Creators of custom-designed carpets and Cradle to Cradle certified collections, Dansk Wilton is making waves in the cruise interiors industry with its innovative, flexible, and sustainable carpet solutions. Ahead of this year’s Cruise Ship Interiors Expo event in Miami, where Dansk Wilton will be exhibiting, we caught up with Export Manager, Mads Agerholm to hear what he had to say about the company’s latest projects and find out what he expects from the inaugural event.
Hi Mads. Thanks for speaking with the Cruise Ship Interiors Expo team today. Can you begin by telling us a bit about your current role and key responsibilities within Dansk Wilton?
As Export Manager, I am responsible for all sale activities in the US, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the UK; That means I have daily contact with ship owners, architects, shipyards, and turnkey contractors.
What inspired you to join Dansk Wilton and start supplying to the marine market?
In my opinion, the industry is very exciting, and I am amazed by the willingness to make the impossible possible! Cruise vessels are being completely refurbished with new carpets, wall coverings, and ceilings in just two weeks. Furthermore, restaurants are rebuilt with new designs at the same time. This is only possible because every single employee and partner is structured and dedicated to their work and responsibilities. And the organization is absolutely key. On land-based projects, it would never be possible to refurbish a hotel in two weeks but it seems like everything is possible onboard a cruise ship.
The industry is very exciting, and I am amazed by the willingness to make the impossible possible!
Can you tell us about a project that was particularly interesting or challenging for you?
I have participated in many interesting projects during the last few years, but one project is very special to me and the entire industry. The Regent Explorer build in 2015 was really a one of a kind project at that time. The approach to this project among both shipowner and architects was to create a cruise vessel second to none. Therefore, quality and high-end design solutions had an extremely high priority. For all cabins and suites, our newly launched DW Twist carpet was used and all aspects are taken into consideration. For example, we installed the carpets on top of a separate underlay to make sure the guests had a feeling as if they were walking on a cloud.
Dansk Wilton prides itself on providing custom carpet solutions to the hospitality industry. Are there any special requirements you need to take into account when it comes to supplying to cruise ships?
You need to perform very well in all aspects, from design development to carpet installation, and focus on the details. There is always a cheaper alternative to your own products, so quality in all aspects is essential. The design needs to be practical, the installation plan needs to be understandable, and the labelling of the rolls needs to contain the correct information.
You’ve been with Dansk Wilton for more than 10 years now. What changes, if any, have you seen in the industry over that time period?
The main difference is the size of our customers. 10 years ago, we had a lot of small customers; Shipowners, who operated a few ships in different segments, and shipyards that built small and medium-sized vessels. Now there are only a few, large ship owners left, and their size is significantly larger. The larger organizations are driven more professionally and cost-efficiently, and the competition is much harder. Further to this, the projects are getting bigger and bigger due to the size of the vessels. That forces all carpet suppliers to expand heavily to be able to supply much higher quantities within a short period of time.
Are there any key opportunities or challenges your company faces at present?
The cruise industry is booming at the moment and every week new projects are announced. Therefore, the demand for carpets for this end-use is extremely high. As a side effect of this tendency, many old vessels need to be refurbished or even redesigned to make sure they are still attractive for potential cruise guests. Also, the market for expedition cruises is catching up. Previously old commercial ships were redesigned and used for expedition cruises. Now, the demand for this type of vacation has grown significantly and new operators have entered the market.
Finally, there is an exhibition focusing on interior and design for the cruise industry!
The green motion is gaining more and more momentum, especially in the cruise industry. What role is Dansk Wilton playing within this important movement towards sustainability?
Consideration for the environment and social responsibility is nothing new for Dansk Wilton. All production is located in Denmark, so they are natural elements in the way we run our business. We have all activities in house, so we have maximum control over the quality we deliver and the way we affect the world around us. Environmental thinking is fundamental in all production processes and is part of our good behaviour towards people and the environment. We have reduced our CO2 footprint, and the energy for our production comes from renewable sources (wind energy). We ensure good working conditions for our employees and take social responsibility in our local area. Our goal-oriented efforts to achieve sustainability are divided into smaller, specific milestones. Thus, we are constantly taking a step in the right direction. And, of course, we are very proud to present the first Cradle to Cradle certified tufted carpet. Our Colortec RE:THINK is our contribution to a more sustainable industry.
In three words, how would you describe the industry in 2019?
Challenging, exciting, diversified.
Thanks for speaking with us today. Finally, who are you looking to meet and what do you hope to achieve at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Miami?
I am looking forward to meeting with people from the entire interiors industry and to seeing the trends in the market. Finally, there is an exhibition focusing on interior and design for the cruise industry!