Made in Italy

Managing Editor Janeen Christoff strolls through Genoa, Italy, with famed-designer Dakota Jackson

By: By Janeen Christoff

Jackson at the Hotel Brisol Palace in Genoa, Italy // (c) 2010

Jackson at the Hotel Brisol Palace in Genoa, Italy

Via Garibaldi is known for its ancient palaces and is one of Genoa, Italy’s most beautiful streets. As I strolled along this narrow thoroughfare with famed designer Dakota Jackson, he was quick to describe the beautiful courtyards and detailed the frescoes behind each doorway.

It was, unfortunately, dark at the time, and since many of the palaces are now museums and historic sites, they had long since closed for the evening. But Jackson described their hidden enchantments as though he were a native.

“I wish you could see this one. The frescoes are so detailed,” he said as we passed a terra-cotta-colored palace.

We were in Genoa on behalf of Oceania Cruises. The cruise line was floating out its first new build, the Marina, and had also just announced construction on its second ship, the Riviera. At the behest of founder Frank Del Rio, Jackson was asked to design the Oceania and Vista suites onboard Marina, and he was joining us on the trip to gain perspective.

“I don’t want to just design something for the sake of designing it,” he said during our walk. “I want people to be able to enjoy it.”

Jackson wanted to get a sense of the ship, and during a hard-hat tour, our group was able to go onboard and see where the Oceania and Vista suites were located, which definitely gave both writer and designer a good idea of how impressive and sweeping the views from these suites would be.

Not only did Jackson want to get a sense of the ship, but he wanted to truly understand the people that would be cruising onboard. During our three days in Genoa, he spent time with past Oceania guests, he got to know agents who sold the product and spoke to the architect behind the ships design. Jackson immersed himself in what the Oceania brand embodies.

As we walked back to the hotel from the bar, he showed me another one of his favorite spots in Genoa, the staircase of the Hotel Bristol Palace.

The hotel’s elliptical, white-marble staircase soars eight stories high and looks like a white spiral to the sky. As he looked up from the lobby, a telling look passed over the designer’s face — and I think, maybe, he found a bit of inspiration for his design.