Title: Interior design: public rooms for a variety uses and tastes
Pages: 50 -78
Text: Interior design: public rooms for a variety uses and tastes
In giving up a strict class system when planning QE2, Cunard gave the designers much greater possibilities in their conception of the ship's public rooms. Apart from the Midships Lobby, these are grouped together on the top three decks and present sharply differing characters to meet a variety of moods.
The circular Midships Lobby is on Two Deck at the point where most passengers come on board QE2. Dennis Lennon, who designed it, sees the lobby as the ship's centre of gravity (Cunard are calling it "the Rotunda") and the dark colour scheme was undoubtedly chosen for dramatic reasons, as well as to match the stairway immediately aft.
Two passageways branch off it obliquely, leading to the ship's side. Both will be sealed off from the lobby by sliding aluminium doors once the ship is under way and will then be used for storage on the port
side and as a waiting area for the doctor's surgery to starboard. Other openings in the navy blue hide walls show glimpses of cedar-lined passages leading forward to first-class cabins and aft to lifts, staircases and first-class suites. Two showcases and two kiosks, one acting as an inquiry office, have been let into the walls.
Sunk into the middle of the lobby is a circular seating area furnished with glasstopped Coulsdon tables by William Plunkett and banquette seats covered in apple green hide. At the centre of this seating well, a column clad in white GRP mushrooms upward to conceal the vent discharge and support the beam casings which fan out and divide the fluted silver-painted ceiling into 12 segments. A ring of spotlights fitted between each beam shines down onto the rich, ink blue carpet and the ceiling itself is fit up by internally silvered spots fitted into the back of the banquettes. To complete an elaborate and dramatic lighting plan, a fluorescent strip, concealed behind Perspex diffusers, defines the walls of the lobby. Contract work is by Elliott, Samuel & Sons Ltd.
Passengers coming on board QE2 pass straight into the Midships Lobby, left, which Cunard are already calling the Rotunda. Although low In height, it is a blockbusting curtain-raiser to the rest of the ship. It is circular in shape, with a fluted mushroom ceiling, far left, a sumptuous ink blue carpet, and panels of hide fitted to thewalls. At the centre of the room a wide well is lined with seating upholstered in vivid green, left, and surrounded by a finely detailed chromefinished handrail, far left bottom.
The public stairs on the QE2 are a far cry from the extravagant sweeping steps and elaborate rococo balustrades once beloved of Hollywood musicals and ocean liners. Pure function has replaced those flights of ascending and descending fantasy; instead of carved curlicues and ormolu nymphs, two parallel bands of coloured GRP hurtle down the stair wells in a square spiral.
Standardisation was necessary in order that the balustrades could be made by mass production. By diligent shifting of fractions, Dennis Lennon's office ended up with two standard radius corners on all the public stairs - one at deck level and one on all the quarter landings between decks. The balustrade corners can thus be made accurately off site, and to capitalise on this facility they are designed complete with two aluminium posts and with an extruded aluminium handrail base screwed into the top of the upper band. It was then a comparatively simple job to fix the complete corners into place on the stairs and to cut the twin GRP
Staircases, below, have glass-reinforced plastics handrail and side panels with Q4 Gold anodised aluminium uprights.
infill panels to size. After these had been slotted on to aluminium posts, a length of handrail base was cut to size and screwed on to align with the existing base on the corners. A standard plastics handrail cover, made in a colour to match the panels, was heated on to the base. One of the cheapest covers on the market, it looks extremely handsome in conjunction with the other materials.
Colour has been used as an identifying factor throughout the public part of the ship. The colour of the handrail and the double GRP ribbon - ochre, red, blue or white gives each of the four main staircases serving the public rooms an identity and relates to the surrounding colours (the interior colour of the lift cars follows that of the adjacent balustrade).
A total of over 1,600 feet of balustrade was required for the public stairs on the ship and it is one of the most noticeable single examples of design.
Bronze glass doors
Remembering that weight presented some of the biggest problems to the designers involved with the QE2, it wouId seem slightly absurd that the doors to the public rooms weigh 1 Newt - each. There are more than 30 pairs of these doors on the ship and their total weight must be around five tons. They are nevertheless very handsome and a great unifying force; like several other features that are standard throughout the ship, they were designed by Dennis Lennon's office.
Seven feet high and three feet wide, the doors are made of half-inch-thick toughened bronze glass. A wide strip of coloured leather runs from top to bottom on the hinge side and across the door as a pushbar to meet the handle, a beautifully simple tube of stainless steel in three dimensions and fixed at two points to an L-shaped steel plate.
The colour of the leather relates as closely as possible to that of the room the doors open into- red, brown, blue, plum, green, beige, black. The tint of Parallelo bronze glass, imported from the United States, prevents any clash of colours.
There is meticulous attention to detail: patch plates are in a bronze which exactly matches the glass; a thin line of chrome separates the leather panel from the glass and clearly expresses that it is a panel applied to the surface; the springs are either sunk into false floors or concealed in the stainless steel transom frame; the handle is shaped so that it can be gripped a dozen different ways; and there is a sizeable gap between the hinge edge of the door and the chrome post to prevent fingers being accidentally crushed. Where regulations demand the provision of fire doors these are concealed on either side of the glass doors.
