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Model Maker Recreates Iconic Mid-Century SS United States Interiors

America’s Flagship remains a true marvel of American design and engineering, and continues to inspire a new generation of enthusiasts around the world.

Ocean liner fan Xavier Frossard recently reached out to the Conservancy to share photographs of his extraordinary models, inspired by the SS United States' glamorous mid-century modern interiors. Check out Xavier's models below, and see if you can spot a few of the Big U's iconic spaces, patterns, and furnishings:

Models by Xavier Frossard inspired by the interiors of the SS United States.

Frossard, from France, has been a lover of ocean liners from age thirteen, as well as a lifelong admirer of art and design. His elaborate model-making is the synthesis of these interests. In fact, these impressive models of the SS United States' interiors are only one small part of Xavier's larger project — a ten foot long model vessel containing reproductions of staterooms and lounges from several different liners, including the SS France, United States, Michelangelo, Raffaello, RMS Titanic, and more.

Large ship model by Xavier Frossard containing models of SS United States' interiors.

The eye-catching interiors furnishings so carefully studied by Frossard were originally designed by two prolific female interior designers. While the SS United States was designed by Gibbs & Cox, architects Eggers & Higgins laid out its interior, and Anne Urquhart and Dorothy Marckwald of the Manhattan firm of Smyth, Urquhart & Marckwald designed the ultra-modern decor.

To some extent the pair reprised the successful interiors of the SS America, adding the inviolate dictate that only non-flammable materials be used, along with the most modern furniture designs available in the day. In total, 15,500 pieces of bespoke furniture were made for the ship, all upholstered with custom, nonflammable fabrics.

Models by Xavier Frossard inspired by the interiors of the SS United States.

Color coordination aboard the SS United States was thoroughly studied, and colors were chosen by Urquhart and Marckwald to achieve bright, cheerful and comfortable interiors, moving away from the ornate styles of old liners. Colors and designs inspired by nature, and multiple geometric fabric patterns, were chosen to decorate the vessel, while keeping in mind Marckwald's premise that, "One thing we don't do on a ship is use color that is at all yellowish green — you know, anything that will remind a traveler of the condition of his stomach.”

Thank you again to Xavier for sharing his incredible work! Learn more about the Big U's iconic interiors HERE, and see how America's Flagship is inspiring others HERE.


The SS United States has always been a soaring symbol of ingenuity, innovation, and the nation's ability to join arm-in-arm to advance common goals. Today, she continues to inspire artists, writers, musicians, model-makers and designers across the globe.

Have you created something incredible inspired by America's Flagship? We would love to see it. Drop us a line at or on our Facebook page.

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