Bolidt has launched the world’s first luminous decking – Passenger Ship Technology speaks to the company to find out more – while new carpet solutions offer 3D effects
Synthetic flooring specialist Bolidt has launched a world-first glow-in-the-dark decking solution that harvests and stores solar energy during the day to provide luminosity by night – and Royal Caribbean International has already placed an order.
Bolidt maritime division director Jacco van Overbeek explained: “We are the first company in the world to develop a luminous decking material for the cruise industry. Bolideck Glow is another example of the way Bolidt allows ship designers greater scope to create exciting new concepts that can be installed within any pattern they have in mind. Now, they can extend their thinking to take in the effects that luminous flooring can create in the dark.”
Bolideck Glow offers energy efficiency savings by reducing lighting requirements. When used outside, it can also harvest energy, storing solar energy generated by day that can be converted into exterior lighting at night. It could also bring safety benefits, Bolidt points out, by illuminating escape routes and signage, as the luminous material ensures decking areas remain highly visible in the dark
The new solution, launched following a two-year research and development project at Bolidt’s innovation centre in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht in The Netherlands, can be integrated with the Bolideck Select and Bolideck Future Teak decking systems that are already used on cruise ships worldwide.
A contract for Bolideck Glow has already been placed by Royal Caribbean International for some of its newest vessels. It will fit the material on Harmony of the Seas before the end of 2017, and on the fourth ship in the Oasis class – likely to be named Symphony of the Seas – which is due for delivery in spring 2018 from STX France. In both cases, the product will be installed in a 350m2 area to add a ‘wow’ factor for passengers at the top of the 10-deck Ultimate Abyss slide, which will be used in the dark as well as in daylight.
“Royal Caribbean’s request for a glow-in-the-dark material has coincided with our development of Bolideck Glow,” explained Mr van Overbeek. “This demonstrates how our long-term customers look to us for new decking solutions, while our continuous development programme means we are ready to respond. It is perfect timing, and highlights how we can help designers to convert the wishes of owners into new concepts and innovative features.”
As well as being beneficial in terms of energy saving and for design, the flooring solution boosts safety on board as it can be used to indicate emergency exits.
Describing the technology used, Mr van Overbeek said: “We are able to make it in our own material rather than using someone else’s glow-in-the-dark particles. We have developed a material used in our own compound, with the adhesion of the material being the same as ours. This means that the flooring and the technology used are functioning as one, rather than adding an external product.”
As well as the new flooring, Bolidt is planning to launch an innovation centre. It has been working on this project for the last two years. An area behind its factory in Rotterdam has been earmarked for the centre, building started in April, and it will be finished in 2018. It will include a built-in warehouse. “The need for the warehouse was why we started looking into this, and then we decided to implement a cruise innovation and technology centre,” explained Mr van Overbeek. “We will invite customers to visit, to show them what is possible. They will be able to experience the product in the laboratory and see the kinds of materials that are available, and we can show them how they are tested and developed. They will experience the whole Bolidt culture and processes.”
Bolidt is also expanding in the fast growing cruise ship market in China. It has rented an office there which will focus on sales initially. The plan is that, over time, it will expand and work with local people in China and, at some point in the future, open its own warehouse there.
“We have opened the office to service the China cruise market better. We need a presence there in order to be more flexible and be on top of new developments quicker,” explained Mr van Overbeek.
Current projects include Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade, for which Bolideck Future Teak and Bolideck Select Soft are being supplied. Bolidt will be working on the Disney Dream upgrade in September, where it will be resurfacing Bolideck Future Teak and Bolideck Select Soft and prefabricating parts. It is also supplying decking solutions to TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1, which has been bought by Thomson Cruises.
“Last year was the best year ever for the whole Bolidt company, including maritime. We had our largest turnover and carried out our largest number of cruise ship projects – 48,” summed up Mr van Overbeek. The company has newbuild contracts up until 2024.
“We have opened the office to service the China cruise market better. We need a presence there in order to be more flexible and be on top of new developments quicker,” Mr van Overbeek (Bolidt)
Denmark’s Dansk Wilton has launched DW Twist, a new carpet solution that combines design, colours and a mix of yarns, making it possible to create new dimensions and user experiences with high-end carpets. This lifts the feeling of luxury that guests experience when boarding a cruise ship.
Traditionally, designers and architects have only been able to work with colours to create effects in carpets. Dansk Wilton’s new Twist solution is a combination of hard-twisted yarn and normal velvet yarn, which makes the surface a design element as well.
“With DW Twist, we can work with texture to create dimensions. By weaving in different types of yarn, we can almost create a 3D effect, which gives the kind of luxurious feel that you want in suites on a cruise ship,” said Søren Sonne, Dansk Wilton managing director.
With the growth of the cruise industry, the demand for luxury rises. According to Mr Sonne, a quality carpet adds to the full luxury experience for the guests.
“Cruise lines want to create something special for their guests. When someone enters a cabin or a suite on a cruise ship, they have to have this ‘wow’ experience of luxury. An exquisite carpet is part of what creates that feeling, in conjunction with furniture and all the other elements in the room,” he said.
DW Twist carpets have already been installed on several cruise ships. One is high end luxury cruise ship Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Seven Seas Explorer.