Four main staircases serving public rooms and cabins, left and opposite, have different coloured rails and panels to help orientation. Doors to all public rooms (below, to the Double Room) have the same design. Leather panels echo each room's colours and are well detailed; handles, above, are stainless steel.
Jan Bannenberg's Double Room - the largest interior on any passenger ship - occupies the aft end of the Upper and Boat Decks. The room has no fixed function: it will act as a lounge for drinking and coffee taking; and, on special occasions, for grand balls, games and impromptu entertainments. It therefore has its public as well as its private face: extrovert flourishes and intimate elements.
The lower floor of this double-height room is approached from the promenade of the Upper Deck through swing doors. The centre of the room is dominated by the dance floor: around it are adapted William Plunkett Kingston chairs and settees, upholstered in puce, red and orange. On the edge of the dance floor a curving wall of sepia-tinted glass rears up behind the bandstand, the lower of whose two circular platforms may be swung out, if needed, to form an apron stage. Opposite the bandstand an imposing 24 feet wide staircase, right, swoops down from the upper floor. Its sepia glass balustrade echoes the bandstand wall, and the scarlet nylon handrail, below, has been carried round the edge of the upper level, to form a powerful centralising element.
Quieter areas have been provided behind
the bandstand and flanking the passageways which lead towards the bar and onto the deck beyond. These semicircular alcoves are fitted with bench seating upholstered in plum-coloured leather, while above wall panels of plum suede are stepped back to conceal strips of fluorescent lighting.
On the upper level chairs and tables have been arranged around the well in the same
enclosed alcoves at each end. There is a small circular dance floor facing the staircase and a rectangular island bar, right top, faced in panels of plum-coloured suede and lit from above by a weird forest of mitred steel tubes, overlooks the bandstand at the opposite end. The inside of the well is finished with stainless steel and corrugated aluminium and the off-white ceiling is made up of modular Dampa aluminium planks inset with coloured downlighters.
Colours and surfaces have not always been particularly well blended in this dramatic design. But the saving feature of the room is undoubtedly its carpet, a lush herringbone of puce and damson, specially woven for the Double Room by Kosset. Contract work is by H. H. Martin & Co Ltd.
The Britannia restaurant, above, has a red, white and blue colour scheme and is enliven, by such details as models of early Canard steamships, top, and the figurehead, right, carved by Cornishman Charles Moor. The Columbia Restaurant, below, has more sober colours: brown. sold and apricot.
Britannia and Columbia Restaurants
The Britannia and Columbia Restaurants are served by the same kitchen, with the Britannia one deck higher, on Upper Deck; both are designed by Dennis Lennon.
In the Britannia, which seats 800, a red, white and blue colour scheme helps to produce a restaurant which is infectiously cheerful and supremely comfortable. Screens of oak-veneered duck-boarding break down the space into 14 intimate eating areas overlooking the sea. Lighting is often concealed behind the screens or behind polished brass louvres mounted on the bulkheads; spotlighting provides concentrated illumination for each table.
The original moulds for the ship's anchor have been mounted on one of the bulkheads like a piece of sculpture; Lloyd's of London, who used to present each new Cunarder with a silver rosebowl, have this time come up with a Britannia figurehead, which is mounted just inside the main entrance.
The thick carpet by Carpet Manufacturing Co has a blue and black trefoil pattern; white GRP encases the bulkheads, sometimes made to represent diagonal boarding, and the columns are encased in red GRP. Banauette seats are upholstered in blue
tweed by Margo, and there is a bright red handrail which weaves along behind them and under the windows to give a feeling of enclosure to each group of seats. Blinds are in a Hull Traders fabric with a stylised pattern of blue flowers on white.
In the Columbia on the Quarter Deck glamour has been substituted for gaiety. The restaurant seats 500 people across the ship's i width in an atmosphere of smooth, restrained luxury. Its great width is increased by the dark arches of the webs and by a powerfully grooved ceiling of Q4 Gold anodised aluminium, the finish produced by A com Anodising which is a standard colour throughout the ship. Panels of bronze-tinted glass divide the room into more intimate areas for eating, and from there on the colours expand into donkey brown for the sculpted carpet made by Kosset, for the Connolly leather wall panels and Race chairs, and pale apricot for the Tamesa curtains. Tablecloths in the centre are lemon during the day, pink at night; those on the perimeter are always beige.
Contract work in this restaurant is by Cooke's (Finsbury) Ltd; that for the Britannia is by Samuel Elliott & Sons of Reading.
Race restaurant chair
The QE2 restaurant chair, of which 1,300 are required for the ship, turned out to be one of the most complex development programmes ever undertaken by a British chair manufacturer. Designed by Robert Heritage for Race Furniture, the chair's development also required the active co-operation of research personnel in seven different companies.
Perhaps the biggest single problem was producing the pre-formed plywood shells and liners. The right radius of the two front return bends on the back shell demanded manufacturing techniques different from any previously used. Alesbury Bros, who were given the job, said afterwards that the contract vastly increased their technical knowledge. Blemish-free plywood shells had to be made to an unusually high degree of accuracy, more than half faced with Formica on the outer surfaces - a task which required the design and manufacture of special post-forming jigs and heaters. The complex curves meant that the plywood and the laminate shells had to match exactly to be bonded together without damage.
