YSA Design gears up for emerging cruise market trends

OCTOBER 9, 2017 — Oslo, Norway, headquartered YSA Design has been been putting its design and project management skills to work on the radical main deck conversion of a European-built ship to meet Asian cruising tastes at a Chinese shipyard.

The Chinese Government sees cruise shipbuilding as integral to its "Made in China 2025" program.

YSA Design's participation in conversion work at a Chinese shipyard has given it timely insight into a market preparing to meet local demand, says the design firm's CEO, Anne Mari Gullikstad.

"The emergence of this exciting market is a driver for growth and a seismic shift for the industry, posing new challenges for ship designers," says Gullikstad. "Through a combination of study trips and diligent research, we realized that adapting existing cruise ships for this new market involves more than simple cosmetic change. We have to strike a balance between aesthetic and functional requirements for a new audience which requires a variety of dining experiences, larger and specific retail areas, dedicated spaces for group activities, exercise and entertainment events, and a real focus on gaming arenas."

YSA design is one of a handful of companies fully engaged from concept to delivery in the multi-layered world of cruise ship design, liaising with owners, architects, engineers, shipyards and subcontractors.

YSA Design emerged after a 2016 management buy-in at Petter Yran & Bjørn Storbraaten, known for cruise ship innovation for 30 years. In a new "partnership of equals," Gullikstad works alongside longstanding associates Einar B. Jungård, Jan Krefting, Trond Sigurdsen and Tov Arne Svalestuen, founders Yran and Storbraaten, and existing partner Gunnar Aaserud.

"There's a new intensity since the restructuring, but what remains unchanged is that there won't be a generic 'YSA Design'," she says. "We develop unique designs for cruise ships and land-based customers, working to achieve what the client wants in harmony with the ship, passenger experience, crew needs and service delivery. That is following through to our work for ships serving Asian clientele."

It is a philosophy that has led the YSA Design team into areas of specialization in developing both interior and exterior spaces. "Kids areas" based on inclusive design principles, rather than segmentation, have evolved as a specialty since the team's early selection by Disney Cruises. Its approach has been sought out by other owners as cruising demographics have changed.

Gullikstad also points to the immersive theater designed for Holland America Line's Koningsdam, with its central stage and wraparound video canvas, and the Jean-Philippe Maury chocolate atelier onboard MSC Meraviglia as enticements that could make repeat passengers out of new cruisers.

Though the newly energized YSA Design is ready for growth, Gullikstad says this will not come at the price of compromising itsreputation.

"One emphasis is to grow 3D modeling, where we invested in the latest hardware and software after the restructuring," she says. "Our goal is to grow to 35-40 staff, while ensuring that experienced leaders manage every project. There is certainly no shortage of applicants. People know that what we do here is pretty special."


The World Stage theater on board Holland America Line's Koningsdam was a recent landmark for YSA Design. With its two-story, 270-degree wraparound LED video canvas and reconfigurable central stage, the theater is unique in the cruise industry

woirldstage

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