The open sea adventure of Tom Dixon with Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages, the cruise line company launched by Virgin Group founder  Sir Richard Branson, has released renderings of their new cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady, and they are pretty outstanding. 

Tom Dixon Design Studio of London, Roman and Williams of New York, and Concrete Amsterdam are just some of the groups Virgin Voyages has partnered with to create the inimitable beauty of the ship.

Lighting Interiors introduced Tom Dixon and his work in one of our articles. Tom Dixon, specialized in industrial interior desing, has been a strong character on the scene since the early 80s. Being described as “the talented, untrained designer with a line in welded salvage furniture”, he seeks to reclaim industrial, harsh materials and create beauty in the simplicity.

Tom Dixon and his team never have worked before in a cruise and they stated that the inspiration to create this project was found in the future, “from mobile communities exploring uncharted waters, where the journey is as important as the destination, creating environments that are theatrical, unexpected and forward looking using high quality materials and a bold narrative to take the customer on a series of unexpected adventures”.

The brand’s design concept is “The Modern Romance of Sailing,” and the idea to provide new experiences to new things and freedom.

The Tom Dixon’s project started at the top of ship with the VIP rooftop – an outdoor private club between the bow and the bridge where they created a series of freestanding sky rooms, sunken conversation pits, elevated pools giant and screened it with dichroic glass that changes with the shifting natural light.

Inside the ship, there are two main restaurants. Pink Agave will serve delicious Mexican cuisine in an upscale modern setting with hanging blue lights and curved lounge tables.

The entryway to Pink Agave was adorned by their pendant lighting. Electric blue metallic lighting fixtures will cascade from the ceilings above oversized banquets that line the dining room’s portholes. The purpose of his ideas is to offer an intimate dining experience with an elongated curved lounger centers the room with round tables for two.  The upscale restaurant will feature a bar area in the foyer and a private dining room for larger groups.

Sailors enter through a dramatic portal inspired by the bright light of the city and the futuristic nautical landscape of sea creatures and submarines. Tom Dixon’s design played with natural and artificial lighting throughout the space to allow it to change from day to night. “During the day sunlight through the porthole window washes over natural materials and vibrant colours whilst at night intimate lighting transform the restaurant into a mysterious underground space”, they stated.


The restaurant creates a series of different experiences from the intimate bar the space opens into the main room that is defined by low curving central banquette that encourages sharing and conversation between sailors with more intimate booth around the perimeter beneath the ships portals. The restaurant also features communal tasting tables and a mirrored private room.

Tom Dixon and his team confirmed that the design process has been fascinating as building a ship is proving to be more like product design than architecture where entire sections are prototyped, refined and then finally built as individual modules that are then plugged together to create what will become a floating city. The ship is all about creating an ‘Epic sea change for all’ and they continuing to explore the ship with Virgin, freed from the restraints of a permanent location the ship becomes a utopian craft floating between fixed points, celebrating the diversity of the sea.

Pictures and information: Tom Dixon website

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