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ENSTO and the challenge of the flower

The MSC Meraviglia is the first of a new fleet of high-tech ships MSC Cruises is launching over the next decade. Frances Marcellin went on board to speak to the team behind the ship’s cutting-edge technology

he expectations of Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises, Mr. Gianni Onorato, were incredibly high.

Ensto Marine Lighting loves challenges and great stories, especially the successful ones. This is the story of an extraordinary challenge consisting in the realization of the largest chandelier designed by MSC architects for the fleet's flagship MSC Meraviglia, assembled by the STX France yard. The luminaire has to be installed in one of the most suggestive and exclusive room of the big cruise vessel, the AFT Lounge Carousel, in which every evening there would be the world-class entertainment from Cirque du Soleil.

ENSTO accepted the mission. Here’s how it went.

"MSC Meraviglia can be considered one of the first cruise ships to feature an entertainment lounge built specifically for the Cirque du Soleil. The lounge is an intimate place, hosting more than 413 guests for each performance. The name Carousel was chosen to convey the combined spirit of MSC Cruises’s unforgettable experiences and Cirque du Soleil’s unique performances, in order to evoke joyful and magical emotions….  Music, colors, lights and movements all combined in a breath-taking and unique experience is the most captivating thing in a carousel"


Chandelier Shape

Flower's corolla composed by 14 petals made by 54 edge lighting panels.

Illuminating surface

74 square meters.

Total outline

>400 meters.


RGBW Edge Lighting (10mm laser-engraved PMMA).

Number of led sources

96.000 (RGBW mid power LED).

Total installed power


Mode of installation

Suspended to the technical ceiling grid.

Electronic Controller

54 four channel drivers with DMX 512 interface.

NavStation 4.0 puts all critical voyage information in one place- at the fingertips of navigators. The new Passage Planning module makes it possible to effortlessly create required documentation while planning voyages. Image courtesy of NAVTOR 2017

There is not creativity without collaboration. Creativity comes from the MSC light designers’ mind, whom took inspiration from nature by drawing multiform stylized petals suspended from the technical ceiling grids of the Lounge designed for the performances staged by the Cirque du Soleil. In a few months time ENSTO made their vision come true. Structural design and optoelectronic engineering skills, mixed with essential passion for their own work, led Ensto Marine engineers to design, develop, build and install a 74 square meter light emitting surface suspended at 7 meters height.

Although being able to produce more than 4 billion colour shades precisely, controlled through 216 electronic channels connected via DMX 512 protocol, the luminaire has the amazing and peculiar feature once turned it off, of being almost invisible. Its secret is very simple and it is contained in laser-engraving algorithm of PMMA sheets for EDGE LIGHTING combined with matt pure black back panel. When LED power is turned off during Cirque du Soleil's performance, the black chandelier background replaces PMMA light emission by fading out the huge geometries against the grating background.

Amongst other technical details, the panels have required an installation and on-board commissioning which has lasted more than a month. ENSTO’s engineers and installer technicians have invested substantial resources to ensure the highest level of safety, both for the passengers and for maintenance staff on-board. In particular, ENSTO’s specialists have worked hard to ensure and maintain structural stiffness and appropriate petals' space alignment and in every reasonably sailing trim.

The success of a project never comes coincidentally. Carousel Lounge chandelier is the perfect synthesis of the program of ongoing development between the design team of MSC and ENSTO, which took place from the beginning of the conceptual model and, subsequently, to the choice of the right technology and the continued attention to the design review in order to fulfil the stringent requirements of on board installation. 

By rising to a new challenge, ENSTO provides MSC with all experience and passion in the naval business to make the final aesthetic and functional result such as to keep the most demanding guests of the MSC Meraviglia astonished.

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