his mark with Holland America Line when ms Koningsdam debuts in April 2016. He is a leader in creating luxurious and innovative interiors in the world of hospitality and his work will touch all aspects of the guest experience.

Koningsdam’s guests will experience Tihany’s designs in dining venues, including the Pinnacle Grill, The Dining Room, Sel de Mer, Lido Market and Canaletto, and entertainment venues including Music Walk, Queen’s Lounge, the Culinary Arts Center and BLEND by Chateau Ste. Michelle. Tihany also designed the ship’s central atrium, Explorer’s Lounge and Digital Workshop powered by Windows.

Culinary Arts Center, top, and Canaletto, are two of Tihany's venues on Koningsdam.

Culinary Arts Center, top, and Canaletto, are two of Tihany’s venues on Koningsdam.

Holland America Line sat down with Tihany in his New York studio and gained some more insight into his design process and favorite parts of the ship. Read on to find out more!

What was your overall concept for the design of interiors onboard ms Koningsdam?

Tihany: The overall initial concept had to do with something that we call the Architecture of Music. In essence, it is a way of being inside a musical instrument. For example, what would happen if you’re inside a violin? What do you see? And what does the architecture of the surfaces and the geometry look like if you are actually looking from the inside out? It’s a sophisticated and very suggestive direction.

Can you give an example of the how the Architecture of Music was implemented?

We found an image that somebody took with a micro camera that is the inside of a violin. The space is full of sensual curves made out of wood with light infiltrating through some openings in the skin of the violin. It’s a really beautiful and curvaceous box. So we took that inspiration and designed the Queen’s Lounge with that principle. So it is very soft and curvaceous as well. Wood was used extensively and the gesture of the space is grand.

Tihany designed Koningsdam’s Queen’s Lounge where the B.B. King’s All-Stars Band will bring the best of Memphis music to sea.

Tihany designed Koningsdam’s Queen’s Lounge where the B.B. King’s All-Stars Band will bring the best of Memphis music to sea.

You’ve designed the interiors for both luxury hotels (Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas) and restaurants for some of the world’s most important chefs (Bar Bouchon in Los Angeles). In designing spaces for ms Koningsdam, what were you able to adapt from those venue types and what had to be rethought to meet the demands of a ship?

I always try to apply my experience to new endeavors, but a ship is quite different. In this case, some things will apply, some won’t. It is not always possible to implement the operational discipline of an independently operated restaurant like Bouchon in Los Angeles to a large hotel, or even more challenging, a cruise ship. The system is different – from management down to the smallest details.

What room or feature presented the most challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The three biggest challenges in designing a cruise ship are budget, time and ceiling heights (or lack thereof). The circumstances force you to adapt and be creative, which is part of the fun.

Did you use elements or materials that we don’t usually see aboard a ship?

It is especially difficult to introduce new materials on a ship, given the fire hazards and approval process, so the challenge is to use the existing materials in an unexpected fashion.

The Grand Dutch Cafe is a new concept for Holland America Line. What can you tell us about the design of this space?

It’s a very whimsical area. The architecture of the walls and the back bar and all the surroundings is a silhouette of typical Amsterdam buildings. The floors, the walls, the ceilings are all blue and white. Colors come through the tulip-colored service items. So you’re in a white and blue room and everything you touch is a tulip.

Tihany says the whimsical Grand Dutch Cafe is one of his favorite spaces on Koningsdam.

Tihany says the whimsical Grand Dutch Cafe is one of his favorite spaces on Koningsdam.

Sel de Mer is also a new concept for our ships. What was the design inspiration for the intimate seafood brasserie?

Sel de Mer is a new concept on the ship, but the space itself didn’t change. Wrapped in curving polished wood walls inspired by the shape of an accordion, the venue is comfortable and unique. Woven cane chairs and custom art pieces create the ambiance of a casual French bistro.

Sel de Mer will be a new dining concept on Koningsdam.

Sel de Mer will be a new dining concept on Koningsdam.

What was your design concept for the Atrium?

Classic atriums feature a staircase and a big light fixture in the middle. We reversed it. All of the movement through the atrium is a stainless steel sculpture that represents a string quartet. The design intent here was create a space where everything is meant to look and feel like you are inside of and surrounded by a musical instrument.

The design behind the atrium is a string quartet.

The design behind the atrium is a string quartet.

What’s your design process in a nutshell?

Drama. Every project in design is meant to tell a story. The space – whether in a hotel, restaurant or cruise ship – should stir the emotions of its audience and leave a lasting impression. The design process is defining and expressing that story. I work everything out by hand and see how it comes to life.

We know it’s like picking your favorite child, but do you have a favorite space on board Koningsdam?

I have to say the Atrium or the Grand Dutch Cafe.

Tihany sites the atrium as one of his favorite spaces onboard.

Tihany sites the atrium as one of his favorite spaces onboard.

What is most exciting thing about designing spaces for ms Koningsdam?

Definitely the challenge – for example, the low ceiling heights. Aside from that, though, designing spaces for ms Koningsdam has been incredibly rewarding.

Tihany designed some innovative spaces on ms Koningsdam.

Tihany designed some innovative venues on ms Koningsdam.

If you could ask Tihany a question about Koningsdam, what would you ask? Tell us below!

Photographer of Tihany hero image: Claudio Gallone

7 Comments
  • Linda Ditter

    We are real excited to sail on the Koningsdam.
    We are booked on the new ship March 1st of 2017.
    Can hardly wait.

  • Helen Ginter

    Looks nice, will look forward to our next voyage. Just finished 2 weeks on Nieuw Amsterdam. Great time. Wonderful crew.

  • Annie McWilliams

    We are booked on the ms Koningsdam July 31, 2016. Will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary aboard. We are counting down the days until our cruise. Can’t wait.

  • Agnes Horn

    We are so excited to be taking ms Koningsdam on her inaugural transatlantic crossing October
    24th, 2016. I check 3-4 times a week for new information on her.

  • Bill

    Wish there were more pictures of actual decor of ship rather than photos of jumbo shrimp, steak and other food.

  • Robert Ferrante

    We loved the wall covering in the vestibule outside of the Tamarind restaurant on the Konigsdam. Is it possible to purchase the wall covering. Who is the manufacturer?

  • Julie

    Robert, please email guestrelations@hollandamerica.com and perhaps they can provide the manufacturer.

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