The British Aluminium Company, who made the chair's striking two-legged underframe, also had problems. They had to cut three dies before they could satisfactorily produce the H profile of the extruded aluminium legs.
Certainly the most surprising aspect of the chair's production is the fact that the metal legs and feet are glued together with Araldite. It is the first time that adhesive has been used to secure such a critical joint in furniture, yet after long and detailed tests both Race and the Furniture Industry Research Association are satisfied that the joint has immense strength.
Because of the sharply turned arch shape of both seat and back cushioning units needed a lip that would absorb the outer rims of both shells; moulding such a unit promised to be extremely difficult. Using hand-built prototypes, and after constant adjustments, Dunlopillo devised a method of moulding the units flat and at the same time producing cushioning that fitted into the shells without creasing.
In prototype form it was discovered that the chair's polished aluminium base developed too much friction to glide freely over a heavy pile carpet and there was some danger of it tipping over when pushed back from the table. The suggested solution was to insert small pads of polytetra fluoroethylene resin (PTFE) in recesses cast in the chair's feet to provide a free-gliding action. The problem of sticking the non-stick pad to the frame was passed over to Richard Klinger, development engineers, who came up with a bondable-backed PTFE called Duplex. This could one day replace castors on certain types of furniture.
With the chair in production, Race, bucked by the technological and aesthetic success of the design, commissioned Heritage to turn it into a range which could be sold to both the contract and domestic markets. This range - linked seating, banquet seating, easy chairs, dining table, and coffee table - will appear later this year.
This Pers pex light fitting in the Columbia Restaurant (see previous page) and Grill Room is designed by Dennis Lennon and made by Philips; the light source is in the table pedestal. The QE2 restaurant chair, below, designed by Robert Heritage and made by Race, is upholstered in brown in the Columbia and red and white in the Britannia Restaurant.
Most of the tableware on the new ship is made of Steelite, an entirely new ceramic body which is the nearestthing to "unbreakable china" yet invented. Extremely strong and highly vitrified, it was developed by Ridgway Potteries, a member of the Allied English Potteries group, after seven years of intensive research. The huge QE2 contract was its first order, and within months the trickle of subsequent orders from the catering industry had become an avalanche.
Seventeen of the 24 rationalised items that now comprise the ship's tableware (previous Cunard liners carried a bewildering 90 pieces) are made of Steelite. That is everything except the cups and saucers, which are in bone china, the teapot, and cream and sugar jugs, which are in stainless steel.
The Marquess of Queensberry was responsible for the design and rationalisation of the tableware. The result is a range with simple, robust shapes based on three Ha; a modules, and each of the various items is stackable.
Using Steelite did not pose any particular problems for the designer except that the edges of the plates had to be rather thick because they are rolled to cushion possible impact shock. He chose bone china for the cups because "there is nothing like its elegance and whiteness" and cups are the most tactile items in the range.
Yet Cunard decided not to make use of Steelite's ability to accept under-glaze decoration: it can accept just about
any colour except gold - and this is what Cunard chose. And although the on-glaze gold pattern designed by Julia
Chandler will be more durable than it would be on conventional hotelware, it is nothing like as long lasting as an
All Ridgway will reveal about the formula of their new body is that it is "a completely new mix using some new components" which, understandably perhaps, does not give much away. It is closer in appearance to bone china than any other hotelware: thinner, whiter, lighter. In fact, it is not really unbreakable inasmuch as if it is thrown hard enough against a solid surface it will shatter. But the number of pieces broken during six month user trials in factory canteens can be counted on the fingers of one hand. If it chips, which is equally unlikely, the surface will not absorb food stains, grease or moisture. It meets the 1968 British Standard 4034 specification on porosity and crazing, as must all vitrified hotelware.
Steelite's price puts it in between conventional hotelware and bone china, but Ridgway claim that its durability makes it by far the most economic buy for the catering industry, which has been dogged for years by the expense of a high breakage rate on all tableware.
One other quality appeared by chance the new body holds heat much longer than usual. The research team did not plan this characteristic and now they cannot explain why it should be so; although at the same time they are not above cheerfully claiming it as another virtue.
Steelite tableware, left, is complemented by catering silver in silver plate, above, by Eric Clements and cutlery by David Mellor, below, all made by Elkington; the range of 21 glasses, tumblers, jugs and carafes, top, is by Waterford Glass. All these are special to the QE2, although they may go on general sale later.
Upper Deck Library
Many people regard Dennis Lennon's library, right, on Upper Deck, as one of the handsomest rooms on board the QE2. Beige and blue are the predominant colours - beige for the carpet and blue cropping up once more in the shape of leather panels fitted to the walls. The ship's webs divide the room into three bays, the largest of which, below, is furnished with librarian's desks, floor to ceiling bookstacks, Discus chairs by R. S. Stevens, and a circular rosewood table fitted to the floor. The top of this impressive able is six feet six inches in diameter and is separated into leathercovered segments by thin strips of aluminium.
The two remaining bays are comfortably furnished with fixed settees upholstered in tan hide, rosewood tables and armchairs upholstered in a Bernat Klein fabric of blue overchecked with green. Blue roller blinds may be pulled down over the windows which look out onto the promenade.
