Acumen Design Associates has received the Overall Winner Award at the SBID International Design Awards 2014, for its work designing Etihad’s first class cabin on its A380 aircraft – due to launch this December. The ‘First Apartments’ are the world’s largest, most luxurious and highly customized first class suites, achieved via a patent-pending cabin layout.
This Overall Winner category is an ‘SBID choice’ award and is given to the project that comes out on top after an amalgamation of both judges and public votes. The award was presented at the SBID Award Ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel.
Anthony Harcup of Acumen Design Associates, design-lead and co-inventor of the cabin commented, “We were briefed to design a first class cabin based on Etihad’s successful ‘Inspired Service’ – to bring the individuality and exclusivity of a luxury boutique hotel experience which also embraces Arabian modernism.
“The cabin design incorporates several world firsts and provides unprecedented personal space enabling a new level of privacy, luxury and relaxation on a commercial aircraft that will set the standard for air travel in the future. Winning the SBID choice award is a huge compliment to the project’s planning and execution and demonstrates the value that design thinking can bring to differentiate a global brand,” he added.
Acumen Design Associates formed part of the airline-led Etihad Design Consortium (EDC), which worked on the latest Etihad products, and which also comprised Honour Branding and Factorydesign.
Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer of Etihad Airways, commented: “I am thrilled that the work undertaken by Acumen for our stunning First Apartments has been recognized by the SBID. This accolade is testament to their world-class service, from the initial concept designs based on our extensive international customer co-creation workshops, The Etihad Big Talks, to the final delivery of this elegant cabin.”
Etihad Airways is installing nine First Apartments on each of the 10 Airbus A380s it has ordered, the first of which will enter service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow on 27 December.
For the first time on a wide-body aircraft cabin, a single aisle configuration has been used in the upper-deck First Class section, allowing the airline to install ‘walk-in’ living areas which include a Poltrona Frau armchair and separate 80.5in-long bed, storage, a full-length wardrobe, chilled mini-bar and a vanity unit. At 39 sq ft, the First Apartment is 74% larger in area than Etihad’s current First Class suites.