Kelly Hoppen: From Land to Sea
Interior designer, product designer, author, and TV personality Kelly Hoppen MBE has conquered numerous industries with ease. Now, she has turned her head to the cruise industry, focusing her efforts on new projects including Celebrity Cruises’ highly anticipated Celebrity Edge, which sailed her maiden voyage in December. But how does a traditional interior designer transition from land to sea? Read on to follow Hoppen’s journey from aspiring young designer, to cross-industry entrepreneur and, now, cruise interiors designer…
Boasting more than 40 years of experience in the design industry, Kelly Hoppen is a celebrity figure in the world of interior design – especially in the UK, where she has spent most of her career and built a brand that has firmly cemented her as a household name.
Many may know Hoppen from her two-year stint as a ‘Dragon’ on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den, but it’s her passion and relentless hard work for design that has placed her at the forefront of her industry. At just 16 years old, Hoppen’s career began when she was commissioned to design a family friend’s kitchen. Since then, Hoppen has won multiple awards, attained celebrity status, and caught the attention of numerous and diverse clients seeking her expertise.
Hoppen’s design style is easily recognizable – a subtle, coordinated fusion of East meets West, clean lines and neutral tones, and, above all, charming warmth and sumptuous opulence. The Hoppen stamp has been attached to homes, yachts, and jets of private clients around the world. More recently, however, Hoppen has turned her eye to commercial projects, from hotels and bars to offices and residential blocks. From here, moving into the marine market was a natural step for Hoppen, who has since lent her expertise to one of the most innovative cruise projects to date.
Delivered in the fall of 2018, Celebrity Edge made quite an impression on the cruise industry, garnering a great deal of attention from the press for innovations such as the ‘Magic Carpet’, a cantilevered moving platform that transforms into different venues depending on which deck it’s stationed at. Hoppen’s work was featured heavily throughout Celebrity Cruises’ first Edge-class ship, with her signature style working in tandem with the line’s existing image. One of Hoppen’s key contributions to Celebrity Edge was the cabins’ ‘infinite verandas’, which allow guests to blur the line between balcony and living room at the touch of a button. While working on Celebrity Edge, Hoppen was also responsible for the cabin design, opting for a ‘home away from home’ environment with the intention of creating a more timeless aesthetic, “like a Rolls-Royce”, as Hoppen said.
Hoppen may be a master of her chosen fields but designing cruise interiors is quite different to working on land-based hospitality projects. While Hoppen’s fresh perspective breathed even more life into Celebrity Edge, there were still challenges to overcome. Speaking to UK publication The Telegraph in 2017, Hoppen commented, “I took the same approach one would have taken to designing a hotel room, but there were lots of challenges to factor around the interiors, in terms of the weight of the materials, whether they be marble or ceramic, the types of fabrics that can be used and the layering of textures, as well as the acoustics of the space.” While having to adhere to stringent weight requirements is commonplace for design studios operating in the marine sector, these restrictions were new to Hoppen, but presented an appealing challenge all the same. Having operated in the design sector for so long, Hoppen gladly welcomed a new challenge, stating, “One of the main reasons I was drawn to this project was the challenge of doing something that’s never been done before, which, given that I’ve been doing interior design for 41 years, is hugely attractive.”
After the success of her work on Celebrity Edge, Hoppen’s expertise was once again lent to Celebrity Cruises as part of its fleet-wide Celebrity Revolution enhancement program. Celebrity Summit recently saw a multimillion-dollar modernization as part of the $500 million initiative to update the line’s ships, under which Hoppen designed a new and exclusive open-air hideaway. The Retreat Sundeck will be open exclusively to suite guests and features a hot tub, cabanas, sun lounge, specially selected artwork, and more. In addition to the suite-exclusive hideaway, Hoppen transformed Michael’s Club into The Retreat Lounge, offering complimentary beverages, gourmet snacks, and concierge service to the ship’s suite-class guests on a 24/7 basis.
Hoppen may not have any cruise projects on the cards for the time being, (rumour has it her eyes have been turned by the yacht market), but after the success of her work on Celebrity Edge one thing’s for sure: it’s unlikely this is the last we’ll see of Hoppen in the cruise industry.