The library has a number of well thought out details: in particular, the conical reading lamps with their blue Perspex column, stubbier versions of which are bracketed to the walls, and the small aluminium and rosewood reading tables, bottom. Continuity with the adjoining Theatre Bar is achieved by the beige carpet which is common to both rooms and to the corridor which links them. Contract work is by George Parnall & Co.
The Theatre Bar on Upper Deck, left, was designed by Dennis Lennon & Partners to be bright and histrionic. A brilliant red GRP wall in an egg-crate pattern faces you as you enter from the promenade. Other dramatic touches are the glass and mirror-glass bar back, the William Plunketttables and sofas, red-tweed-upholstered Bertoia chairs, and the mushroom-shaped plastics lamps by Artemide. A bright red piano, with its tiny attendant dance floor under a bronze-louvred aluminium ceiling, swells the ranks of pianos which have been slotted into practically every public room in the ship. The carpet and walls in this vivid room are coffee brown. Contract work is by George Parnall & Co.
The Lookout on Upper Deck, Jeff, is the only room on board which offers a view forward over the bows. Theo Crosby's handling of its difficult narrow kidney shape is one of the triumphs of the ship. The detailing, too, is impressive and for once the structural elements are allowed to speak for themselves.
Crosby's great problem was to find a way of compressing the width of the room, while at the same time giving it depth. His solution is to line the rear walI with a vast irregular screen of stainless steel and bronze vertical bars. The screen has been designed by Gillian Wise in a free-form linenfold pattern.
Two splashes of colour enliven the sober and club-like atmosphere: a vermilion piano, attached to the wall on the starboard side to provide music for dancing; and a red chart reader, above, at the bow windows. The reader contains spools of microfilm controlled by a ratchet knob, and shows charts of the areas to which the ship is travelling.
The floor is carpeted in olive green Wilton, fitted to the wall to form a skirting as elsewhere on the ship. Walls are panelled in cedar of Lebanon veneer with joints protected by impeccably detailed beading. Panels of porridgecoloured PVC-faced
QE2 interiors: The Lookout
cloth are fitted to the ceiling, which has been stepped down at its outer edge to fqcus the eye on the windows and to provide troughs for ventilation and perimeter lighting.
The Lurashell seating was specially designed by Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes with a GRP shell and black Bernard Wardle cirrus upholstery. Some is fixed, the rest may be arranged at will (each chair only weighs271b). Contract work is by Mason, William & Son Ltd.
Details show: rig kit, a corner of the bar; opposite, one of the snugs at each end of the room; below, the stepped edge of the ceiling, the wall panelling, and the steel screen.
The Queen's Room, intended as the first class lounge on two-class trips, stretches across the aft end of the Quarter
Deck with only sliding glass doors separating it from the promenades to port and starboard. The room is almost
square, 105 feet by 100 feet. Michael Inch bald has used a number of devices to extend its apparent length and to
give an impression of height to the low nine feet three inch ceiling. The result is fresh and airy, bright with the colours
of sunlight and plants.
The ceiling is an open perforated screen of white glass fibre-reinforced plastics, lit from behind to increase the effect
of a sunny garden. The duct casings which break the ceiling up into three areas are supported by structural columns
sheathed in trumpets of GRP; these are oval in section to stress the fore-aft axis of the room. At each end the walls
do their job in deceiving the eye and making the room appear longer. Their width is masked on each side by panels
of mirror and the central area of each is covered in blocks of walnut-veneered GRP. Some planes of this chunky,
three-dimensional wall are faced with mirror which disguises its solidity and suggests space beyond.
Colours in the room are mostly light and sunny. The Tamesa Venus curtains at the sliding doors which separate it
from the promenades are in immense unequal stripes of white, lemon, beige and orange and there is a scattering of
similar-coloured cushions. The white plastics Lurashell chairs are made in two sizes to Michael Inchbald's design
and upholstered with coffee-coloured Connolly leather. Walnut-topped Arkana tables have trumpet bases in polished
aluminium (intended to read as inverted and miniature expressions of the column claddings), the beautiful striated
carpet, above, was specially designed by Michael Inchbald and woven by Thomson Shepherd in succulent textures
of honey and pale beige.
Thomson Shepherd made about three and a half miles of Wilton carpet for the ship. An 80-percent wool, 20-percent
nylon surface pile from their standard range was used in half the first-class cabins and a quarter of the tourist cabins.
For the Queen's
Michael Inchbald has pulled out all the stops in the Queen's Room, above, in a determined effort to turn a wide room
into a longer and higher one. Striated carpet, detail far left, mirrors, and oval columns dancing into the distance give
an I impression of length, while Tamesa Venus curtains used in different widths to give a striped effect, and a back-
lit, perforated ceiling serve to make the room look taller than it is. The bases of the Arkana tables and the Lurashell
chairs, left, are trumpet-shaped to reflect the column claddings; these chairs, specially designed by Michael
Inchbald, are GRP shells upholstered in leather. The Queen's Room opens out onto the Quarter Deck promenades,
Room Michael Inchbald first specified a machine-made simulation of a hand-knotted carpet with a very heavy weight of pile in four colours. In fact, the cost of weaving it by machine was prohibitive and so the company set out to find a way of producting something comparable at reasonable cost. With the help of the dyers, two dyes with a matching tolerance far narrower than that normally applied to dye-stuffs were produced and these, combined with clever use of cut end uncutpile,contrive to achieve the four-colour effect.
