Founded in 1964, Tillberg Design of Sweden (TDoS) is a world leader in cruise ship interior design. TDoS specializes in design concepts for cruise ships and yachts, with a particular focus on purposeful designs grounded in history, environmental sustainability, and future-proof timelessness. In December 2022, TDoS won the Innovation Award at CSI Awards for its revolutionary and algorithmic funnel design on board Norwegian Prima.

Recently, we sat down with Helena Sawelin, Partner & Business Director at Tillberg Design of Sweden, to learn about what goes into creating an award-winning design and her thoughts on innovation. She also shared her upcoming industry trend predictions, and the next steps for this award-winning design agency.

You’ve won the Innovation Award for your work on the funnel for the Norwegian Prima. Can you tell us a little bit about what sets the funnel apart from others?

The funnel is the kind of “cherry on the top” and the signature of the cruise brand – we are very proud that we received the innovation award for this type of design. The funnel design of Norwegian Prima was planned to be something never seen before. We created a curvilinear, modern, and unique funnel to be a recognizable element combined with its main function – to direct the fumes out from an open deck area. With its sculptural curves in semi-transparent panels and aluminium, it is an architectural piece of art on top of the ship. This truly will be an eyecatcher far from traditional funnels featuring hard angles.

Another big challenge was to integrate the Prima Speedway with its 1,378 feet in length and 14 turns, taking racers around the ship’s funnel across three decks height with a speed of up to 30 miles an hour. The idea was not only to fit all existing elements and functions but also to enhance the racing experience. We were inspired by the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 track, Yas Island Hotel, and its intense use of innovative algorithmic design methods. The Prima concept created a funnel structure flipped to be over the track. That, we believe, creates an unforgettable moment of passing, at full speed, right below the dynamic shape of the funnel’s construction.

What does innovation mean to TDoS?

Innovation for us is renewing a design and taking it to a new level. It can often start as a basic product or a design where the function does not match the circumstances and needs to be developed so that it also provides a better or higher value.

Can you share a little bit about what’s new in 2023 for TDoS?

The cruise sector has had some tough years and, currently, the industry is rising to the challenge of meeting sustainability goals. Because of this, we expect some of the brands will see a slow start getting back on their feet again.

To aid in this, we are focusing on sustainability and the circular economy, particularly on filling the gap between stakeholders. This is a new challenge we will be facing. It is remarkably interesting to see the engagement and improvements in this field. We have seen lots of development in many yards, turnkey suppliers and more, especially in Europe.

We are happy that we entered the yacht segment some years ago and are excited to see the great interest that is now coming into this business. This area will be a greater focus for TDoS in 2023.

Viken Group

A year ago, Tillberg Design of Sweden established our mother company, Viken Group. For the last couple of years, TDoS has been able to design full projects from exterior, interior, and branding, for new clients entering the marine industry. These were fulfilled through special requests, especially within the growing cruise yacht segment. As a result, we felt we wanted to give the services between clients and yards and to keep control of the design and clients’ expectations. For this, we formed Viken Group.

Today Viken Group owns:

  • TDoS, based in Sweden, is the design company serving the cruise segment and super yachts 60 meters and over
  • Hot Lab is based in Milan, Italy. It is a yacht designer mainly focused on yachts under 80 meters
  • Thalia Marine, based in Trieste, Italy, is an engineering and naval architect supporting TDoS and Hot Lab.

The new year is the time for predictions! What do you think will be the big trends for 2023?

Sustainability is not a trend but still a highly current topic the industry will continue focus on, especially in finding solutions. These will include long-lasting designs and higher quality interiors that can be easily refurbished.

We see the importance of an ID or branding design continuing. Also, Scandinavian design, where function and smart solutions with attention to detail, is still being requested by cruise clients, especially in the yacht segment.

Another key trend we predict is designs that optimize guest experiences, whilst also bringing in revenue for cruise clients.

With many new upcoming developments, Tillberg Design of Sweden is certainly one to watch! Read all about their winning CSI Awards entry here.