Architects of the High Seas: Making Each Cruise Experience Better Through Design
Based in Miami, Studio DADO—an innovative design house that specializes in creating unique interior spaces for the cruise and hospitality industry—is the heart- and brainchild of four creative talents, each with their own distinct sense of style, raw energy, industry knowledge, and years of experience.
FOR FOUNDING PARTNERS GREG WALTON, YOHANDEL RUIZ, JAVIER CALLE, AND JORGE MESA, STUDIO DADO IS A ZONE OF CREATIVITY WHERE THEY PRACTICE THEIR PASSION: DESIGNING WELCOMING SPACES THAT INTEGRATE FUNCTIONALITY WITH VISUAL AND TEXTURAL MAGIC, FOR THEIR CRUISE LINE AND HOSPITALITY CLIENTS.
When the four talents got together to open the studio in 2016, they had one mantra—to design unique spaces that didn’t just push the envelope but ripped it apart. But that mantra had a strong caveat: pushing the design envelope could never come at the cost of ignoring safety standards and the strict guidelines that define design requirements within cruise line and hospitality industries.
Cruising to success, from left, Greg Walton, Yohandel Ruiz, Javier Calle and Jorge Mesa, founding partners of Miami-based design firm, Studio Dado. Specializing in creating memorable interior spaces for the cruise and hospitality industry, the four design professionals are a veritable treasure trove of deep experience, unlimited passion and raw talent.
As interior designers for cruise ships, Studio Dado (which means dice in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian) is constantly grappling with the challenges of designing around non-negotiable restrictions that are related to and ensure the safety of passengers and crew. That’s where the combined experience of the principals comes into play. They know the tricks of the trade and are constantly innovating to accommodate new demands of their clients.
“Our design ethos remains clear,” says Greg Walton. “Every space, like every human being, has a story to tell. And, as designers at Studio DADO, we use our vast life experiences gleaned from exploring the far corners of the earth to indulging in music, art, and fashion—to create spaces that tell their tales and leave their mark. But we are always cognizant of industry standards, and our years of experience and practice ensures strict adherence.”
Since its inception nearly two years ago, Studio DADO has grown by leaps and bounds. From four founding partners, the studio now has 14 designers. While each designer brings their own strengths and perspectives to the design process, the one thing they have in common is their drive for excellence and exclusivity.
“No Dado-designed space is ever duplicated. We don’t do template-style design,” says Yohandel Ruiz. “As we obsess over every miniscule detail, we use our intuitive knowledge to combine elements of beauty and function that turn the space into an immersive experience for our guests.”
That obsession with crucial detail is a hallmark of this newly emergent design studio and its founding partners, who bring their years of learning to the table and are an intrinsic part of the design process. They oversee all aspects of work, from doing foundational research, theoretical framing of client requirements to the actual drafting of design stories.
The focus on quality, originality of thought and execution, and attention to detail is laser-sharp. So whether they are designing a world-class restaurant, comfortable staterooms aboard a luxury liner, decadent spas, or an entire concept of interior design, Studio DADO is setting new standards of excellence.
“Our USP is design that is unique, personal and experiential. We take the client’s design brief and transform it into spaces that are playful, elegant, and have presence,” says Javier Calle.
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The Dado designers are constantly learning about new design trends, emerging technology, and changing regulations. Staying ahead of the curve, and indeed leading it, is key for the company.
“Design trends much like fashion trends are ever-changing. We are experts at combining classic lines and instinctive movement flows with the sensuousness of new materials and the cutting-edge of technology. Our designed spaces are a seamless experience of luxury and comfort, with just that extra spice of unexpected, thoughtful touches,” says Jorge Mesa.
One such outstanding project is the Norwegian Cruise Line’s restaurant on the Norwegian Bliss, Ocean Blue. A cosmopolitan, Pacific Northwest-inspired culinary experience, the restaurant is a poster child of Studio Dado’s design disruption. Spanning 1950 square feet, with seating capacity for 94 guests, Ocean Blue became the canvas upon which Dado designers used sea-kissed symbolism by highlighting actual elements of water instead of traditional nautical design. The result: instant success. The restaurant layout and décor dazzled the clients and elicited high praise from the guests. Additionally, the design impressed the staff—they know and use every nook and cranny of the restaurant—who found that the space made their work easy and seamless.
At Studio Dado, Ocean Blue defines success: a design solution that meets the client’s expectations, is experientially spectacular, and is always anchored by industry safety and operational standards.
From the classically elegant to the edgy and eclectic, the talented designers are brimming with concepts that engage and seduce. The new kids on the design block are making waves and causing industry insiders to take notice. A powerhouse of talent, strong work ethics and sense of frolic, Studio DADO has rolled the dice and have come up winners.