The third and concluding chapter of the “Tour de Funnel” in my archive. This time spanning from North of The Arctic Circle over East Asia to the extreme midday-sun in the Med.
About my series “Funnels for Fun”
As shipping over the coming decades must deliver significant CO2-reductions to cut the industry’s negative contribution to the greenhouse gas-powered heating of the planet, new types of fuels and new types of propulsion will be introduced. Not least, electric hybrid systems that largely consume green electricity bunkered from land or produced by fuel cells on board.
Therefore, the exterior design of ships is changing as well. Especially passenger ships that directly market themselves against the wide population view, why ships funnels, as we know them, can become a design element that faces major changes.
Partly because the funnels now no longer have to serve the practical purpose of preventing soot from stain the outside decks and partly because the absence of a funnel or a minimalizing of it can be used as a statement to underline that this ship is a green non-polluting ship – an expression of modernity in the coming decades, where everyone’s focus is on the climate and the state of the Globe.
Two world-renowned historic merchant ships, which both introduced new ways of propulsion in their respective eras; the first major diesel engine-powered merchant ship SELANDIA from 1912 and the world’s first major nuclear-powered merchant ship SAVANNAH from 1963, used the absence of visible funnels as a statement of modernity.
Currently, Scandlines’ two diesel electric hybrid-powered ferries BERLIN and COPENHAGEN from 2016 use part of the same strategy with significantly underplayed funnels in the same white colour as the rest of the ship. The same does Molslinjen’s HAMMERSHUS from 2018, which feature a world premiere on Wärtsilä’s new W31 engine range, considered the most energy efficient medium speed motor on the market now.
As a maritime photographer, who has always been inspired by the aesthetics of ships, I have had a special focus on passenger ships funnels as one of the most important design elements. Something that, once it has fulfilled its technical purpose, can acts as a creative dot for the ship’s designer to complete the profile.
I have over the years shot many photos of funnels, but almost always as a by-product in a much broader photo session, but where the funnels emerged as a subject of obvious compositions along the way – “Funnels for Fun”; Either independently with its structure and lines – or with its interaction with the surroundings.
Once, passenger ships’ funnels were an expression of power as in the transatlantic liner era. Through in the time I have documented them, they have been less value-laden and more just a design element with a practical purpose. But that can change in the decades to come!