Meet Joe Farcus, Ship Architect


As design architect for Carnival Cruise Lines, Joe Farcus has designed 16 ships completely, seven ships partially and now has eight ships, in various stages, on the drawing boards -- and his astounding imagination and vision always fascinate and amaze me.

In designing a ship, Farcus begins with a central concept, then relates the details of the public rooms to that core concept. For the Carnival Triumph, the concept was special cities of the world. The Carnival Paradise salutes famous ships of the past, and the Fascination features Hollywood. Reflecting Farcus' interest in the humanities, the Elation revolves around creators and their creations, the Inspiration honors the Arts and the Imagination takes its theme from imaginary places.

The world's major seas are the central concept of Carnival's newest ship, the Victory. Decorative details and inspiration include mythology--another Farcus interest--the Caribbean's gingerbread architecture, Chinese scroll work, Celtic motifs, classical Greek details and traces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Caspian Bar, the wine and champagne bar, recalls the opulence Farcus experienced at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

He's a man of wide-ranging interests, all of which serve him well for creating various themes and rooms. He's an avid history reader, but also delves into magazines covering art and technology.

The Internet has become one of Farcus' greatest sources. He loves it! He uses it for verifying historical details, for art references on mythological details for murals or taking a look at Jackson Pollock's work. Farcus needed some Japanese screens that fit his budget for the Costa Atlantica. He found exactly what he needed on the Internet. Incidentally, Farcus highly recommends as the best search engine.

Farcus describes the creative process as "Getting into the frame of mind for a particular room, sending ideas to the arm, to the hand, eventually to the paper. It's an ´┐Żarchitectural' stream of consciousness."

Does Farcus ever stumble onto the architectural version of writer's block? "No," he replies, " I can't afford it. I am too well disciplined to be blocked, so I just force myself to keep going. Sometimes my work is fast, sometimes slow, but never not at all. But I never fear that it won't come. It takes strength and effort to do it."

Farcus is fortunate--and knows this. "In the end, I really enjoy my work. I am doing what I do well and love; I am only doing things that I know how to do. I fully realize my good fortune, the propitious meeting with Ted Arison (original founder of Carnival Cruise Lines), who gave me the start in this industry, allowing me to utilize the combination of my talent, emotion and intellect."

Over the years and ships, Farcus' work has taken different directions. In reply to how he views this changes, Farcus replied, "I characterize the direction as sophistication--a reflection on the sophistication of the market. My design work has matured as I have matured and as my experience has broadened. Most people characterize it as ´┐Żtoned down,' which I accept. However my professional goal has always been to improve the next project. This is my motivation: to get better. This is also the trend of my work which I believe will continue. I will only know what the results of this philosophy are when it happens."

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