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If you could redesign the T5 Galleries First lounge.....

If you could redesign the T5 Galleries First lounge.....

Old Jan 26, 20, 9:54 am
  #1  
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Lightbulb If you could redesign the T5 Galleries First lounge.....

As we now know, as part of BA's 2020 lounge upgrade activity the airline will also be refreshing a number of its lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 as well as redesigning and relaunching the Elemis Spa at JFK.

We visit lounges across the world and we all have our favourites, so i'll pose this question. If you were given the task redesigning the Galleries First lounge at T5, what inspiration would you bring to the project, and how would you utilise the available space to create the environment you desire? Illustrated below are several photographs of the lounge taken when it opened in 2008. To help you visualise the lounge, I have also included a plan of the lounge (2008 version)








For example, references might be
  • The Great Court at the British Museum, London, or the Grand Hall of the Porsche Museum, Stuttgart
  • The lobbies at Claridges, London, or Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris, or Raffles, Singapore, or St Regis, Shenzhen
  • Helix Bar and Restaurant at the Gherkin, London, or Zodiac Room, NY, or Bob Bob Cité, London, or Icha Chateau, Shanghai, or The Top of Cloud, Xi'an
  • Are there any other reference examples that come to mind?









Design aspects you might consider
  • Do you prefer informal or regimented seating layouts. What configurations work best for single and multiple parties? Is there an optimal seating arrangement that works universally?
  • As there are parts of the lounge that enjoy natural daylight, offering great views, and other areas located away from the windows, how would you distinguish the two and utilise the space accordingly?
  • The lounge features high ceilings. Does the ceiling height create the right scale and sense of intimacy/privacy? Do you prefer direct lighting or indirect lighting such as wall wash? What should the ambient light level be - bright or subdued? Do you prefer reading lights you can control?
  • Do screens or planting contribute to your comfort?
  • What about floor materials? Natural stone or carpet or a combination of the two?
  • Organic and irregular shapes are becoming increasingly present across interior design, particularly in restaurants. In many cases this is being paired with timber as the desire for environmentally aware design continues.
  • Dark wood furniture and joinery is also seeing a comeback, with the rise of Scandi Noir propelling stained black wood back into popularity. In the restaurant environment this is being paired with soft textures, subtle lighting and warm metals to provide a luxurious yet cosy dining experience. What combination, if any adds a sense of Britishness?
  • Zero waste is a key trend, driving a rise in recycled and raw, unfinished materials, particularly those that provide a sense of their prior use. Perhaps an opportunity for aircraft up cycling?
  • A unique and photogenic environment, mixing whimsical details and unexpected contrasts to provide an environment that camera-ready guests will flock to.

My favourite lounge is the Pier at HKIA. It is very cleverly designed, uses devices to control the space, to create settings, and soften the surfaces. The lighting is deliberate, beautifully designed and carefully positioned. Here is the design statement written by the architect, Ilse Crawford

For The Pier First Class lounge in Cathay Pacific's hub airport in Hong Kong, we began by questioning what a luxury experience is for today's first class traveller. Principles of Wellbeing - a feeling of health, comfort and privacy - was a recurring theme in our research and quickly became central to our design approach. This has resulted in a lounge design that looks good but more importantly feels great. Throughout the lounge every detail has been considered to ensure the passenger experience is friction-free and enables them to slow down and feel good, before getting on their flight.


So, if you could redesign this lounge from scratch, what's important to you and what would you do?
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Old Jan 26, 20, 9:58 am
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Double the size?
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:00 am
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To be honest, the layout has never bothered me too much. And with the recent furniture refresh and the first wing, everything is in a reasonably new condition.

The biggest issue I have is with the catering.
The troughs of brown slop on the buffet hardly scream premium at me. More school canteen.

The recent addition of the afternoon tea table as you enter the eating area is a good start.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:03 am
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Currently in T5 GF and I'll post more comprehensively later but in my experiences here there is often never enough seating, especially for pairs, families etc and currently where I am. The lack of Power/USB points etc are also an issue too.

In general terms I'm not sure if BA/Oneworld F lounges have a 'minimum to maximum' floor space for seating but I'm all ears as I really know nothing about that!

OT but walking past The Royal Opera House in London last I thought that was quite a stunning building architecturally and the seating within from a quick look seemed very modern and charming. So more /better seating plans and definitely power!!

Nice thread
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:07 am
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For starters, the champagne bar and lounge section leading towards it have never been appealing to me. They are dull, the wall and ceilings are bland and above all, the space lacks theatre or excitement. The adjacent Work and Entertainment space is dead and completely underutilised. This section of the lounge could be much more vibrant and inviting.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:11 am
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Include phone booths for people to use for their meetings.

Signs prohibiting phone use in lounge. Signs prohibiting putting shoes on tables.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:13 am
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Whereas I love the Champagne bar area as it has the quietest ambience in the lounge and fewest people. The single biggest benefit would be seating arrangements to suit ALL the different traveller groups. Too much of the seating is orientated around couples of groups of people whereas many travel solo but then have to sit near other people. More privacy is desperately needed. Also the concept of a phone booth for those desperate to make a call - and staff to enforce their use!
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Old Jan 26, 20, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
Whereas I love the Champagne bar area as it has the quietest ambience in the lounge and fewest people. The single biggest benefit would be seating arrangements to suit ALL the different traveller groups. Too much of the seating is orientated around couples of groups of people whereas many travel solo but then have to sit near other people. More privacy is desperately needed. Also the concept of a phone booth for those desperate to make a call - and staff to enforce their use!
This is where the Pier F lounge works well. The seat groups consists of 6 to 8 armchairs positioned on three sides around a central feature table. As the armchairs are spaced far enough apart, with individual tables nested between, I find this very comfortable even while sharing the space with strangers.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 11:48 am
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I cannot think of an Emerald lounge anywhere in the world that handles the same footfall. The biggest improvement would be to make it more difficult to get access, then the actual financial spend per guest can increase, which should drive catering quality and staff/guest ratio.

The comments ahead of mine do focus on the sheer number of people in the lounge, and the subsequent issues of finding seats, finding quieter spots to work in etc....
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:16 pm
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there are no brilliant seating options for solo travellers - other than those few armchairs along the window by the water / drinks bar

perhaps some area (the work / champagne area - which is quite underused?) could be redone like the Flagship Miami lounge with those quite private solo seats in a quieter space?
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:31 pm
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Having someone set the Air conditioning to a temperature lower than downtown Singapore
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:48 pm
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Replace the noisy, hot chillers with chillers whose heat exhaust is transported away from the lounge instead of exhausted into the lounge space to heat it up.

My local Sainsbury's store did this several years ago - the hot air is carried out via overhead ducts. This not only avoids dumping heat into the space near the chiller, but is also significantly quieter.

If a midrange supermarket can do it, how about a premium airline?

Also, install power sockets (with USB charging) at all seats including the bench seating in the eating areas and all armchairs everywhere in the lounge.

I honestly don't understand the relentless "brown slop" complaints. There's been a noticeable decrease in anonymous casserole/sauce dishes in the past couple of years and I find the buffet of today, or even of the past year, to be quite adequate.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
My favourite lounge is the Pier at HKIA.
Funnily enough I was reading through your (impressively long) post and up until this line I was simply thinking... just look at the Pier! Glad you beat me to it. It should certainly serve as a benchmark of what can be done.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:54 pm
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one of the first improvements that need to be made is the heat factor in the lounge..
its is always too hot and the air always feel stale.
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Old Jan 26, 20, 12:59 pm
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Install enough toilets so you don’t have to constantly wait.
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