Posts Tagged ‘Cunard’

Art Deco Lover

September 10, 2016

I do love a bit of Art Deco architecture. This was the style that became first became popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Art Deco influenced the design of almost everything from paintings, jewellery, clothing, buildings, furniture, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners.

During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.

Cunard’s original RMS RMS Queen Mary (1936) ocean liner has wonderful Art Deco interiors.

Southampton’s original ‘Ocean Terminal’ also had an Art Deco design and décor to compliment the ocean liners of the day. Unfortunately they knocked it down to build a car park!

(Southampton's 1950 Ocean Terminal)

(Southampton’s 1950 Ocean Terminal)

Fortunately the United kingdom still has some wonderful Art Deco buildings that have been well preserved.

In 2011 I visited the Midland hotel, in Morecambe, Lancashire, on the UK coast. Built in 1933, this 40 bedroom Hotel was an Art Deco marvel. She initially thrived, but would eventually fall into disrepair in the 1990s.

In 2008 her refurbishment was complete. The architects had combined her original feature with some modern facilities.

In 2014 I was lucky enough to visit Burgh island,  a small Tidal island on the coast of South Devon in England near the small seaside village of Bigbury-on-Sea.

There are several buildings on the island, the largest being the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel and a Pub the Pilchard Inn.

Part of the Hotel is actually shaped like the stern of an old frigate and has a keel. Inside is a ships wheel.

The island is approximately 270 yards from the mainland and is approachable on foot at low tide. At high tide, the sea tractor, which is operated by the hotel, transports passengers back and forth.

The holiday island of ‘Jersey’ (one of the UK’s ‘Channel Islands’) is located nearer the coast of France than it is from the cost of Britain.

This beautiful little island (5 x 9 miles) which still has a lovely 1937 Art Deco Airport building, along with a new terminal building. However I am saddened to hear that the Art Deco building may be demolished in the future.



Queen Mary 2 Interior Design

November 6, 2011

The QM2 is a wonderful ship, but like all ships she does have some quirks.

Have you ever wondered why the QM2’s ‘Kings Court’ (buffet) has a long, confusing, far from ideal, design?  Why is the Night Club (G32) is so out of keeping with the rest of the ship in terms of decor and can only accesses through the ‘Queens Room’. ( The dance music can leak through G32’s doors out into the more sedate ‘Queens Room’.) Why was ‘Todd English’ picked for the alternative dining restaurant.

Gerry Ellis, a former chief officer of the Queen Elizabeth 2  served as the QM2 project coordinator.  He explained for how the QM2’s design was all a compromise:

The layouts of the rooms were a continually changing scene through the 5 years leading up to the delivery of the ship. Many of the locations are where they are for good reason, often structural, sometimes compromise for operational reasons.

Todd English was originally to be a Lido style restaurant that opened up onto the aft deck. It was also intended to be linked strongly to the Lido on deck 7 through the staircase on the port side. That staircase was considered as an escalator or a wider sweeping stair to ensure the connection was made. There was then a campaign to get recognisable chef’s or restaurants on-board that would match the product that was being sold. Originally, Todd English was to be “Rules” restaurant. Rules is the oldest restaurant in London, is very popular amongst politicians and city business men. Their menu is very traditional old style English – surprisingly good. Actually exceptionally good. They have their own land and parks in Scotland where you can bag your own fowl and the restaurant will serve it to you a little while later in London. It was all very old style upper class England, very authentic and would have been lapped up in the States. It was then decided that that was too specific and narrow spectrum and Todd English came on scene. By now of course, the idea of going back to a simple Lido restaurant was forgotten and we have what we have now. The link to the Lido on deck 7 was not required to be as strong so the staircase was reduced to the one on the port side that we have now.

The Grills need a specific galley with different equipment and layout. The supply for these needs to be on elevator and crew stairways in line with the stores, below. The one galley serves both restaurants and this means the Grill chef’s can operate together. One of the only viable locations for this was where they are now. They needed to be somewhere next to open deck as this gives them a cache that would not exist if they were internal or lower down.

G32 was originally “The Yacht Club” by the way and was a much more gentile, cocktail bar like the one on QE2 – It was then decided we needed a conventional night club and we changed the decor and the name – (G32 was my idea). The transition between the entrance and the Queen’s room was always going to be awkward. The challenge was the change in deck level between the aft end of the Britannia restaurant, through the Queens room and into G32. There is a half deck height change in order to accommodate the ‘tween deck passages through the restaurant between the upper and lower levels (it was very difficult to envisage this in the design stages and caused many headaches…)

In addition, there is no passenger staircase at the entrance to G32 as there is crew area above and stores below. Only a small crew staircase. We were taking advantage of the availability of space that could be used for a public room but that could only be accessed through the same deck. Because it is so isolated, it means it is a good space for a nightclub as no passenger cabins are disturbed. That brings us back to the challenge of the transition from the Queen’s room. There was just enough space to put an ‘airlock’ with a double door arrangement. This is negated when both sets of doors are opened at the same time. This arrangement was obviously a compromise but the alternative was to use the space as storage. There was not sufficient capacity on the stairs to build extra cabins.

The Lido (Kings Court) was going to be a sprawling affair and an attempt was made to give each section a character of its own to break it down, this led to the idea of using the space in the evening in separate restaurants. I think this works well, actually better than during the day when the theming may not be strong enough to delineate the areas. The design of the ship did not help here. She has a very strong ‘backbone’ in the centre of the ship that acts like a structural spine. It means that the space outboard of this structure is slightly less than on a conventional cruise ship without this very strong box spine. It was always going to be a challenge.

There was a great deal of planning went into the ship. The team wrestled with this type of problem for many, many hours. There was often a challenge due to the nature of the ship being an Ocean Liner with non conventional shape and not an empty box to layout as freely as normal. She is a very different animal and I stand by the design and layout as the best that could have been done with the restrictions and parameters that we had, some of which I have touched on here.

Source: Gerry Ellis/Travelpage (2006)