In the main, central part of the Queen's Room a lower level is separated from the upper by a low, white-lacquered seat inset with troughs to hold green plants. Sofas on the upper level and those cantilevered out below the plants at the lower level have red tweed upholstery by Donald Brothers.
Bandstands, intrinsic parts of many shipboard public rooms, can look forlorn when not in use. Michael Inchbald decided to project some interest onto the white curved shape of his with moving coloured lights whose speed can be regulated according to mood - or the weather. This room was designed by a man of long experience, particularly in providing settings for the wealthy. The contract work is by Heal's Contracts Ltd.
Just aft of the Queen's Room is the Conference Room designed by Dennis Lennon & Partners. It has five ship-toshore Press telephone booths for use while the ship is in port and comfortable working facilities for business groups, who it is hoped will use the QE2 much as they do luxury hotels.
Quarter Deck promenades
Like all other promenades on the ship, the Quarter Deck promenades were designed by Dennis Lennon & Partners. The floor surface is off-white mini-rib rubber sheet and bulkheads, below left, are lined with magnolia Formica. Harry Bertoia's famous chairs made in this country by Form International are common to all promenades, but their upholstery varies according to the area they serve. Quarter Deck seating, centre left, uses flame-coloured wool, which complements the colours in the Queen's Room, so that when the sliding doors are pushed back in the evening to make it one large area, there is no conflict of colours.
When the ship is cutting through the inky heat of summer evenings much of the atmosphere will be due to the simple light fittings hidden behind potted plants in the corners of the deck. Wall-fixed about two feet from the deck, these spill pools of yellow light downwards and shoot a stronger beam upwards through the branches and leaves.
Dennis Lennon's office designed the
light, which is made by Rotaflex; it comprises a satin chrome cylinder, 18 inches high and seven inches in diameter, gripped by a block of matching chrome of similar dimensions. The face of the block follows the curve of the cylinder but is separated from it by a fraction of an inch. The top half of the cylinder is lined with Rotaflex's standard multigroove baffle which reduces glare from the upward-pointing spotlight. In the bottom half a conventional bulb sheds a soft pool of light downwards. A small hole cut in the back of the cylinder lets light out on to the scarletpainted concave surface of the mounting block and emphasises the
separation of the two main elements.
The lights were produced for about £12 each, but not without headaches: the size of the cylinder meant that the scars of manufacturing - either by spinning or rolling and welding - were magnified to noticeable proportions on early prototypes. Eventually spinning was chosen as the manufacturing process and the marking problem was overcome by a careful and rigid specification of materials, finish and process.
There are as yet no plans to include these lights in the Rotaflex catalogue, although the company say they would be available as a special for large orders.
Etched glass Kawneer sliding doors divide the Quarter Deck promenades from the Queen's Room, above. The promenades are lit by 18-inch-high light fittings, right, designed by Dennis Lennon's office and made by Rotafiox.
Glasdon plastics components
Backed by all the experience and knowledge accumulated in only three months of existence, the 22-year-old managing director of Glasdon Glasfibre approached Cunard for the first time eight years ago when the ship was still in the initial design stages and said he thought his product had great potential in the proposed new Queen. This approach resulted in a contract to supply components made of glassfibre-reinforced plastics (GRP) worth £15,000.
These are used most impressively for the upsweeping trumpet columns and the perforated backlit ceiling in the Queen's Room, right and above. The apparently complex shapes of the ceiling were in fact a straightforward job to make, requiring two basic GRP components, while trumpet casings of the columns were easily moulded in two halves.
Conversely, the simple window surrounds on the promenade and verandah decks, right, also made of GRP by Glasdon, presented extraordinarily complicated manufacturing involving the use of a multipiece mould. The difficulty was in producing a one-piece surround with the intricate section required to make an efficient and goodlooking joint with the reveals between the ship's inner lining and window frame. Even so, if the same thing had had to be made in metal it would have required several different custom-made components for each surround and future corrosion would have been a continual problem.
Indoor swimming pools
There are four swimming pools on QE2, two in the open air (page 45) and two inside, deep in the ship's hull. The pool on Six Deck, belong right, designed by Jon Bannenberg, is determinedly unclinical. All the tiles are natural-coloured Dorset stone and the walls have a sandstone-like finish of Glamorock aggregate. Both sides of the pool are flanked by a double row of cylindrical changing rooms in brilliant vermilion glass-reinforced plastics, whose curtained entrances face each other across a dividing passage. The inside of the cubicles, bottom, is lined with the same pink Indian cotton (supplied by David Bishop) as the curtains, laminated to the GRP walls; some cubicles are fitted with showers, below. The adjoining Turkish bath area, right, is part of the same scheme, which has contract work by White Allom Ltd. The second indoor pool, on Seven Deck, is designed by Dennis Lennon in yellow and white; leading off it is a Sauna and rest area, far right, with equ ipment and fu rnitu re supplied from Finland by Rantasalmi.
