Following the successful refurbishment of The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s flagship lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, the practice has carried the lounge’s sophisticated design into the first class cabin of the Boeing 777-300ER fleet. The project to refresh the award-winning cabin is the first time that the practice has designed the interior and furnishings for a commercial aircraft.
To create a seamless experience for passengers, the cabin’s design shares the lounge’s palette of warm white leather, reflective dark grey surfaces and walnut finishes to create a calm, understated interior. Every element has been considered and refined, including the stitch of the bespoke covers for Cathay Pacific’s celebrated first class seat, the handmade woollen carpet, the refurbished bathrooms and the new reading light, which has been custom-designed to cast fewer shadows when working or dining.
The Wing, Hong Kong International Airport
Opened earlier this year, The Wing is the second in a series of lounges by Foster + Partners for Cathay Pacific at Hong Kong International Airport and provides business and first class spaces on levels six and seven. Every detail of the interiors, from the Champagne Bar to the bathroom fittings in the luxurious first class ‘cabanas’, has been custom-designed by the practice to create an exceptional experience for guests.
The design reinforces the relationship with the building and with views of the outside world, connecting the interiors to the light-filled space beneath the airport’s soaring roof. To create a dramatic sense of arrival, the double-height reception space for business class passengers at level 6 is open to views of the floor above and roof canopy beyond, and incorporates a black glass lift and grand black marble staircase. The transition from security, to first-class lounge, to gate is equally seamless. The first class reception area, with its specially-commissioned wall of illuminated glass fins, allows guests a glimpse of the large, open balcony, while retaining a sense of exclusivity.
The business class lounge features a morning Coffee Loft and Cathay Pacific’s signature ‘The Long Bar’, a 23-metre long custom-built ‘statuario white’ carrara marble bar overlooking the runway. The redesigned Noodle Bar has been placed beneath the arc of the roof canopy, where it is open to natural light. In addition, first class passengers can enjoy a champagne bar, a reading space stocked with magazines and newspapers and ‘The Haven’, an à la carte and buffet restaurant. A unique highlight of the first class lounge is a series of five individual ‘Cabanas’ – inspired by hotel suites, these private spa rooms incorporate a day bed and bathroom to provide the ultimate space to relax while travelling. Business class passengers also have access to 24 luxurious travertine-lined shower suites at level 6.
Echoing the materials used in the Cabin, the Wing business class areas combines a luxurious palette of white carrara marble, black honed granite, caramelised bamboo and travertine stone; while the first class areas are set apart by the use of ‘nero marquina’ black polished marble, gloss-lacquered eucalyptus and reflective black glass. The attention to detail and quality extends to the selection of materials – every piece of stone used in the lounges was carefully chosen at source in Italy and China by the design team.
The lounges are furnished with a number of unique pieces designed by Foster + Partners, including a marble reception desk, food counter and a free-standing champagne bar with integrated trays – everything has been designed, down to the detail of porcelain plates. The Solus Chair, which was developed specifically for the lounges, has been specially customised for the first class lounge in soft burgundy upholstery and a black lacquered shell. For the business class lounge, it has been produced in grey or tan leather with a white surround. Alongside the bespoke products and one-off furniture pieces, The Wing also features the Ilium cylindrical table light, developed with Nemo and the Foster 503 armchair by Walter Knoll.
Luke Fox, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners commented on The Wing:
“Cathay Pacific’s new first class space at HKIA offers exceptional quality. Like The Cabin, The Wing’s interiors have been developed from a close collaboration with Cathay Pacific and an understanding of the discerning needs of the passengers. Working within the airport terminal we designed, we have maintained consistency in our design philosophy and passion for quality, and yet the rich materials palette, colours and textures mark an exciting new chapter.”
Mike Holland, Partner and Head of Industrial Design at Foster + Partners commented on the first class cabin:
“While this was our first project for a commercial aircraft, it was a unique opportunity to bring together architecture and industrial design, and it drew on our previous commissions for yachts and private jets. Our challenge has been to take the design principles of the new lounges into the aircraft, while working within stringent safety requirements and retaining Cathay Pacific’s award-winning seat. Achieving this successfully drew on the expertise of Foster %2b Partners wide team, from architects to industrial designers and interior specialists – we are now further developing this expertise with projects for next generation aircraft.”
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