Designed as havens for travelers, Air New Zealand airport lounges around the globe offer a clean, modern vernacular, with distinctions between locations provided through the incorporation of unique elements reflecting local culture and sources.
Responding to customer input, the lounges afford visitors distinct user zones with a variety of seating configurations.
A sense of exclusivity and anticipation comes from the seemingly “secret” entry, where travelers are greeted by large-scale images of iconic New Zealand scenery. Locally sourced messmate wood and pops of color bring character and warmth to the timeless palette consistent with the company’s brand.
The Air New Zealand Koru Lounge in Sydney airport was opened to the media and key industry stakeholders on Friday 22 May, and we have a first-look at the space.
This $40-million plus revamp of its international and regional lounge spaces continues the relationship between Air New Zealand and American-based international architects, Gensler. It began with the Star Alliance lounge in Los Angeles’ Tom Bradley Terminal, which is operated by Air NZ, on behalf of the Star Alliance.
Sydney, however, is the first space that is branded Air New Zealand – though the facility is available to the 26 Star Alliance partners. With space to accommodate up to 300 customers, the space is over 1500 square meters.
Upon entering the space, a wide pathway of white terrazzo is echoed in width and length by a feature timber soffit above. This leads directly to the centerpiece of the space – the Wine Window. A bespoke combination of wine storage, view-framer and art installation, it holds a vast selection of premium wines (125 bottles, all New Zealand, of course) beer, signature cocktails plus the requisite complement of high-end spirits.
Bearing in mind that at any time, Koru Lounge occupants might be on their own time, and one person’s morning is another’s night, the bar is also a 24-hour barista station. Members can custom-order their choice of coffee via the iPad at the bar, or by using the Air New Zealand app.
The Bold Violet colour used to demarcate Air New Zealand’s premium facilities enlivens a palette of grey, white and black. While some of the smaller regional ports of call can look forward to an update of their lounges, in those cases the traditional Teal colour will be the accent.
Fourteen different styles of chair are used in the space, many by New Zealand designer Simon James. These are accompanied by smaller end tables – all of which have subtly integrated power and data points.
The dining area proper is demarcated by a chandelier of 228 hand-blown glass spheres, set in a layered configuration of undulating waves. This bespoke fixture, along with the Wine Wall are refered to as the “hero moments” by the design team. An open kitchen/presentation area, called The Food Theatre, is adjacent to dining tables, and serves freshly made hors d’oeuvres and nibbles throughout the day.
Thoughtfully placed dividing elements, subtle changes in chair style, wall finish or furniture arrangement clearly signal the various zones – from the grey-and-white quiet zone, to the convivial communal tables in the dining and business areas – yet the unified palette and overriding sense of space and tranquility creates a cohesive statement.