Theatre and seats
Gaby Schreiber's stone white and cyclamen theatre, below, occupies a central position on the Upper Deck. The multi-purpose auditorium has a seating capacity of 530 and will be used as a church, conference hall, theatre and cinema. The ceiling is shaped in shallow waves from GRP panels to reflect sound, and all absorbent surfaces are finished in slatted GRP and painted stone white.
The stage, which is 12 feet deep, has a grey Sekers silk curtain, and a cinema screen at the rear for films. There is no proscenium and the stage curtain may be drawn back out of sight. The stage, the auditorium and the balcony are all finished with a charcoal Wilton carpet. Four glass-fronted interprefers' booths and a projection area are at the back of the auditorium and when not in use may be covered over with sliding panels of slatted GRP to match the walls.
The system of red and white lighting may be adjusted to meet the mood of the occasion. Vertical and horizontal fittings are concealed within the bulkhead linings; the ceiling's continuous fluorescent lighting is combined with tungsten spotlights sunk into the underside of the balcony.
The plum and puce theatre seats are designed by Gaby Schreiber & Associates. The basic unit comprises a tubular steel column and crosspiece supporting L-shaped arm plates. Alternate seats rely for support on the adjacent seat end-plates. The seat and backrest, upholstered in Bernat Klein wool, are fitted into this simple framework; the arms are finished in black kid.
The 736 Club, right, is the most ambitious of the linked series of areas on the Boat Deck designed by Stefan Buzas & Alan Irvine. The main elements of the room - bar, dance floor and sitting-out areas - are clearly defined. Entering through a pair of swing doors of tinted glass one is confronted with a darktimber perforated screen not unlike the latticed timber screens which Mackintosh used in the Cranston tearooms. This runs around the sunken dance floor with its semicircular banquette seating, fixed tables, and brown-upholstered Bertoia chairs, below.
The dark, sumptuous effect has been created by an extensive use of timber, leather and a rich blue and green patterned Wilton carpet. Bulkheads, structural webs and columns, and all working surfaces are veneered in Indian laurel and all fixed seating surfaces have been upholstered in tan coloured hide.
The sunken dance floor has a shallow domed ceiling in brilliant white with inset coloured lights. Above the alcoves this is edged with gold leaf. A twinkling fairy light effect has been provided by clusters of 25W international signal lights bracketed on to the perforated timber screen, centre right.
A discotheque is installed in one of the alcoves and its paraphernalia of loudspeakers is incorporated with the lighting in the ceiling above the dance floor, far right.
Boat Deck shops
The shopping arcade, right, designed by Stefan Buzas & Alan Irvine runs along the seaboard side of the corridors which lead into the upper section of the Double Room.
Dimensions of each shop were dictated by the spacing of the ship's webs. This has produced a series of broad, shallow units some 22 feet wide and about eight feet deep.
Illuminated showcases are fitted on either of the counter openings and on the rear wall, while the remaining surfaces are finished with panels of grey or smoky blue Formica.
Each shop is serviced by a bonded storeroom with showcases fitted to its splayed outer wall. Showcases have also been fitted all along the walls of the boiler casing. The intrusion of this massive casing and a complex of lifts and staircases prevented the designers from installing shops amidships to form a kind of circular bazaar.
A narrow corridor links the shops with the London Gallery, right - also by Buzas & Irvine. This is almost the first gallery ever installed on board a ship and will be operated by Marlborough Fine Art.
The gallery stretches out like a dark blue cricket pitch lit by tall "chocolate finger" windows. A row of showcasestorage cabinets, faced with white Formica line the inside wall. Pictures will be displayed on metal-trimmed panels of buff-coloured Canotex which may be plugged into the floor and ceiling in about 30 different positions along the whole length of the Gallery. Each panel is fitted with two horizontal, rubber-lined, C-section aluminium strips to receive screws set into the back of the picture frames. Some showcases for sculpture and jewellery are provided, but the gallery will be dealing principally in limited editions of prints and lithographs by artists from the Marlborough's stable such as John Piper, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Graham Sutherland.
Children's play areas
The children's area on the Sports Deck has an enclosed verandah with climbing frame, play pool and deck marked in primary colours. The only other furniture is large BXL plastics cubes in bright colours which can be used as building blocks or stools, and tables with chequer board tops fitted with GRP play trays, right. It is, thank goodness, devoid of traditional fairy castles and clowns. Behind is the playroom, below, its large area broken down by curving GRP screens in orange and white, which are substantial enough to give private cubby holes and low enough for the nurses to have complete control. Wall storage is faced in chalkboard or in Formica with blue, yellow and orange circles: the sand-coloured Barry Staines Hypalon floor is inset with orange and yellow hopscotch. Beyond, there is a miniature cinema, immediately below, and a baby creche.
When plans for the teenage room on the Boat Deck were first discussed, Dennis Lennon asked Lady Casson, head of interior design at the Royal College of Art, to suggest some students to design it. This idea of winkling out embryo talent from the top art schools is rapidly spreading in industry, and is an excellent one for stirring up stagnant waters. QE2 waters were far from stagnant, but the two students, Elizabeth Mower White and Tony Heaton, have produced for the teenage and children's areas designs which are fresh and lively. In the event, the teenage room has also had to double up as a coffee shop, but most of the original designs for it have been adapted to the new scheme.
