When we heard that Bolidt were offering virtual tours of their famous Bolidt  Innovation Center we jumped at the chance. A member of the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America team had already had the chance to visit the Bolidt Innovation Center on its opening, and was blown away, so we knew it was something special to see. But could a virtual tour live up to the visual impact of seeing the Bolidt Innovation Center in person? In short – absolutely!

We joined Bolidt in their Bolidt Innovation Center via Starleaf, an easy-to-use app that allows multiple participants to be on the same video call together. Lisa was our tour guide of the day. She usually leads visitor tours around the center in person. Jacco van Overbeek, Director Maritime Division of Bolidt, was also on hand to give us a little extra insider information throughout. With one camera trained on Lisa and a second camera showcasing the center, virtual visitors don’t miss out on anything.

The tour begins

Bolidt Brings Innovation to Your Doorstep | Cruise Ship Expo America 2020
Bolidt’s stunning roof floor, which showcases the history of their work

The tour kicked off with a presentation geared at familiarising people with Bolidt’s expertise, daughter companies and some of their greatest hits. Anyone who doesn’t know about Bolidt can learn not only about their maritime work – of which there is an impressive amount of high calibre – but also their cross-discipline work on museums, bridges, hospitals, schools and many other. Bolidt makes? it clear that they utilise every scrap of knowledge they pick up working across so many industries and apply it across all their products, cross fertilising their knowledge base and ensuring no new information goes to waste.

Lisa starts her tour by explaining how the idea for the Bolidt Innovation Center was born. The stories of previous projects and Bolidt’s ethic and vision were built into the dna of the project, making it not only a record of what has gone before but a creative hot house designed to let new ideas flourish. We see this on the tour when we move into the exhibit floor, which is outfitted with colourful stands that showcase Bolidt’s drivers – hygiene, safety, sustainability, design, energy and data. The room itself is partially shrouded in curtains that appear to be clad in hundreds of thousands of stars. Bolidt let us into the secret of how this is done – tiny holes cut into the fabric – and encourage us to try it on our curtains at home. Who knows, we may well end up attempting to create the Bolidt Innovation Center at home during lockdown…

Bolidt creates the whole story

Bolidt pride themselves on being a company that does everything themselves, from research and development to production to application. They facilitate their customers and potential customers in having the same hands-on approach. The tour takes us to the stunning R&D area in the Center, where experts are working on new developments. But Designers and architects can also interact with the Bolidt material. Customers can even create their own samples, engineering the perfect material to realise their design vision.

As the tour takes us upstairs we get a glimpse at the future ‘living art’ wall. When customers create their samples, Bolidt will pour the excess material into a stunning structure built into the side of the Center’s staircase. The material will run down through the linear and curving lines, adding colour and texture. As customers continually visit and create, their designs will be added to the design DNA of Bolidt’s story.

Taking the tour to the next level

Bolidt Brings Innovation to Your Doorstep | Cruise Ship Expo America 2020
A glimpse inside the inspiring Bolidt Innovation Center

Upstairs we see the impressive sample wall. Again, the level of interactivity is impressive. Customers can pick the sample they like from the sample wall, remove the sample, handle it and input the sample’s code into Bolidt’s system. This will call up all of the sample’s properties and every project that this material has been used on, so customers can get a true understanding of the material’s potential and what it has already achieved. Lisa takes us out the door and onto the roof to one of the many visual highlights of the tour.

The roof garden floor comprises of many different types of flooring and decking, from a mini running track marking Bolidt’s first venture to the helipad – marked with a ‘B’ to prevent helicopter pilots mistaking it for a place to land. Lisa informs us that one of the true joys of the Bolidt Innovation Center is the location – that during times with freer movement guests can travel down the adjacent river from Rotterdam to see the Bolidt Innovation Center gleaming. The tour has been immersive but that’s one moment we certainly wished we were seeing for ourselves!

Get in touch to take a virtual tour around Bolidt’s Innovation Center here. We encourage any architects, designers or anyone with an interest to attend the tour and be inspired!

Want to stay up to date with the latest innovations in cruise interiors? Learn more about Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America here.