The heart of Celebrity Edge – The Grand Plaza

With Celebrity Edge only 3-months away from her debut, Celebrity Cruises has unveiled the latest part of the ship, and you won’t be disappointed.

Situated at the heart of the ship you will find the The Grand Plaza, another venue designed to break from traditional cruise ship thinking and shatter all expectations.

The Grand Plaza

With the aspiration to completely transform the way guests connect to the world, Celebrity sought creative thinkers who were new to the cruise industry to ensure every aspect of Celebrity Edge would be a departure from traditional thinking about cruising.

Among those chosen were the Paris-based design duo of Jouin Manku, who are celebrated for drawing inspiration from a multitude of cultures and for merging cutting-edge technology with old-world craftsmanship. They are credited with world-famous works such as the Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée and the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Together, the visionaries collaborated with the Celebrity team to bring these new concepts to life.

Jouin’s connection to the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard was also found to be far rooted beyond his work on Celebrity Edge, noting: “The shipyard is very important for me and my family: My grandfather worked at this very yard, and when he passed away at a young age, they hired my grandmother so she could continue to support her family. This project was a very emotional one for me. Sanjit and I channeled that into our design, which inspired our unique approach in showing the craftmanship.”

Mixing simplicity and modernity, The Grand Plaza takes inspiration from the glamourous days of transatlantic travel. At a time when cruise ships were at the heart of chic society, the center of these ships were traditionally spectacular ballrooms, accented with dramatic staircases and ornate chandeliers. They were social places to meet, greet, dine, drink and dance. The Grand Plaza pays homage to these powerful historic spaces and reinterprets them for the 21st century.

The epicentre of Celebrity Edge

Spanning three decks at the heart of the ship, The Grand Plaza acts as the epicentre of Celebrity Edge, which radiates an energy that lures guests throughout the day, as it transforms both physically and atmospherically. Guests are drawn to the space by The Chandelier, a striking lighting feature – and art installation – that rises over the Martini Bar to the ceiling three decks above. Composed of five levels of 765 blades illuminated by dynamic LED strips that change colour from day to night, The Chandelier weighs in at seven tons.

Here, guests will be transported to the lively piazzas of Italy, of which this sprawling 5,167 sq. ft. space was also inspired. Home to many of the incredible new specialty restaurants – including Raw on 5 and Fine Cut Steakhouse on Deck 5; Le Grand Bistro and Café al Bacio on Deck 4; and the new Grand Plaza Café on Deck 3 – The Grand Plaza truly is a grand space. At its center, on Deck 3, guests will find the breathtaking next evolution of the always-buzzing Martini Bar, one of the most popular venues across Celebrity’s fleet and perhaps my favourite bar on any cruise ship. Adorning the edges of The Grand Plaza are intricately hand-stitched mesh screens, combining more than 13,500 pieces of metal, leather, and fabric.

In the morning, The Grand Plaza invites guests to enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant at either of the cafés. Guests can return to The Grand Plaza for afternoon tea or to indulge in a pre-dinner cocktail while enjoying unexpected pop-up performances. At nightfall, the energy transforms completely, and the space becomes the social epicenter of the ship, coming alive with live music.

The Grand Plaza remains a highlight of Jouin Manku’s involvement in the design of Celebrity Edge, but their influence can be felt throughout the ship.

The Inspiration

Inspired by the thousands of hands that go in to the construction of a ship – such as Jouin’s grandfather, who was a welder in the construction of the S.S. Normandie – Jouin Manku designed the exposed corridor. Complete with authentic welders’ touches, architects’ markings and engineers’ notes, the exposed corridor uncovers the bare hull of the ship leading to and from The Grand Plaza and the main dining rooms. The space transforms depending on the direction a guest is walking, like a life-sized lenticular wall. One way, guests will see the unadorned beauty of the ship’s steel bones, while heading in the other direction guests will see a sleek, modern design that starkly contrasts the alternate view.

“When we were asked to work on The Grand Plaza, one of our biggest inspirations were people in the shipyard who were able to manipulate steel as if it were plastic,” said Manku. “Their awe-inspiring craftsmanship inspired us and had us asking ourselves ‘How can we show the bones of the ship?’ Because the bones are so beautiful, you don’t need to put a cover on them.”

Jouin Manku’s influence is also strikingly apparent in the Main Dining Atrium, where they’ve taken the concept of a staircase and turned it into a work of art. Hanging three stories between the flights of stairs is yet another meaningful art installation known as The Pendulum. The Pendulum base moves ever so gently to the rhythms of the ocean to remind guests that they are indeed moving and connected to the sea, even when they cannot see it.

To learn more about Celebrity Edge and the transformative spaces touched by Jouin Manku, visit www.celebritycruises.com/edge/onboard-experiences/the-grand-plaza.