The Coffee Shop is a complex L-shaped area broken up by recessed booths and seating alcoves. The accent is on bright colours: | sharp red, yellow, orange and blue. A long | "arcade" overlooking the sea and lifeboats, above, has one end devoted to the Juke Box gaming area with pin tables and fruit machines, above left,. Curved partitions echoing the window elevations are outlined by a padded rail in red PVC so that people can lean and sit on them. The opposite wall of the arcade, 100 feet long, is panelled with a black and white mural on Formica by former RCA student Tim Sarson.
At right angles to this is the main area of the Coffee Shop, bottom and centre, with red-vinyl-covered banquettes in booths outlined by the same snaking red handrail, and brown-Formica-topped tables with a black perimeter line. Booth walls are lined with brown hessian, but behind the bar and on the entrance doors are panels of vividly striped Formica. The central area of the white Hypalon floor (cleared for dancing at night) has a huge black and brown bullseye. A strip of mirror-bright stainless steel is carried right through the room in the form of a skirting and is echoed by a parallel strip above the seats, reflecting and distorting movements and colours.
Contract work for both teenage and children's areas is by Samuel Elliott & Sons.
Main staircase lobbies
D Staircase is in the heart of the ship, leading up from the Midships Lobby. Ink blue carpet and wall coverings complement the white balustrade and the spacious landing lobbies are enlivened by tapestries of QE2's launching, right, by Helena Barynina Hernmarck at Quarter Deck level, and by pictures and prints, top right, at Upper Deck level. The wide inboard concourse, centre right, is outside the 736 Club and leads towards officers' accommodation and the main forward staircase.
Alleyways between the first-class cabins have all received identical treatment from Dennis Lennon. Outboard walls are finished in magnolia textured Formica panels, inboard walls in cedar veneer. At the butt joint, the Formica panels have been protected with Q4 Gold aluminium beading. The extruded aluminium grab-rail, a standard fitting throughout the ship, runs along the inboard side of the corridor; its curious section, not unlike a mutton chop or lopsided pear, making it easy to grasp. The outboard wail is pierced to form small bays between every other cabin. Vertical floor-toceiling flashes in tan Formica house call indicators and show the cabin numbers in the standard Q4 typography. The ceiling is made up of sand coloured steel trays, hinged so that workmen can get at the ductwork above, with a continuous louvred strip of lighting running along the inboard side.
The tourist-class alleyways have received similar treatment, but the detail here is less sumptuous. Textured Formica panels replace the cedar on the inboard side (for reasons of cost) and both inboard and outboard walls are pierced with cabin doors. The checks on the carpet are black and blue instead of black and brown while the lighting strip shines crosswise through diffusing trays set into the tan aluminium ceiling.
First-class corridors, right, and tourist-c/ass corridors, far right, have door furniture designed and made by G. & S. Aligood.
Formica won the exclusive contract to supply all the laminate for the ship - because of a new textured finish which they developed in time to offer Cunard the chance of being first to use it. With a matt surface resembling fabric or parchment, the new finish both looks and feels warmer than smooth laminate - but it is as durable and easy to maintain. Of the two million square feet on the ship over half has the textured finish.
Weave 2 has a texture similar to taut denim with minute variations in weave from one point to another. It is used in a magnolia colour on bulkheads and passageways; with muted brown stripes it is used on the walls of the first-class bathrooms; in a light blue paisley design it is used in the tourist bathrooms; in a black and white paisley it is on the walls of the men's lavatories; and in a blue floral pattern in the ladies' lavatories.
Two other textures were specially developed for the ship - a rough Hessian surface with slight ridging only visible when illuminated transversely to the grain and a parchment finish.
The "Hessian" is used in grey on bulkheads in the officers' accommodation and the "parchment" is used with great effect on ceilings in most of the cabins, throughout the crew's accommodation and in the vast kitchens.
So far Formica are jealously guarding the secret of how they produce textured laminate. Under Formica International's chief designer W. M. Dixon, a team has been working on the project since 1961 as a development of the technique by which woodgrain-effect laminates were given the indentations and feel of natural wood. They knew that textures were easy to obtain inadvertently - if a glove was left in the press by mistake you got a glove impression on the surface of the laminate - but controlling the texture and then mass producing it raised two big problems - first an embossed plate on the press provided a key which bonded the laminate to the plate (ordinarily a perfectly smooth plate simply releases perfectly smooth laminate) and second the high pressure required meant that the embossing was soon showing signs of wear.
How the company overcame these two major difficulties is, at the moment, their secret. But, the ship contract finished, the laminates are now on the open market.
Five Formica textures are currently available at 4s 42d a square foot. Only 1/32 inch thick, textured laminate is designed primarily for vertical surfaces and ceilings - it is not recommended for use on horizontal surfaces. However, development now continuing may result in a tougher texture which will stand up to the treatment handed out to kitchen worktops, bar surfaces and so on.
Interior design. flexibility and ease in the cabins
The QE2 houses its 2,025 passengers in luxury suites, first-class and tourist cabins, each with its own bathroom or shower. Three-quarters of the berths are in outer cabins and, with a full complement of passengers, only 178 will be in upper berths. There is much variation in size and shape, and this quality has been seized upon by the designers to produce flexible layouts.
