Renovation of the 130-year-old riverboat Kovin : Reviving Historical Beauty

Behind the scene

Have you heard of Jugoslovensko rečno brodarstvo? This company has over 150 years of tradition and a fleet of 100 vessels. Their main activity is transporting various goods, with over 90% dedicated to international transportation. Impressive, isn’t it?

But that’s not all! What particularly thrilled us is their commitment to preserving tradition. Their premises in the Belgrade office are authentic objects from river shipping that could make even the most famous museums proud.

That’s why they contacted us with a special request—to renovate the passenger riverboat Kovin, which has been sailing the river for 130 years. Their desire is for the boat to serve tourism purposes and provide an unforgettable experience for guests during their voyage.

As the exterior of the boat is protected as a cultural heritage, our task mainly focused on the interior. The open fore and aft decks, toilets, and aft salon were the priorities for renovation.

Unlike the open decks, which underwent minor changes in recent years, the latest renovation in the bathrooms and the salon was carried out back in the 1980s. The wooden paneling, which was fashionable at that time, is now outdated, and the salon needed a complete redesign.


The first step towards successful collaboration was to thoroughly define the project task together with representatives of Jugoslovensko rečno brodarstvo  (JRB). We wanted to understand their requests and vision for the future use of the boat.

JRB expressed their wish to transform the Kovin boat’s salon into an elegant river yacht salon suitable for small meetings and visits from foreign partners and clients.

Additionally, we wanted to extend the usage season of the Kovin riverboat, which is currently limited only to the summer period due to the open decks. By redesigning the salon, the boat will be able to navigate year-round.

In collaboration with the clients, we decided on a modern style with a touch of tradition, where the salon would reinterpret over a century of this vessel’s history.


Given the limited timeframe for the works, we chose local contractors to expedite the renovation process. We also selected readily available materials that could be quickly delivered to the riverboat.

The concept was to create a bright and spacious salon that would visually take your breath away. We divided the walls into an upper part in cream color and a lower part covered with evenly textured wood. This combination provides a perfect balance between traditional and modern styles.

All fabrics in the space were chosen from a neutral color palette to further visually open up the area. We opted for fabrics with textures with a pronounced, soft feel and large-scale patterns to enhance the comfort of the space.

The only accents in the color scheme were fabrics with blue-toned geometrical patterns selected for the deck cushions.

Our mission is to breathe life into the interior of the Kovin riverboat and provide guests with an unforgettable experience. We believe that the renovated salon will radiate elegance and the spirit of the past, attracting people to explore and enjoy this magnificent vessel.

In the next part of this series, we will reveal details of the deck renovation process and how we devised a new layout for the salon.