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Old November 1st, 2014, 05:42 PM   #1
Mr Bricks
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Naval Architecture and Design

Early 20th century ocean liners and their design have always interested me, and naval architecture and design has had a profound influence on architecture on land, and vice versa. With the beginning of luxury travel at the end of the 19th century, shipbuilders did their best to emulate the grand hotels of Paris and London aboard their ships. The country house, the city club and the style of Louis XVI ruled the day.

Here are some examples of that period:

The First Class Dining Room on the Kronprinz Wilhelm (1901), an almost over the top creation.


A colourized photo of the Grand Staircase on the Olympic (1911)


The First Class Palm Court on the Majestic (Bismarck) (1914)

palm court

After the war the focus on interior design shifted towards Art Deco, and the first liner to really embrace this style was the île de France which entered service in 1925. Her design was heavily influenced by the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts held in Paris in 1925, and she was an instant hit. The île de France at once became the most chic liner on the Atlantic. Hollywood became obsessed with her and both set designs and entire movies drew inspiration from her interiors.

Cabin Class Salon


Grand Salon

the grand salon

Then, in 1935 another French liner, the Normandie, embarked on her maiden voyage. She was the largest liner afloat and her design was revolutionary. France's best avant garde designers made sure she became the very symbol of the 1930s. The uptakes from her engine room were diverted to the sides of the ship enabling the construction of huge spaces and grand vistas. So avant garde was her design that many conservative middle-class travellers preferred the more old school Queen Mary.

The huge Main Dining Room on the Normandie


The famous poster by Adolphe Cassandre.


Still very much part of our culture (the Queen Mary II)


During the 1920s modernist architects and designers increasingly looked to the ocean liner for inspiration. Le Corbusier was one of those who became fascinated with the earlier Edwardian passanger ships. He and others looked mainly to the third class areas where the structure of the ship was visible. Third class cabins and common areas, deckscapes and other places that had the simplistic, practical and efficient design inspired much of the modernist architecture of the 20s and 30s.

Here are some examples from different liners:

The First Class Promenade on the Aquitania (1914)


Third Class Covered Promenade on the Aquitania.


Purser's Office on the Lusitania (1907)


Third Class Stair Case on the Olympic (1911)


First Class/Second Class Passage Way on the Olympic


B-Deck Promenade on the Olympic

Titanic Exterior_001

Le Corbusier's Villa Savoy was inspired by the ocean liner Aquitania (1914)



Then there's the Unité d'Habitation, clearly inspired by the ocean liner.

The roof terrace, reminiscent of a boat deck with a funnel in the background.


A corridor, mimicking that of an ocean liner.


The Art Deco Entrance Hall of Eltham Palace which with its glazed dome and elegant interior clearly belongs on board a ship.


If you have any examples of naval architecture and design please feel free to share
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Old November 2nd, 2014, 08:13 PM   #2
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M/S Kungsholm (1928)

It was sadly confiscated by the American government and converted into a troop transport ship. After the war it was bought back by its former owner Svenska Amerika Linkien, but scrapped shortly afterwards.



Smoking lounge


Swimming pool


Stairway to dining room


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Old November 3rd, 2014, 04:04 PM   #3
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Beautiful spaces!
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