The 54 luxury suites, each of which consists of a sleeping/living room, entrance hall, dressing room, bathroom and closet, have been split up between three designers: Dennis Lennon, Gaby Schreiber, and Buzas & Irvine. Each has produced two or three colour schemes for his set of rooms, and Buzas & Irvine have based their schemes on cream, blue, sage and olive green and chestnut. The simple chair and sofa units by Form International are interchangeable, all covered in their ivory Cato fabric. When a suite cabin is used as a sitting room the bedheads hinge up to make a continuation of the built-in working top, for use as a desk.
The Lennon suite rooms are all lined in milk-chocolate-coloured pear wood and have two colour schemes, one basically blue, one basically gold. In each case the pear-wood walls have panels of gold leaf behind the bedheads, which are covered in soft blue or beige leather. Tailored bedspreads are in another shade of blue or beige tweed and made by Tamesa. Built-in furniture has leather tops with curved edges, and flush drawers; chairs are by Hille and Saarinen. Bathrooms are a riot of imitation marble.
The Gaby Schreiber suites are bright and gay. A feeling of spaciousness has been achieved - in the same space with pale walls, low built-in furniture and large oval surrounds to the windows. The light oak cupboards, possibly the best-looking furniture on the ship, have curved edges am are cantilevered from the wall.
In a Dennis Lennon suite, right and opposite, layouts of sitting room and bedroom are similar and could be changed between trips to make two bedrooms. The other suite, above right, is by Buzas & Irvine and uses American walnut joinery. The suite plan, top opposite, shows how as many as five may be linked to make a single unit.
ake a single unit.
Jon Bannenberg designed the first-class cabins, right, which have four different colour schemes and built-in furniture in one of three wood veneers. Tops to the fixed furniture are in white Formica with a curved edge, and all drawers have cut-out panels for handles. A freestanding, leather-framed mirror on the dressing table has fluorescent strip light concealed behind, and there is a reading lamp in aluminium anodised Q4 Gold above each bed. One colour scheme consists of rosewood wall panelling and built-in furniture, a crushed raspberry bedspread and curtains, oatmealcoloured wall panels and wine-coloured carpet with a thin diagonal scarlet stripe.
All first-class cabins are furnished with Hille Nimbus chairs and Arkana tables and stools, above right. The typical plan, above, shows the linking door which may be used to convert two separate rooms into a suite; it also shows the generous trunk space, bottom centre. The coved ceiling with recessed down lighters, right, is a fairly common feature of the ship. The bath, far right, has Modric bathroom fittings designed by Alan Tye for G. & S. Aligood in conjunction with Dennis Lennon.
ICl's contribution to the ship reads like a trade catalogue. They supplied the materials for 30 miles of PVC skirting, 1,000 chairs, 300 baths, 61 miles of conduit, 200 table lamps, 1,500 square yards of flooring and a mass of other fittings. Much of their material will never be seen by the public and rarely by the crew: the flexible seal of PVC paste on the propeller shafts, for example, is something no one wants to see very often. But Rory McEwen's light sculptures of Perspex sheets sandwiched between layers of polaroid glass will be seen and admired by anyone who uses the Q4 Room nightclub (by David Hicks in association with Garnett Cloughley Blakemore).
The decision to use Perspex baths required no soul searching at Cunard. They had been thoroughly tested during a 10-year trial on the Sylvania and their use saved about 41 tons in weight. Shanks supplied more than 300 Perspex baths for the first class cabins, left, most of which are in the superstructure - so weight-saving was vital.
The tourist cabins designed by Dennis Lennon are no less comfortable than the first-class but they are smaller; packing the accommodation into the available space has produced considerable variation in their size and shape, as right. An interesting detail is the mirror panel above the dressing table, below, which, besides concealing fluorescent lights behind opalescent horizontal strips (similar to those in the first class), has been used to conceal all the electrical wiring in the room which has been concentrated in this area. The whole mirror panel, framed in a fabric which varies according to the room's decoration, stretches from ceiling to dressing-table top and hinges open for servicing; a further pair of fluorescent strips shine through side panels to provide bedside lights. All control switches and knobs -for radio, television (not yet installed, although a closed-circuit system is envisaged), lights, service etc are arranged in a black Formica faced console at the base. It was necessary to co-ordinate the efforts of such diverse firms as Midland Electrical Manufacturing, Tannoy and Rediffusion to achieve the standard black switches which are arranged along this small but meticulously detailed console, which is used, in varying colours, in all cabins.
Walls are lined in Magnolia Weave 2 Formica, ceilings in white aluminium, and there are four schemes in bright colours, one being a red Thomson Shepherd carpet, black and white check Acrilan bedspread by Margo fabrics, and red Sekers curtains.
Some tourist-class rooms may be linked to provide a suite with one or more cabins rearranged as below. to form a sitting room.
In his design of the tourist-class accommodation Dennis Lennon detailed the fittings very precisely: for example, cupboard handles, top left, coved Formica drawer linings, left, and bellpush and light switch panels with shaver sockets, which are common to ad the cabins, right. The cabin, above, is single berth, and the one, below, is double. Upholstered stools are by Arkana, chairs (see previous page) by R. S. Stevens, and general cabin furniture by the Scottish firm. Beitharaff.