Cruise interiors expert Petu Kummala

Petu Kummala’s love for design didn’t begin when he started out on his career back in 1993; ever since he was a child, Kummala has been fascinated by designing and customizing objects, whether that be a piece of art, his bike helmet, or even a car. Now, Kummala holds the prestigious role of senior director of interior design & architecture at world-famous Carnival Cruise Line.

Speaking at the Cruise Ship Interiors Conference this June, Kummala will be sharing just some of the expertise he’s gathered throughout his more than 25-year time in the industry. In anticipation of the launch event, we sat down to find out what he had to share with the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo team.

Thanks for speaking with the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo team today! Tell us about your current role and what it entails on a day-to-day basis?

As senior director of design & architecture at Carnival Cruise Line, my role is to head up our internal design department on newbuild and refurbishment projects and to also oversee the overall design of our newbuild vessels. We design some spaces internally but also collaborate with external designers, whom I work closely with, and oversee all of these projects.

What inspired you to venture into the marine industry?

I started on the shipyard side of the industry after studying naval architecture in Finland. I’ve always had a love for the ocean which is what drew me into the field. From there, over the past few decades, one thing led to another. I went from a small town in Finland to Miami and ultimately to Carnival Cruise Line, where I work now.

Can you tell us about any key opportunities or challenges faced by the cruise ship interiors industry at present?

The high demand for ships and the number of ships under construction are two concepts that present both challenges and opportunities. There’s opportunity in that there is a lot of demand for design and designers, but the challenge is that there is just so much needed. That being said, the current situation is definitely a good problem to have.

Tell us about a recent project that was particularly challenging, interesting or unique in some way.

Carnival’s Mardi Gras was and is all of those terms. She is currently under construction in Turku, Finland and set to debut in late summer 2020. Mardi Gras is the flagship of a completely new ship class for us, so we had to start with a blank sheet of paper. This means that we have had the freedom to really explore and develop our thoughts and ideas meaning there has been a lot of shifting, problem-solving, moving around areas, trying new things, etc. It is a challenging, but extremely exciting, time for us.

This type of show is filling a void in our industry, so we’re wishing all the best to all of those involved. I’m personally hoping for a great turnout as well as a good, fun and productive show.

In the cruise interiors industry, forecasting trends for the years ahead is vital to stay on top of the game. What trends are you expecting to emerge in the next few years? This could be anything from new lighting solutions to new materials or sustainable solutions and beyond!

As far as lighting, LED is obviously here to stay. Although it may not be new anymore, it still gives us a lot of opportunities thanks to its small size and other features. Sustainability is continuing to play an important role in our decisions regarding newbuilds and refurbs. When selecting materials, we try to be as green as possible. In general, the industry is becoming more and more innovative and elevated which is great for us and brings in more opportunities. Additionally, millennials are becoming a more prominent demographic in the industry, which has encouraged us to create some new opportunities on board that cater to that age group. We are constantly exploring new materials and solutions to create unique experiences for our guests as well.

Using just three words, how would you describe the current state of the cruise interiors industry?

Busy, exciting, innovative.

Come June, you’ll be speaking in the Cruise Ship Interiors Conference. Without giving too much away, can you tell us what we might expect from your session?

Expect the unexpected. There are many new projects in the works for Carnival Cruise Line, so I am confident we’ll have an interesting and exciting conversation.

Finally, we have to ask, what are you most looking forward to at the inaugural Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami?

This type of show is filling a void in our industry, so we’re wishing all the best to all of those involved. I’m personally hoping for a great turnout as well as a good, fun and productive show.