AIM Altitude has revealed designs for the business class bar and lounge on board Virgin Australia’s newly refitted Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The design and manufacturing program for the Door 2 monuments began in 2014, and is the result of a collaboration between Virgin Australia, AIM Altitude and design house, Tangerine.
The design was developed and engineered by AIM Altitude specialists in New Zealand, with AIM Altitude in the UK undertaking the manufacturing at its cabin interiors facility in Bournemouth. The first of five refurbished Boeing 777-300ER re-entered service between Australia and the USA in May 2016.
According to Michael Pervan, managing director of Altitude, the project presented an engineering challenge. “When Virgin Australia and AIM Altitude first began collaborating on the project, we wanted to stretch the boundaries of what is currently experienced by passengers in the Door 2 zone of a wide-body aircraft. We faced a number of challenges, including finding methods to engineer and manufacture products that used unique lighting and custom trim and finish materials. Like most aircraft interior projects, we were also faced with the challenges of limited real estate in which to create a relaxing and luxurious environment in the Door 2 zone.”
The monument includes a Corian backlit bar countertop light box, lighting embedded within Virgin Australia’s Flying Maiden logo, a contemporary leaf pattern ceiling, as well as bar-edge lighting designs, which come together to create a zone intended to feel more spacious and offer a much improved passenger and crew experience.
As part of the design and development program, a specialized product development process was implemented at the commencement of the project. Before any detailed design was undertaken, AIM Altitude liaised with many stakeholders of the aircraft Door 2 zone, such as cabin crew and passengers, to gain a comprehensive understanding of all user requirements.
As the program developed, full-sized mock ups were created to give stakeholders the opportunity to experience the Door 2 zone in a realistic environment. This process saw several design changes occur which, without mock-up experience, potentially would not have been identified until much further in the program, when additional cost or delays may have been incurred.
Five distinct pieces of furniture have been created for the Door 2 area:
• The forward monument is a full-height center bulkhead with integrated shelves for the display of bottles, an integrated Nespresso machine and access hatches for the business-class seats forward of the monument.
• The bar unit is a mid-height bar unit connected to the forward monument featuring a Corian bench top and illuminated light-box housing, four half-sized carts and a sink and waste compartment.
• The large ceiling panel features Virgin Australia’s signature leaf pattern with embedded lighting.
• The aft monument is a full-height center bulkhead with bank seating and a table top to add to the social aspect of the Door 2 zone. The opposite side of the bank seating provides an integrated foot-well for the business-class seats.
• Four bar stools surround the bar unit, with a plinth to cover the stool attachments to the seat tracks.
“We are extremely proud of what we have worked with Virgin Australia and Tangerine to create,” stated Pervan. “There is no doubt that it is a statement on the ‘art of the possible’, and we hope that Virgin Australia’s guests enjoy this space as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to life”.