Fly, Fly Away
Eight Inc. designs a trendy lounge for Virgin Atlantic Airways first-class flyers.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 11/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Typical first-class airport lounges offer creature comforts for privileged travelers to enjoy before and between flights. But few airlines so successfully incorporate luxury and character in their lounges—Virgin Atlantic Airways is an exception. Virgin's Clubhouse, at San Francisco International Airport, is a 5,000-sq.-ft. first-class haven of lush, fashionable spaces designed by the local firm Eight Inc.
Acknowledging Virgin's reputation as the hipster airline—whose jets feature candy-colored seats, individual television screens, and kids' video games—Eight Inc. created a vibrant setting by deploying color, comfort, and class. Deep red (which, coincidentally, matches the signature Virgin Atlantic red) Jacobsen Egg chairs line a window wall that overlooks the runways, so passengers can sip drinks and chat while watching the airport activity. Colored glass panels slide across each individual window to adjust light glare and heat. A 36-ft.-long blue, translucent glass bar dominates the space.
The designers' use of glass extends into the west-facing lounge—one of two rooms that flank the bar area—where a translucent glass wall separates the dining area from guest showers. Travelers can watch live television or play video games, as they can onboard Virgin Atlantic aircraft, or dine at the tables outfitted with pastel B&B Italia chairs. The adjacent shower area has walls clad in mahogany paneling, also used, for visual continuity, in the lounge on the opposite end of the bar. The Clubhouse was completed in nine months.