Work / Asiana Airlines

Successful management of global stakeholders to deliver the new A380 cabins

When the South Korean airline Asiana ordered six of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, they came to us for advice on how to dramatically improve the customer experience in each cabin and introduce a sophisticated but not showy ambience to the whole interior. The coupling of our extensive experience in aircraft cabin and seating design, with our deep understanding of Korean culture from our studio in Seoul, made us the ideal team for the brief.

The project, however, came with a significant geographical challenge. The first class seats were manufactured in the United States, the business class seats in France, the entrance walls and galleys were made in Japan and the bar, and lounge area and toilets were created in Germany. The client was in Seoul and the aircraft would be assembled in Toulouse.  Luckily, we are based in the west and the east!

Services

  • Transport Design
  • Design Engineering
  • Colour, material & finish
  • User Experience & UI
  • Trend Forecasting & Vision Setting

Learning

Success from a project so distributed across continents was going to require excellent communication, and with engineering design being led by the manufacturers, giving the design a sense of coherence and brand would need tenacity and first-class creativity. Success would all be about strategic thinking, exhaustive inquiry and attention to detail throughout every aspect of the programme, with rigorous project management being key.

Leaping

Programme kick-off bought members of the Seoul design team to our studio in London so that they could be closer to the assembly process and have ready access to our senior design and engineering teams.

Close cooperation of all the stakeholders was essential to ensure an effective delivery of the design vision for the new A380 interior.

Landing

The engineering of the first and business class seat mechanisms were fixed, but we worked hard to introduce significant new features that improved the passenger experience and harmonised the look and feel across the different classes. Subtle adjustments made by our team resulted in significant design improvements in every area of the interior.

We created drama at the entrance to the A380 with a striking welcome wall and introduced low level lighting that sweeps up the stairs to the upper deck. The front of the upper deck was transformed into a bar and lounge area, with the intelligent use of subtle finishes created a sophisticated ambience for Asiana’s premium passengers. The totally upgraded first and business class toilets offer new features, such as integrated sinks and seating surfaces that transform them into elegant changing rooms.

Drag

It’s one of the very best Solstys designs and the best co-operation we’ve had with the customer and the designer. The line of communication with tangerine was excellent and the product is outstanding.

Asia-Pacific General Manager of Sogerma, manufacturers of the Solstys business-class.