Kelly Hoppen Interview: Celebrity Edge and Visionary Interior Design

Author: Josh Stephenson

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World famous for her cool, contemporary interiors, Kelly Hoppen is the perfect choice to lead Celebrity Cruises’ design revolution

Renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen has spent her career helping stars like Madonna, Elton John and the Beckhams make the most of their homes. As well as running her successful interior design label, Kelly also has a jewellery line on QVC and has penned nine design books. So, it was no surprise when Celebrity Cruises hired the design queen to create the interiors for their fabulous new ship, Celebrity Edge.

Now, her latest challenge is the ‘Celebrity Revolution’ – a $500 million revitalisation project across the fleet that will take these already stylish spaces to a whole new level – at the same time as leading the design for three more Edge-class ships, the first of which launches next year.

We spoke to Kelly about her revolutionary work on Celebrity Edge, her design vision for the future, and the special challenges that come with creating show-stopping interiors on a state-of-the-art cruise ship.

Celebrity Edge cruise ship's Grand Plaza designed by Kelly Hoppen
Kelly Hoppen’s vision of modern luxury comes to live in Celebrity Edge’s Grand Plaza

How did your partnership with Celebrity begin?
Celebrity Cruises approached me a few years ago and asked if I would design the interiors of their new ship, creating a bold new luxury look. That sounded very intriguing, and after a few meetings I totally bought into Celebrity’s vision, which is all about helping passengers to relax at sea, just as easily as they do at home.

The interiors on Celebrity Edge have been widely acclaimed. What was the thinking behind them?
Everything within the design process for Celebrity Edge came down to luxury. I wanted to ensure that every room on board reflected impeccable style and had a modern finish. I also wanted the cabins to be a home-from-home, so the brief became about combining luxury with home comforts to ensure that guests would be totally relaxed.

Did that mean tearing up the rule-book for cruise ship design?
I never wanted to break away entirely from the traditional design of cruise ships. With Celebrity Edge, what I strived to do was combine comfort and modernity with the vintage glamour that cruising has always had, while stamping the spaces with my own style. So, in the staterooms you’ll see my trademark neutral palette and sleek lines, accented with splashes of colour.

Suite on board Celebrity Edge, designed by Kelly Hoppen in neutral, muted tones
Suites are opulently decorated in Kelly’s trademark neutral tones

You’ve created many amazing interiors on land, but a cruise ship must have presented new challenges. Can you tell us a bit about those?
Although I’ve worked in design for four decades, I had never ventured into the cruise industry, so getting to grips with space and storage was one of the first hurdles. In general, I’d say I approached designing for a cruise ship in much the same way as I would design a hotel room or a kitchen, but with extra focus on the weight of the materials I was using, as well as maximising storage without sacrificing the luxury of space.

Did you find you had to compromise your vision, or did it all come together as you first saw it?
I will never compromise my vision. I envisaged the space as one that could be lived in, much like a home, and I am so pleased with the outcome. My team are absolutely incredible and they thrive on being able to push the boundaries of design to overcome any challenge, so for us this may be the beginning of more seafaring adventures.

Have you sailed on Edge since its completion – and if so, what did you think?
I have! I found it was an incredible, almost surreal experience to actually be living in a space that I had designed, and to feel so at home on a ship, half-way across the world.

Celebrity Edge's Luminae restaurant designed by Kelly Hoppen
Luminae restaurant has been sumptuously designed

What has the reaction been like from guests?
There has been so much positive feedback, which I am so pleased about. People were approaching me every day, saying how they didn’t want to leave their staterooms, or how much they enjoyed the spa and how they felt amazing in the space. It’s so satisfying to be able to make guests comfortable on a ship in the middle of the ocean – that’s what I call an achievement!

You’ve agreed to help out with the Celebrity Revolution programme, so can you give us a sneak peek at the future?
I’m currently working on the second and third Edge-class ships, and we’ve also just completed the design for Celebrity Millennium, which I’ll be so excited to see when she launches. In the longer term, I would love to be able to design the physical structure of a ship as well as the interiors – taking the whole vessel from start to finish in one smooth, Kelly Hoppen vision.