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Would you sail on the Titanic?

An Australian tycoon has commissioned a Swedish firm to collaborate in rebuilding the legendary ship – audacious or just plain nuts?

Would you sail on the Titanic?

Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer is obviously not the superstitious type. The man who according to Forbes magazine is worth US$795m (NOK4.5bn) last year signed a contract with a Chinese shipyard to construct a replica of the RMS Titanic, to be called Titanic II, with an intended launch date of 2016. The original, let’s remember, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank with the loss of 1,502 lives. (Palmer also plans to create over 100 animatronic dinosaurs for his resort on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, inspired by Jurassic Park – this is a guy who really likes to waggle his tongue at fate.)

Finnish naval architecture firm Deltamarin is designing the ship and last month Palmer appointed Stockholm-based Tillberg Design to do the interiors. Tillberg are world leaders in the maritime design field, and have worked on the Queen Mary II and vast Norwegian Epic, but partner and senior architect Fredrik Johansson admits this is something else. “We all know the tragedy,” he says, “but Titanic II is being done with great respect as a homage to the people who did not survive and even those who did. There are some lovely ideas on how to pay tribute, including portraits and other things I can’t talk about at this stage.”

A voyage on Titanic II is intended to be a period experience – passengers will be able to rent contemporary outfits and have their hair or moustache done in Edwardian style – but historical reproduction throws up thorny issues when it comes to design. “Beds then were 1.85m long compared to 2m today, which has a knock-on for the whole design; you can’t have beds longer than the cabins,” says Johansson.

He continues: “Will today’s travellers want to share a shower or bathroom with up to 20 others? The original had 50 firemen stoking the engines and sleeping at the front of the ship, but obviously you won’t attract any crew like that. Every day we open a new can of worms.”

The new ship will have some additional features, too. “We’re going to add attractions such as a casino, theatre and an extended spa, in the same style as the original Turkish bath,” says Johansson. “And we’ll have a few more lifeboats.”
tillbergdesign.com, titanic-ii.com


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