J.A. van Tienhoven, interior designer (1907-1971)
Van Tienhoven worked for many Dutch shipping companies, including HAL, for which he designed interiors for the RIJNDAM II (1951), MAASDAM V (1952), STATENDAM IV (1957), and the ROTTERDAM V (1959). His career in ships’ interior design began in the 1930’s when he was the successful entrant in a prize competition sponsored by the Steamship Company “Nederland” for the design of a smoking room for their SS JOHAN VAN OLDENBARNEVELD. In 1936 he was entrusted with the interior design of the SS ORANJE. Van Tienhoven’s star continued to rise after 1945; he would be responsible for no fewer than 250 ships’ interiors between then and 1970. Several generations of crew and passengers traveled in spaces designed according to his ideas. The approach Van Tienhoven followed was that, above all else, one must feel comfortable and contented on a ship. The furnishings and decoration should be functional and luxurious, not exhibitionist or flashy. The ship’s interior must satisfy international taste and be in harmony with the ship’s intended service: a ship for the tropics should have an entirely different character than one designed for the North Atlantic route. He had the following explanation for his preference for somewhat austere cabin fittings: “Whenever a hotel room is fitted out with a shower, a bed and a sofa, the guest would rather take a bottle of whisky to his room than to take his place in the restaurant. Aboard ship you have the additional issue that should all the passengers remain in their cabins, the service problem would become insoluble. From an economic standpoint, then, a cabin should not be too comfortable!” Van Tienhoven loved above all to design furniture. He felt they must be easy to maintain and accordingly he became a master in working with modern materials such as plastic, artificial leather, vinyl, veneer, and oxidized aluminum.
H.A. Maaskant, architect (1907-1977)
Huig Aart Maaskant played an important role in the rebuilding and expansion of Rotterdam after 1945. Well-known structures by his hand include the Groothandelsgebouw (Wholesale Trade Building) (1949), the Citrusveiling (Citrus Auction Building) (1951), the apartments on the Lijnbaan (1954), the Scholencomplex Technikon (Technical School Complex) (1955), and the Poortgebouw Muller-Thomsen (Muller-Thompson Port Building) (1960). In Amsterdam he designed the Hilton Hotel, in Etten-Leur the Tornado Factory and he was also responsible for the pier in Scheveningen. The architecture bureau which he established in 1957 designed, among other structures, the Euromast in Rotterdam. On the ROTTERDAM, he was responsible for the design of the indoor swimming pool.
J.F.A. Semey, interior designer and artist (1891-1973)
Semey was born in Ghent, Belgium where he received instruction in drawing. His specialty was textile design. In 1918 he moved to the Netherlands and worked with E. Cuypers, nephew and student of the master craftsman P. J. H. Cuypers (1827-1921). Via the Dutch Textile Arts School in The Hague he came into contact with C. A. Lion Cachet who designed many interiors for the “Nederland” Steamship Company. Semey set himself up in The Hague as an independent industrial designer where he wove tapestries for Lion Cachet, among other projects. In The Hague, he now worked together with the Koninklijke Nederlandse Meubelfabrieken (Royal Dutch Furniture Factories) H.P. Mutters & Zoon. Among other commissions, they collaborated on the then-flagship of the Rotterdam Lloyd, the MS BALOERAN (1930-1943).
C. Elffers, architect
Elffers was co-designer of three trend-setting bank buildings at Blaak 28, 34, and 40 in Rotterdam. On the ROTTERDAM he was responsible for the Auditorium situated forward on the Promenade Deck.
H.P. Mutters, interior designer and builder
For five generations H. P. Mutters has been setting their stamp on the interior design of buildings and ships. The company began as a furniture store in The Hague. As far back as the nineteenth century Mutters carried out commissions in the Noordeinde and Het Loo palaces. From 1888 on, Mutters frequently built furniture for the Holland-America and Rotterdam Lloyd lines. Commissioned by the last-named company, Mutters was appointed the chief interior design firm of the MS BALOERAN (1930-1943). On the ROTTERDAM Mutters designed and constructed the Queens Lounge and the Ocean Bar, both located on the Promenade Deck. Both rooms still exist in more-or-less original condition. In addition, Mutters constructed the tourist class library on the Promenade Deck to a design by van Mutero NV, interior designers of Rotterdam. Artist Frank Nix designed a decorative panel for this room which is gives an impression of “The World”. The panel is carried out in “Zagravos technique” (engraving in gypsum-covered wood of which the top layer is carried out in color). With the exception of the furniture, the woodwork of this room is still intact.