An Exclusive Interview With Kelly Hoppen MBE
Right about now, Celebrity Apex should be basking in the sun somewhere in the Mediterranean on her maiden season sailings. You might have been on the new Celebrity Cruises ship, or counting down the days to joining it to criss-cross Caribbean isles later in the year. Sadly, it’s going to be a little while longer until we can experience the second Edge-class vessel in the fleet, so we decided to take a walk down memory lane instead. Back in 2018, interior designer Kelly Hoppen MBE turned her paintbrush to Celebrity Edge and we caught up with her for an exclusive interview on how the ship’s inimitable interiors came to be. If you’re planning a cruise on Celebrity Apex in 2021, think of this as a taste of what’s to come.
With less than a year to go until the launch of Celebrity Edge, how is the interior design process progressing?
Quickly! It is evolving every day. We have spent nearly two years designing this ship and we are so excited for it to launch in December as we near the final stages before install. I am so excited to see the final product, it really has been my design baby and something totally new for me in my 41 years within the industry. People will be blown away by the design boundaries we have broken on EDGE and I cannot wait for people to see and enjoy it. It’s the main reason I took the project on.
Have your plans evolved as the process has gone on or did you have a vision in mind that has remained largely unchanged?
Evolution is something that always happens naturally within design but especially working on a project that is as different such as a huge ship. I would say my vision remained largely unchanged throughout the time, however, there were certainly some changes that had to be made as we faced new challenges. Certain materials or finishes we had to swap because you couldn’t use them in that environment for example. I had to ensure the design was impeccable and gave a flavour of new and exciting, whilst keeping the traditional Celebrity Cruises brand alive.
How has the process differed from other hospitality projects you have worked on, such as hotels and luxury yachts?
Absolutely, the sheer scale of this project is like nothing I have ever done before! Every project is always different, different specifications and challenges to endure, different styles and materials to appreciate, but Celebrity EDGE was a whole new ball game. Every step we took was a first for us and a first for design within the cruising industry. I was certainly inspired by luxury yachts, hotels and other hospitality interiors, however, to apply these to a ship ensuring that it had its own identity and couldn’t possibly be lumbered into any category other than 7* luxury was a brilliant experience.
What has inspired your designs for Celebrity Edge? How much of a role does travel play in your signature ‘East meets West’ aesthetic?
Travel plays one of the biggest roles in my inspiration library! Over 41 years in the industry means my head is like an archive of design, art, architecture etc. and if you traced the origin of most of those inspirations they were born whilst I was travelling somewhere. The East meets West aesthetic was created from my travels and my love and appreciation for both design philosophies. The design for EDGE was hugely inspired by travel; the colours, the sections, the finishes, the materials – right down to the creative ideas such as the extending balconies – all ideas that were handpicked from my inspiration travel archive. It’s a great place!
Be one of the first to experience Kelly Hoppen’s interiors on Celebrity Edge. Check out sailings on the ship here.