Fred Van Tunen is the co-founder of WARA PFE B.V. which provides concept supporting artwork to the hospitality industry. Known for their custom visuals, together with designers and hotel owners they realize creative art concepts.
Hi Fred, thanks for talking with the CSIE team today! Let’s discuss your current role and key responsibilities as co-founder of WARA.
As co-founder and sales manager I am responsible for potential new and existing clients. It’s my role to keep in touch with them about new developments, trends, and brands. In this day and age that we follow everything on Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media. If needed, I advise clients and designers about materials and make sure we stick to the concept while staying within the budget. My role is in between designers, cost controllers, our own studio artists, and art buyers.
What inspired you to start WARA?
I have always been drawn to the hospitality market. I am fascinated by the urge people have to travel all over the world and experience different cultures; it interests me how they decide to make those journeys. During the 30 years that we have had our business we have been travelling around the world, have worked at many hotels with many different styles, all affected by the local feel and touch. And it’s fun, either to source or design the fitting artwork solutions for each particular project, room/cabin or public area. Onshore or offshore!
“I am equally proud of [all our projects]. Each project has its own story; I’ll write a book about it when I retire.”
Is there a project you’re particularly proud of? If so, why?
We’re proud of all the projects we’ve done. Sometimes because of the perfect match with the client or because the location was breathtaking. High-quality volume framing for Atlantis at the Palm, Dubai, the custom made mirrors for Waldorf Astoria or working for a 3-star hotel with that personal contact with the owners. I am equally proud of them all. Each project has its own story; I’ll write a book about it when I retire.
What do you need to consider when it comes to the design process?
Each project is unique and needs its own approach. When clients, especially designers, have done most of the storytelling up front, our WARA studio artists will follow their concept by developing concept supporting images. We are up to date when it comes to advising about new techniques. We advise which materials to use for framing but also for printing, for example printing on paper, dibond, (plexi)glass, canvas or wallpaper.
For the cruise industry, IMO safety certificates are most important and we strictly will follow the rules considering the use of several materials. Value engineering is an important aspect of our way of working; without compromising the designers look and feel, we’re able to work within budget by sourcing for the right materials. Knowing exactly what the budgets are, greatly helps us in offering the best advice possible.
Can you tell us about any key opportunities or challenges your company faces right now?
Communication is the key challenge! Everybody is so busy, that there isn’t much time to even consider a meeting with potential new suppliers. We’ve noticed that for the past months; the market is exploding and too much is on the plate of few people. So we advise them to talk with us, as we are able to relieve them of this pressure. We will be happy to assist them, to work in line with and for them.
The world is the opportunity! More and more people are travelling and are eager to experience different cultures; learn about the architecture and history of both the old and the new world. We’re ready to participate and be a part of that. And since the cruise industry proves itself as the most relaxing, luxurious way to experience these different worlds; we would be happy to be a small modest part of it.
“We definitely are looking forward to being part of this new but important and interesting venue!”
What cruise interior design trends do you expect to see in the next year or so?
Besides the graphic design trends like ‘colourful eclectic’ and ‘biophilic green’, there is only one thing everybody wants; storytelling. A good design can help your story deliver an emotional punch for the guests. Only the story is what we need to help you to realize decorations!
Thanks for talking with us today, Fred. Finally, who are you looking to meet and what do you hope to achieve at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami?
The right people! But I understand that they are going to be there. We hope to get more information during the expo, to learn how and in which direction this industry is moving. We hope to show the decision-makers the possibilities we have to offer and to find a way to work together with them as reliable partner/supplier. We definitely are looking forward to being part of this new but important and interesting venue! You are all more than welcome to pay us a visit at booth #548, which we share with other DHSA members.