Luxury interior design expert Marco De Jorio

De Jorio Design is a leading company in the creation and supply of top-end luxury interior design. Renowned for its boundary-pushing designs, the team of designers at De Jorio Design has been internationally acclaimed, winning multiple awards. 

In addition to the brand’s exhibit at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, president & CEO, Marco de Jorio, will be speaking at the Cruise Ship Interiors Conference in the session, ‘Designing for Passenger Flow’.

Prior to Marco’s session, we caught up with the design mastermind to understand more about the company’s rich journey…

Hi Marco. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today and share some of your valuable insights. You’ve had quite the career so far, going from the family business to founding your very own design studio back in 2000. What got you into luxury interior design in the first place? Was it a natural path for you given your family heritage or did it take some getting used to?

Entering into design has been highly natural for me since childhood. Since I was 5 or 6 years old I spent most of my time drawing and painting on every surface, (curtains and carpets weren’t even safe…), and I looked at the physical world with incessant curiosity and with an introspective and analytical eye.

As a child, I would draw ships, planes, cars, and tanks with every possible detail; it was my passion. The privilege of being able to exercise my passions in my father’s studio – a place that offered a lot of beautiful ship plans, building projects, and materials for interiors – has certainly allowed me to practice my creativity and quickly create a very close relationship with the world of interior design.

Despite moving on from the family business of Studio De Jorio, your new studio, De Jorio Design, remained a family venture founded alongside your father Giuseppe and brother Vittorio. Does working as a family impact or influence the design process at all?

In truth each of us had always had a specific role in the company, so we never found ourselves in conflict. Harmony in the workplace is essential in order to develop successful creative projects.

After a long and brilliant career as a civil, naval and yacht architect, my father tended to deal less with the design and more with management and administration, and my brother Vittorio has fantastic coordination skills, (his contribution to the management of the building drawings when working with Fincantieri was remarkable). My role tended to relate to any creative aspects of the project, from conception to execution. Later on, once I’d gained more experience, I began to take control of the full management of the projects.

Since 2000, along with the conception of De Jorio Design International, I have taken over the management of the cruise ship and yacht projects. Since 2016 I have held the position of CEO.

When did you begin providing luxury interior design to the cruise market? And what inspired that decision?

My first participation with cruise ships dates back to “Enrico C” for Costa Cruises in 1990, when I was in charge of the shopping gallery, the main lounge, and the top deck pool, with elegant design inspired by Art Nouveau atmospheres. With such complexity, (owing to a stylistic choice provided by the owners), and considering my particular ability to deal with any artistic theme to achieve winning design concepts, I took on the task of facing this design challenge. Since that day I have not ceased to take part in the design of cruise ships, cruise ferries, and yachts.

In the late 80s, ships around 75.000 GT were considered giants. Today, these would be considered small ships. Now we are able to design a real floating city.

You’ve been operating in the cruise interiors industry for some time now. How, if at all, has it changed since you started out?

Everything has changed incredibly. The first change I witnessed was the size of ships. In the late 80s, ships around 75.000 GT were considered giants. Today, these would be considered small ships. Now we are able to design a real floating city.

Additionally, there has been a profound change in the idea of safety onboard, which is of course, strongly influential in the design process. The terms of safety are always changing due to the ever-increasing size of builds and due to the technological changes in shipbuilding, (think of LNG and next generation of fuel cells). 

Another key change has been the increased globalization of the tourism market, with the prospect of a revolution on the horizon and the increasingly widespread democratization of tourism with the introduction of more low-cost cruises. Just think of the contribution that the development of the Chinese market can provide to the world cruise business. Plus, there has been a greater influence of marketing in the choice of different destinations and services onboard.

De Jorio Design has been praised for reversing what you’ve referred to as the “Las Vegas style” design on cruise ships, placing more of an emphasis on contemporary and elegant design than ever before. What differentiates this so-called “Las Vegas style” from the interiors you provide? How could we tell that a public space onboard a cruise ship has been designed by none other than De Jorio Design International?

De Jorio’s design ethos is “anti-Las Vegas” by definition because Italian taste is expressed through formal elegance and refined details. “Las Vegas style” is shocking and boring to me, whereas Italian design is emotional and never tires. After all, the cruise experience needs to be memorable.

Nevertheless, it must be said that all the most recent cruise builds have abandoned the “Las Vegas style” and finally married the concept of human space with more sophisticated, simple, and elegant design.

If you want to find an element that distinguishes our signature contemporary design, this can be recognized in the superior attention to detail, in the search for perfect harmony between form and materials, and in the quality treatment of the interiors of any space of the ship. We strive to create interiors without interruption of that positive mood, which is fundamental to give the passenger the feeling of always being in their ideal place for a memorable vacation.

You’ve described your design as being dedicated to “pleasure, fun, and luxury”, but how would you describe the cruise interiors industry in just three words?

The only industry capable of ensuring pleasure, fun, and luxury.

For the first time in the history of the cruise industry, interior design is valued with all the dignity and importance it deserves.

Finally, as an Advisory Board Member for Cruise Ship Interiors Expo, we’ve been lucky enough to benefit from some of your expertize. What are you looking forward to at the inaugural event?

For the first time in the history of the cruise industry, interior design is valued with all the dignity and importance it deserves.

From this event, I expect it will finally be acknowledged that interior design is fundamental to the success of cruises and is the foundation for obtaining a positive and psychological experience for the passenger; a true “emotional destination”.

Whatever the quality of the service onboard, for better or for worse, attractiveness and the beauty of design is the only certainty and constant of a ship. Thousands of reviews made by passengers witness that truth every day.

No doubt that you, the organizers of the event, have all our approval for having created this important opportunity, which has been expected for many years, and which can finally offer architects and designers the necessary spotlight.