Company Name: YSA Design

Specific Team: YSA – Disney team

As one of the world’s most iconic and recognisable brands, Disney has understandably high standards for its products – and its immensely popular cruises are no exception. That YSA Design was commissioned to conceive and develop venues and architecture aboard three Disney Cruise Line vessels is testament to the Oslo-based company’s reputation and the strength of its relationship with Disney.

Led by senior architect and partner Jan Krefting, senior interior architect and partner Anne Mari Gullikstad and senior architect Kristian Englund, YSA’s Disney team worked tirelessly to bring the project to a successful conclusion, overcoming the significant challenge of designing three ships during a pandemic. In addition, the team had to bring themselves up to speed with building-information-modelling program Revit, which YSA had never used on such a large scale.

For this project YSA employed Revit to execute all drawing work for the atrium in 3D, which, given that the venue spans three storeys and contains numerous geometric shapes and intricate details, this proved a considerable undertaking.

In fact, the 3D-modelling work was the most extensive of its kind in the cruise industry so far – yet YSA’s Disney team rose to the occasion, developing from scratch a virtual replica of the atrium that allowed the client to ‘walk’ around the space as if aboard the ship itself. This was met with great enthusiasm from Disney Cruise Line, whose representatives were able to view each element up close and interact with the materials.

In addition to the atrium, YSA was responsible for developing the spa venue including reception and waiting areas, changing and treatment rooms, and the central ‘Rainforest’ area, which itself comprises sauna, ice lounge, hammam, experience showers, small pool, and outdoor whirlpool.

YSA’s task was to offer a seamless journey from one area to the next, ensuring guests feel completely immersed in the spa environment. Despite the sheer size of the venue, the team succeeded in creating a cohesive design inspired by the effortless flow of water and nature – with aesthetic, auditory, olfactory and tactile elements contributing to the sense of tranquillity.

Key to the success of the spa project was the interdisciplinary cooperation between YSA architects, textile designers and render artists. The latter’s stunning photorealistic renderings of the spa captured the finer details of the venue as well as the feelings each section sought to elicit.

Finally, in designing and developing the vessels’ side view and upper decks, the team endeavoured to uphold the values of the Disney brand, which places as much emphasis on exterior architecture and design as it does interior. The result is a look and feel that is modern, sophisticated, and yet unmistakably ‘Disney’. As Walt himself said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”