YSA Design re-imagines heritage cruising for ‘reborn’ Trollfjord


Re-imagined interior spaces from YSA Design on a luxury Hurtigruten ship are turning heads all along the Norwegian coast, after a substantial upgrade that meets expectations for future sustainability while paying homage to the owner’s 130-year heritage of stylish cruising.

In June, Trollfjord began making calls along the ‘Svalbard Express’ route that Hurtigruten sustained from 1968 to 1982 as a vital passenger and mail-boat link to the Svalbard archipelago. The first calls launch a full season of cruising that takes in the most northerly inhabited towns in the world.

In an upgrade that also features the use of sustainable power and propulsion technologies on board a ship built in 2002, the 500-guest capacity Trollfjord is “reborn for modern cruising while embodying the heritage of this iconic route”, says Fabiana Vale Dornelas, Senior Interior Architect and Head of Sustainability & Implementation, YSA Design.

YSA Design conceived, refined and project managed delivery of striking interior stylings on board the 16,140gt Trollfjord’s three main restaurants, all cabins and suites, and the conversion of the two-storey upper-deck lounge into the panoramic 1893 Bar plus sun deck area, says Vale Dornelas. In doing so, the designer sought to create ship spaces that encapsulate Norway’s past, present, and future, in a unique blend of modern Scandinavian design, nostalgic flourishes from the golden era of small-ship sailing, and heritage-led choices to incorporate the artistry of the northerly Sámi people.

“From the spatial planning of the restaurant areas, to the carefully chosen décor, the retro menus and the inspirations provided by local cultures, every detail contributes to the immersive experience, combining the charm of the past with modern sophistication,” says Vale Dornelas. Sámi traditionally manufacture articles for everyday use from raw materials available from their surroundings, she adds. This ethos is fully echoed on board Trollfjord, where hard-wearing, locally sourced natural materials such as wool, wood and stone feature prominently throughout.

The mix of modern and heritage styles runs throughout upscale suites and cabins, where YSA Design has used natural textures and warm tones to create a cosy but contemporary feel. The owner’s itinerary foresees Trollfjord engaging with communities through longer stopovers, so that guests experience the rich surrounding heritage. Vale Dornelas emphasises how “story-telling details” are reflected in cabin furnishings which feature Sámi fabric patterns and stitching techniques.

“All along, our aim has been to deliver the style and comfort the modern cruise audience expects while honouring the historic identity of the Svalbard Express to revive the ship’s essence, celebrate Sámi culture and heritage, and embody the sustainable principles of the owner,” she says.