Stand-out gastronomic attractions on board MSC Bellissima will be served up in spaces that YSA Design believes deliver a first shipboard example of contemporary industrial restaurant design, and in a re-envisioned version of the chocolaterie that proved such a hit on Bellissima’s predecessor.
Named at a star-studded ceremony in Southampton by Godmother Sophia Loren in early March, the 5,686-passenger capacity, 171,598gt luxury ship is now on its maiden voyage to the Western Mediterranean. MSC Bellissima is the second ship in MSC Cruises’ innovative Meraviglia-class. With connectivity on board featuring the world’s first in-cabin digital cruise assistant (‘Zoe’), MSC Bellissima’s big ticket attractions include a desert-themed Water Park, a Formula 1 simulator, a full-size bowling alley and a two-deck promenade with an 80m long LED dome.
However, connoisseurs of good food will doubtless be making tracks for two areas on the ship’s Mediterranean Promenade on Deck 6 which target discerning palates. Both have been designed and project managed by YSA Design through the 18-month build project.
The Hola! Tapas bar, run by renowned chef Ramón Freixa, is part Spanish tapas bar and part modern Spanish restaurant, where guests can either consume bitesize appetisers and fine Spanish wines in an informal setting or opt for formal dining with a master of Spanish cuisine. A two Michelin Star chef, Freixa describes his approach as “produce, technique and feeling, plus a search for magic". To support this principle, YSA Design has created a sleek and minimalist setting, where high quality materials, design excellence and utility combine to deliver an authentic ‘on-trend’ Spanish dining experience.
“We are bringing the boldness of contemporary industrial styling to the cruise shipping dining experience for the first time,” says Trond Sigurdsen, Chairman and partner in charge for the project, YSA Design. “The metallic structure on the ceiling and the chandelier of copper pots that hang from it are particularly striking and completely change the perception of the area. Industrial details, combined with rough bricks and copper pots give a warm and inviting ambience, and these tactile materials also bring an authentic feel to the space. A wine tasting area at the entrance underscores the sophistication and trendiness of the Tapas Bar.”
Also on Deck 6 is the Jean-Philippe Maury Chocolaterie. Here, YSA Design has delivered an open space with a trio of uses: chocolate shop; Italian coffee bar; and a ‘Chocolate factory’ where guests can create personalised chocolate mementoes or gifts at a pad stand kiosk.
YSA Design also worked with the master-pâtissier on Meraviglia, where a comparable Chocolaterie has proved very popular, says Sigurdsen. “However, it is important that every ship has its own personality. As well as warmer tones and a striking wall of golden pyramid tiles, Bellissima includes a new leitmotiv of the exclusive designer jewellery outlet, reinforced by Maury’s signature ‘hero’ chocolate sculptures in a slowly revolving, eye-catching display case that protrudes into the promenade. Meanwhile, the café section has been organised into intimate booths that we nicknamed the ‘Orient Express’ during the design process.”