Project Name: A350 VVIP Welcome Home

Date completed: 31 May 2016

Interior Designer: Michael Reichenecker

An innovative design to meet the demands of VVIP customers; privacy for valuable family time, connectivity in regard to all communication channels and a comprehensive approach toward health and well-being. At EBACE 2016 Lufthansa Technik’s design department unveiled its brand-new Airbus A350 VVIP interior concept, called ‘Welcome Home’. The unique cabin is placing the human being in the centre of the story and emphasises a comprehensive approach towards health and well-being on-board. It promotes flexible areas for privacy or valuable family time and provides super connectivity in regard to all communication channels.

Taking into account the often extremely tense life styles of its VIP customers, the ‘Welcome Home’ concept has been consequently optimized to offer a perfect ambience for recreation and relaxation whilst travelling. Travel time should become quality time. For many VIP customers time is a rare commodity and family is immensely important. A demanding lifestyle that requires frequent travelling and constant high attention to business and other topics must be balanced by valued family time and relaxation in a healthy environment. The ‘Welcome Home’ concept strives to fulfil these different aspects. The idea is meant to be much more than just a healthy surrounding in an aircraft. The goal is to create a flying experience that lets you arrive more relaxed and strengthened than when you started the journey.

Environment and materials, food quality, relaxation and noise, smell and other factors have an impact on how humans feel. So, taking into account the specific requirements Lufthansa’s customers have, the design solution must result in a combination of features that can all potentially cater to a higher sense of well- being. Consequently, the first design priority was to move away from the ever adding of box type rooms and instead to create more flexible areas that can be opened and combined for better social interaction and closed for full privacy if so desired. Located in the most favourable area in regard to noise and aircraft movement, the front part of the aircraft, the ‘Family Flex Area; facilitates a large and airy private space comparable to an expensive hotel suite. An office within this area focuses on private conversations or interactive video conferencing, allowing the VIP to place themselves in the midst of their staff whenever required.

The guest lounge entertains with a cinema size screen and offers a new lighting approach. In the designer’s patent pending new ‘Living Lining’ concept ceilings and walls themselves turn into lighting elements. Dedicated areas such as the ceiling over the dining table can be specifically lit up, while other areas are moodily dimmed down. Imitations of clouds can be depicted, even animated, and aside of pre-sets any individual lighting requirement can be reproduced.

‘Welcome Home’ also sets new standards regarding healthy on board food preparation. A new induction platform has been integrated and allows for fresh food cooking on board. The all-in-one solution includes a power unit, an exhaust fan, and a special cover, which ensures that pots and pans remain in place even during turbulence. In the AFT of the cabin a large SPA area has been introduced which welcomes guests with a humidifying water feature and otherwise offers a relaxing steam bath, a massage shower, and a massage table that may also double as a passenger transport unit (PTU) if so required. Top sound quality and individual lighting let guests immerse fully in a deeply relaxing surrounding.

The whole cabin comprises about 270 square metres (about 2,900 sq ft). Even though the design was originally developed for an A350 cabin, the flexibility of the concept allows the adaption to other wide-body aircraft, too. The leading idea that air travel should be as relaxing, or even more than on the ground has doubtless been the key aspect of this concept. Mandatory elements that stand responsible for well-being such as higher air humidification, healthy food, the possibility to seclude to a quiet pod, have been consequently introduced into the design. Ultimately, and particularly in any aircraft, design must synchronize with technical aspects in order to result in a great solution. Lufthansa Technik believe, at least to a point, they have been able to accomplish that with this concept.

The concept has been initiated by an in-depth survey regarding the requirements of potential customers as well as the design possibilities of the specific aircraft model. The abundance of space and a more convenient cabin air pressure led to the understanding that health and well-being of the passengers should be the defining feature of the concept, essentially placing the human being in the centre of the story. They believe that they have taken a first step into a different understanding of what air travel can be. Rather than enduring air travel as a mere necessity to get from A to B more quickly, they want to open up possibilities to see it more as a continuation of a healthy life style.