Haute Couture For The Sky
By Alex Starace
Flying has long been a necessity for conducting high-level business. For those looking for something more classy, efficient (and less cramped) than commercial air travel, there are a number of options: owning or leasing a share from Berkshire-Hathaway’s NetJets, for example, or springing for chartered flights. Or, of course, there’s the convenience and cache of your own private jet.
But whatever your choice, you’re likely to find yourself in a fashionable space: Of late, there has been a renaissance in the interior
design of private aircraft. Leading the way are companies like Britain-based Design Q, which creates distinctive interiors for the charter aircraft market, as well as for private jets. The company’s Avro Business Jet Fusion design, for example, combines the elegance and relaxation of the private flying experience with lounge and “mood” areas that allow for easy socializing between members of a chartered group.
Design Q also personalizes private planes. The company’s design for a commissioned VVIP Airbus A380 includes a master bedroom, private lounge, and conference room – a melding of the private needs of an individual with the realities of modern business. Other high-end companies like TAG Aircraft Interiors, which partners with the Italian design house Gianni Versace S.p.A., also provide design services for the elite – TAG describes its finished product as “haute couture for the sky,” for example.
While it may seem no harder than any other type of interior design, interior designing for airplanes requires patience and expertise. All designs must be approved for safety before they can be implemented. And lightness is of the essence – the heavier the plane (and its contents), the harder it will be to achieve liftoff. In other words, products as rudimentary as dinnerware require careful consideration before being brought onboard.
Home Sweet Flight
To navigate this problem, Boutsen Aviation has an interior design division that works directly with customers to achieve a comprehensive, color-coordinated style for everything from the plane’s bed linens to its magazine racks – and to make sure the products will pass inspection. The company sources from a variety of luxury designers who are willing to custom create their products.
Boutsen, like many in the business, understands that a frequent traveler wants a home away from home – and that a well-designed aircraft can be just that.