Dezeen Magazine

Hella Jongerius designs "homelike" cabin interiors for KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft

Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has created the economy and business cabin interiors for airline KLM's first Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which go into operation today.

The project continues the Berlin-based designer's collaboration with KLM, which began in 2011 with her World Business Class cabin interior for the Dutch carrier's Boeing 747.

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
Jongerius' buisness class seat for KLM's Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Jongerius worked with colour and texture to create a more personal experience for passengers on board the Dreamliner aircraft.

"Air travellers often feel like insignificant cogs in a well-oiled machine, where every seat is identical except for the number," said a statement from the designer's studio. "Jongerius focused on improving the passenger experience, by creating a homelike environment with warm, varied colours and replacing plastic with other materials that have more appealing textures."

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
Jongerius' cupboards for business class, which include specially designed mirrors

"She strove for aesthetic unity, avoiding conflicting signals and offering a fresh, contemporary look," the studio added.

Double-sided curtains separating business and economy areas were created using a Jacquard weaving technique to combine two patterns in the same fabric.

Grey panels dividing the cabin appear to be patterned with irregular dots from afar, but each dot is revealed as a tiny drawing of a passenger when viewed up close.

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
Jongerius' cupboards for business class

"This pattern is based on photos of many different travellers, transformed into line drawings to create a more abstract image," said Jongerius' studio. "They are people of all ages and cultures, headed for many different destinations, each with a unique story to tell passengers who gaze at the dots during their flight."

The carpet used throughout the aircraft combines waste wool with recycled cabin crew uniforms.

Business class seats feature "cushioned 'ears' for snuggling up against", which are designed to look like residential furniture and can be adjusted for comfort.

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
Jongerius' cupboards for business class, which have doors that function as a seat dividers when opened

The seats, which fully recline, also incorporate personal storage spaces with specially designed mirrors inside.

Brushed aluminium cupboard doors function as seat dividers for greater privacy when opened.

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
Jongerius' economy class seats, which have bright blue tops and darker headrests

Dot patterns are also used across upholstery in economy class, with bright blue yarn woven into darker blue material. Economy comfort seats are defined with bright blue tops and darker headrests.

"Due to restrictions in the seat composition, designing for the economy class required a pragmatic approach," said the studio.

A prototype of Jongerius' business class seat. Image courtesy of Jongeriuslab

Earlier this year, Jongerius launched a manifesto calling for an end to "pointless products, commercial hypes and empty rhetoric" in design.

In a 2013 interview with Dezeen – which features in our Dezeen Book of Interviews – she explained that she prefers to work on updating existing designs rather than creating more and more new objects.

KLM's Boeing 787 aircraft by Hella Jongerius
An early prototype of Jongerius' business class cupboards. Image courtesy of Jongeriuslab

Her new versions of Modernist Alvar Aalto's iconic 901 tea trolley for Finnish furniture brand Artek are a recent example of this approach.

The Dutch designer has also discussed her work and relationship with KLM in another Dezeen interview, saying "I think they're weird; they think I'm weird".

Photography is by Inga Powilleit, unless otherwise stated.