We worked with AgustaWestland (now Leonardo) the industry-leading, multinational helicopter design and manufacturing company, to reimagine the Luxury Helicopter Interior cabin as a “flying lounge”. We centered this project around the primary user; Captains of Industry flying to office towers from their city-fringe abodes. Based on the user-research provided, we formulated and focused on this main question “How do we bring value to his/her 20 minute flight to-and-from the office?”
By identifying and understanding the current & desired usage patterns of the user, one of the main intentions of the design is to enable a personal spatial experience by allowing for several modes of privacy and conviviality – an environment that can be fine-tuned to the his/her needs. This means being able to swivel & adjust the seats pre-flight to support either early-morning huddle, or facing the exterior windows, to have a contemplative moment of the day’s events, on the evening flight home.
How do we make an at-times tight cabin space bigger, without actually physically doing so? We did so in three ways. By having a translucent shell surround the seat, when the user peers through it, he/she cannot perceive actual depth, not unlike a fogged up window or an Impressionist painting. The design of the ceiling of the interior is inspired by the domes of cathedrals, architectural devices that help us to experience a space beyond space.
The bands of leather that clad the interior are also batched-dyed so that it starts as a deeper grey at the bottom, graduating to a lighter grey at the top; this creates a visual expansion of space, like a balloon expanding.
These bands of leather also serve as quick access storage display pockets.
The ceiling is also installed with a chromatherapy lighting system that runs through sequences that either stimulates the user like a visual coffee for that important morning deal closure, or helps to calm to make that transition back into family life on the way home. The controls of the chromatherapy lighting system is via a custom-designed app. The app also enables communication with the pilot, and displays information like estimated time of arrival, ground weather at destination, current speed and views afforded by the cameras installed on the helicopter’s exterior.