torstai 20. syyskuuta 2012

Building Blocks On the Sea - Developing Further a New Innovation

Picture 1. Some spreads from my finalised thesis book.

This article is a designer’s point of view from the Cruise and Ferry program’s Triad-project introduced by Yali Wu some weeks ago in this blog. 

Modularity and adjustability seem to be hot topics in contemporary manufacturing world. Whether it is about car design, housing industry or even shipbuilding investors want to see their investment to meet the changing needs and wants of the customers. When talking about such a great investment as a cruise ship, the fast adjustability to changing preferences is of a great importance. I had a chance, as a designer, to play with the thought of having this kind of new modular cruise ship in contemporary environment and imagine the way it could be used and by whom. 

When talking about change and adjustability the first big question is the timeframe. The terms “fast” and “slow” are very relative when it comes to cruise industry and depend on the perspective; from the marine architecture point of view general change in shipbuilding might take several years before accepted but from interior design’s point of view change has to be done in days – the more the ship is out of service the more expensive the change will be. It goes without saying that the scale of change in these two points of view is completely different and reflects the timeframe we are talking about. 

Picture 2. Different options for frequency of changing the modules. These options were shown to the interviewees to choose the most suitable one for the final scenario.

My research started from understanding the need for change and defining boundaries for it. By interviewing several professionals in the marine industry from shipyards, shipping companies, modular cabin element company, shipping container company and, as a wild card, exhibition centre I gained an understanding of the variety of changes that could be possible and at the same time the most preferred timeframe for change. At the same time I heard the professionals’ opinion for how long the change of one macro module would be. 

Picture 3. To understand the system and structure of the new vessel it was necessary to model it in 3D and test how the modules with different functions could be allocated.

This operation helped me to sketch out a scenario for how the operation of this kind of new cruise ship could look like, who would be involved in the process and how the new innovation is linked to the real cruise industry of today. The main objective for the whole research was to show to the different actors of the cruise industry that the interchangeable macro module innovation could work even today making it possible for them to decide if they are interested in continuing further the research and development of the innovation.
Picture 4. The change structure break down diagram shows all the actors involved in the operation of the new cruise ships and their actions during the different stages of the cruise ship’s journey.

Eventually the research became the basis for my master’s thesis that can be found Aalto University’s internet page as well as from my blog:


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