OUR LOUNGE ATMOSPHERE
The first question that arises in the mind of the architect working on this type of building is a purely functional one related to the actual purpose of the building – its function in terms of the flow of people and goods. It is the classic issue when tackling an airport terminal, but the answer as to how these flows of people and goods are managed produces the main idea and so the general direction.
A particular volume rapidly emerges; a choice has to be made. It is either the functional or aesthetics that are given priority. Consensus is rare even among the greatest architects.
Here, pure aesthetics could not compete against the need to work within the constraints. Finally, after several attempts, the function dictates. And prevails throughout the project. Once the overall themes have been determined, the constraints of the site itself arise. In our case, the most difficult thing was integrating it into the site.
Two things in particular substantially reduce the possible layouts : the surface area of the future building, although comfortable, is not well proportioned especially when the offices then planned for the upper floor are taken into account. The available area as envisaged is either
not quite elongated enough or is too square.
In addition, there are two large hangars, which flank the building and severely limit the possibilities of providing natural light. It is exactly at this moment, when the observation has been made and does not seem to be particularly favourable, that the liveliest and most destructive stage in the creation process comes into play – and it has to be said, the most exciting as well. The project is entering a phase of going back and forth between the design in the mind of the architect, what comes out on paper and what takes shape on the screen. Moments of doubt where the imagination struggles to express itself freely even though constrained not only by the physical and social limitations of the
site but also by standards and schedules.
However, despite this apparent dichotomy, the project comes to functional maturation. It undergoes a final cosmetic facelift to make it coherent, pleasant and potentially remarkable. Next is the highly anticipated interior design stage when I brought JB into the process to help me reveal the project’s qualities and correct its ” visual communication ” faults.
The choice of materials and colours seems almost a formality because it almost imposes itself : sober and efficient, light and practical, identifiable without being too simplistic. Achieved with remarkable ease, but it happens more often than you may think, simply because the project ” naturally ” dictates – through experience of the constraints, volumes and perspectives.
To overcome the lack of openings, light colours were favoured, giving free scope to the interpretation of the discreet and elegant ” red Afrijet ” colour, the only reminder of the image cultivated by the sponsoring company. If it were possible to keep only one special design touch in this project it would be the ” box in box ” designed by JB as in itself it sums up the whole idea of the project.
Basically functional, bringing together all the services travellers require – check – in, amenities, restaurants and boarding – while guiding them smoothly to their destinations. Concluding the creative stage, technical studies are conducted jointly with qualified engineers to refine and above all make what a few days earlier was still just an idea, finally possible.