Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has created a new cabin interior for Dutch airline KLM, including textiles inspired by the Milky Way and carpets made from recycled uniforms.
Launched today at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, KLM's revamped World Business Class cabin features spotted and striped dividing curtains, leather and aluminium details and a carpet made from the recycled uniforms of flight attendants.
Hella Jongerius and her team at Jongeriuslab developed the palette of blue, purple, grey, brown and white by bringing fabric swatches onboard flights to observe how colours could be perceived differently in various lighting conditions.
"The light condition above the clouds and the light temperature makes all colours very red," Jongerius told Dezeen at the launch. "We had to really work in that sense so that the red goes out of the colour palette and so we chose colours that have a bit of green in them."
The carpet is inspired by an image of the Milky Way, with blue dots as stars in a pattern that's designed to be easy to match up when it needs repairing.
"The [previous KLM business class] interior was more business-like, very uniform and efficiently done but this feel of mass-production is not what we want to have right now as an atmosphere," she continued. "I really want to have luxury. Is luxury glamorous? Luxury for me is comfort."
"Maybe Marcel [Wanders]'s work is more the glamorous part," she added. KLM previously commissioned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders to create a dinner service for use onboard its aircraft, including porcelain, glassware, cutlery and linen.
Jongerius is now working on designs for the airline's economy cabins. See all our stories about design by Hella Jongerius.
Last year industrial design studio Priestmangoode designed a first-class cabin with sofas and wardrobes for Brazilian airline TAM, while London studio Pengelly Design created an aeroplane seat that converts into a 2.2-metre-long bed for Virgin Atlantic – see all aircraft design.
Here's more information from Hella Jongerius:
The new interior design for KLM World Business Class in the Boeing 747-700, by Hella Jongerius/Jongeriuslab
When KLM invited a designer to develop a comprehensive vision for its interior, it broke new ground in the aviation industry. Usually, new aircraft parts are simply selected from the available stock. Furnishings, materials, service facilities, and storage space must meet so many stringent requirements that they are usually seen as the domain not of designers, but of technical engineers.
Jongerius threw herself into the project with the Jongeriuslab team, seeking opportunities for meaningful change within strict parameters. In the spirit of her earlier work and her design philosophy, she found those opportunities in KLM’s own corporate traditions, such as the company’s distinctive colour palette and sustainable materials.
Flying is magical. But at the same time, air travel stands for discomfort – the exhaustion, the endless waits, the anonymous crowds, the long stretches without privacy, the lack of telephone or internet access, the severe restrictions on movement, the processed air you breathe.
The primary objective of Jongerius’s design is therefore to offer passengers the greatest possible comfort, so that they can use their airborne interlude however they prefer: to work or to dream, unplugged from everyday life.
Jongerius rose to the challenge through the imaginative use of textiles and the double-faced weaving technique, combining mass-produced parts with craftsmanlike details, reducing the ‘visual noise’ of the interior to a minimum, and creating ingenious variations on the KLM colour palette.
This brought aesthetic excellence and a warm ambiance to the hi-tech world of the aviation industry, creating an atmosphere and experience that, according to Jongerius, suit the needs of today's cosmopolitan world travellers.
The richly varied patterns of the carpeting make passengers feel welcome and stir vague memories. That's because they’re sustainable creations based on high-quality recycled materials, including the discarded uniforms of KLM stewards and stewardesses.
Even when a carpet has to be repaired, sustainability is guaranteed. The pattern – a scene of the Milky Way with blue uniform dots in the role of stars – will always match up.
The efficiency that has always characterised World Business Class will be preserved. At the same time, the new interior will offer a more restful environment with greater personal privacy and considerably superior quality and comfort.