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Spanish naval design and architecture firm Oliver Design presents six of its iconic ship designs for international clients at Navalia

The six vessels encompass a wide range of designs (two ferries, two cruisers and two training vessels), but they are all iconic projects on an international scale and will set the trend in their respective sectors.

OLIVER DESIGN, a naval design and architecture firm based in Getxo (Bizkaia, Spain), is presenting a selection of some of its most important projects of the last year at the Navalia trade fair. They include some that are already completed and others that are still at design phase.


One of the most striking projects in which the Spanish firm is currently involved is the “Scenic Eclipse”, a pioneering cruiser currently under construction in Croatia, which is due to come into operation in 2018. The vessel –which is unique in its field– redefines the very concept of the cruise ships, offering passengers all the opulence of a first class cruise combined with a chance to discover almost virgin landscapes and extreme natural environments, including the Arctic and Antarctic coasts and even the seabed.

Competing with specialist firms from around the world, OLIVER DESIGN was awarded the contract by the Australian cruiser operator Scenic Cruises. It has developed the architectural design and exterior styling of the 16,500-tonne super-luxury cruiser in mega-yacht format, which will include the latest innovations in naval design and technology. The vessel will have a length of 165-metres (541 ft) and a beam of 22 metres (72 ft).. Although intended for an exclusive clientele (carrying 228 passengers in 114 luxury suites), the ship will be adapted to withstand the most demanding conditions – storms, extreme temperatures, ice, etc.

Some of the most significant and complex features in OLIVER DESIGN’s architectural design include: a heliport and two hangars for helicopters, an “outdoor/indoor” swimming pool with a retractable roof and a spa on the stern of one of the decks, an internal garage for kayaks, six Zodiacs and a small submarine, a 240-seat theatre, six large restaurants and the stunning design of the vessel's exterior.


Another of the firm’s more singular designs in the large cruiser sector –an area in which OLIVER DESIGN has proven experience– involved the architecture of the “Ecoship”. The vessel, which is being developed by Japanese NGO Peace Boat, is intended to be the world's most sustainable transatlantic cruise ship. The 55,000-tonne ship, with capacity for a thousand passengers, will come into operation in 2020. The exterior design takes its inspiration from the outline of a whale. One of the most exciting features consists of 10 large retractable sails on the upper deck developed in cooperation with Detlev Loell, an expert German designer on this field, housing solar panels which will provide power for the ship.

With its hybrid engines, wind turbines, mechanisms for optimising energy efficiency and an architecture based on the concept of biophilia –optimising the use of water, air and natural light– the ship is intended to set the trend for the shipbuilding of the future. Technical staff at OLIVER DESIGN will be working in close contact with a select international team comprising 30 eco-technology and shipbuilding engineers, scientists and theorists, to shape the vessel. The purpose is to create a ship that will be a flagship of sustainability not only for the cruise liner industry, but for shipping more generally.


With its design for the sail training ships of the navies of Peru and Indonesia (the former is about to enter service and the second is under construction in Vigo), OLIVER DESIGN has returned to its origins, working on classic sailing ships in collaboration with Celaya Shipyards where some of the world's most iconic training vessels were built. Oliver Design was also involved in the recent refitting of the Spanish navy's training vessel, the “Juan Sebastián Elcano”.

The Peruvian “Unión” is a four-masted frigate with a length of 99-metre (325 ft.) and a beam of 13.5 m (443 ft.), making it the second largest active sailing vessel in the world. It has a total sail surface of 3,400 m2 (37,000 sq ft) and is designed for a crew of 250. Built in the Peruvian shipyard Sima, OLIVER DESIGN's involvement in the project included the interior design and development of the accommodation project. OLIVER DESIGN has worked closely with engineering firm CYPSA, which was in charge of the overall design of the ship. Construction began in 2012 and the vessel was launched in December 2014. It is due to enter service shortly.

The “Kri Bima Suci” –named after the mythological being featured on the ship’s figurehead - will replace the “Dewaruci” as the Indonesian navy’s cadet training ship. The vessel will combine the latest technology with a classic design and will have a total sail surface of 3,350 square metres (36,000 sq ft.). With its large hull (110 metres (361 ft) by 12 metres (39 ft)), and a draft of 5.5 metres (18 ft.), it will have capacity for a crew of 200, of whom around 120 will be cadets undergoing training. OLIVER DESIGN has taken charge of the architectural design and turnkey fitting-out of the vessel, currently being built at the Freire Shipyards in Vigo, at an estimated cost of €63 million. The vessel is due to be handed over in 2017.


The firm’s most recent project to come into service is the “Texelstroom” ferry, built by the La Naval shipyard in Sestao for Dutch shipowner TESO. OLIVER DESIGN was in charge of fitting out the interior of the vessel, which entered service very recently. The project posed a real challenge for the Spanish firm, given the need to adapt the state-of-the-art design develop by Dutch firm Vripack to the strict constraints of maritime regulations.

The “Texelstroom” is unique in many ways: its symmetrical double-ended design, its use of compressed natural gas and solar panels to make it more energy efficient, and the fact that it is the first vessel of its kind to be built at La Naval.

OLIVER DESIGN was commissioned to fit out the vessel to a unique design. It has succeeded in meeting strict maritime transport safety regulations while at the same time offering a tough, durable finish for a vessel capable of carrying 1,750 passengers and making several runs a day. The ‘Texelstroom"’ is designed for continuous, very heavy passenger and vehicle transport between the Dutch port of Den Helder and Texel, the largest of the Frisian islands. The route serviced is little over two nautical miles, and the ferry will be able to make the return trip in barely an hour.


The last of the key designs OLIVER DESIGN is presenting at Navalia is for an as-yet unnamed vessel, which will also include a range of singular features. The large ferry for the Balearia line will be an innovative vessel and the first in its class to be powered by LNG and solar energy. It will be built at the La Naval shipyard in Sestao.

With a cost of €175 million, the vessel will begin operating on lines serving the Balearic Islands from 2019. With a length of 232.2 metres (762 ft) and a beam of 30.4 metres (100 feet), it will be one of the largest ferries in the world. It will also be the first passenger ferry operating in the Mediterranean to be driven by liquefied natural gas. The ferry will be fitted with three dual engines, which can be used with natural gas or liquid fuel, cutting CO2 emissions by over 40% and offering a speed of up to 23 knots. The vessel is designed to be a 'smart ship', where passengers can avail of location systems, an audio-visual platform, information on onboard entertainment and restaurant services, and shipping and weather information over electronic devices.

OLIVER DESIGN specialises in naval design and architecture. It was founded in 1990 by naval engineer Jaime Oliver and offers a wide range of services for shipyards and ship owners, including concept design, outline, architectural design, interior design, construction drawings, fitting-out and comprehensive site management and supervision. Oliver Design has won many international prizes, including several Shippax Awards for naval design.

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