December 2013 – Ferry operator TESO asked Vripack to carefully integrate the emotions one gets when wandering on the old Dutch island of Texel. The whole Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2009 and romantically described as a place where “heaven and earth share the stage”. On Texel there is the National Park ‘Dunes of Texel’.
Vripack applied their holistic design method which first led them to numerous visits to fully experience the island of Texel. It was at the most western part of Texel, where a unique environment is continuously shaped by the influences of wind, ice and tides where the roots of the design took shape. “Where the current ferry is a real ship with shippy details, we decided then and there that our design would be the bridge to the island. When you step off the quay on board we want you to feel like stepping on the island”, says Robin de Vries of Vripack.
Our design philosophy directs us to create an outside that simply belongs to the inside and vice versa. For instance, the external smooth lines with a bite are derived from the trend platform VriThink! as well as the bird called Little Tern which we spotted on the island. This very sleek and slim animal has a beautiful flowing shape and with her grey wingtips and black head, the Little Tern has a strong appearance. We used the wing spread as underlay for the main sheer line of the vessel. This smooth and dynamic line gives the ferry a contemporary yet recognizable look. The dark edges of the ‘wingtips’ add visual weight to the profile. Large glass surfaces are added to enhance the ‘Wadden experience’ and bring light to the interior. The glass panels are supported by a grid of arches. The shapes of these arches resemble the scales of the local pine cone while acting as the structural frames of the ship.
Inside, the ferry has a clever layout which leads to an efficient routing and provides several seating arrangements, an open central buffet and a kids-corner with clouds projected on the ceiling and the digital images of fish on the floor that swim away when you get close.
“It makes sense that we brought the shapes and natural colors of the island also to the inside. The same soft lines with a bite are used in the floor and ceiling plan as well as in the design of all the custom furniture we created. Since the ferry is used by both visitors and people living or working on the island there is a need for different seating areas. So based on sand dunes we created booths where families can gather. At the same time based on the famous Texel sheep, we created leaning furniture for regular visitors with laptop tables and power outlets”.
The new ferry is going to be called “Texelstroom” and she will be packed with a full range of innovative and sustainable products and services. New techniques have been applied to reduce the use of water and fuel emissions. The 750m2 solar panels provide 50% of the power that is needed for lighting and catering. The new ferry is expected to be completed late 2015.
Established in 1961, Vripack is a leading full service design, naval architecture, engineering and brokerage organization. Aiming for long term relationships with private customers, yards, fellow architects and their personal, Vripack believes that Quality is the sum of Workmanship and Enthusiasm.