Q&A: Making Materials Fly

Hilary Edesess
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When it comes to flying, comfort and individual space shape the travel experience. PriestmanGoode designs cabin interiors for airlines like the customizable Airspace cabin for Airbus launched at Aircraft Interiors Expo in 2016.

They also provide award-winning branding for individual airlines including Qatar Airways, Swiss Airlines, TAM Airlines Lufthansa and more.

In April 2016 Paul Priestman was interviewed live on BBC World News about the evolution of aircraft interior design over the last two decades. You can watch the interview here. ArchiExpo spoke with Luke Hawes, designer and co-director at PriestmanGoode, to learn how the company uses cabin design to improve flight experience.

ArchiExpo: What tools do you use to design aircraft cabins?

Luke Hawes: We use many types of high-end 3-D CAD and visualization software depending on the project, whether supplying technical data to seat vendors or files for movies. Software allows us to build a skeleton model to visualize materials and colors in photo realistic impressions of the cabin. We can also render through sequences, creating airline-marketing movies.

Check out the latest from a number of 3-D CAD software programs here.

ArchiExpo: What materials do you use?

Luke Hawes: Making materials fly is the biggest challenge. There’s a whole floor in our London studio dedicated to material innovation. We also work with major international suppliers, especially trim and finish suppliers like Botany, Rohi, Lantal, Anker, Schneller and Isovolta, to look for new ways of making authentic looking lighter weight materials. For example, granite tray tables with 10 millimeters of material thickness, like those on United Airlines domestic fleet which debuted Fall 2015, only 2-3 millimeters of granite give the visual effect. The rest is a substrate of another much lighter weight material.

Courtesy of PriestmanGoode
Courtesy of PriestmanGoode

United Airlines First Class. Courtesy of PriestmanGoode

Luxe interiors for Qatar Airways A380. Courtesy of Priestmangoode.

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