virgin atlantic airways: new upper class bar and cabin by VW+BS studio
original content
may 08, 2012
virgin atlantic airways: new upper class bar and cabin by VW+BS studio

front view of the new virgin atlantic airways bar

this spring, the first virgin atlantic airways A330 flight took off from london to new york, featuring a brand new bar and cabin,
offering passengers a new experience when up 30 000 feet in the air. the design has been developed by the international VW + BS studio
in partnership with the virgin atlantic team.

four years ago, VW + BS were approached by virgin with a test brief to
see what they could do if they had a free hand to
redesign one of their
planes. they researched the changing trends in travel and hospitality to
produce an intelligence report
that could form a reference for the
client, and determine how these new ideas could be incorporated on board
an aircraft.
the existing product that was introduced in 2003 remained a
market leader, but trends in travel were changing and virgin
determined to be the industry innovator. from the test project VW + BS
went on to develop the real thing.
the brief was very ambitious: to
create an exciting and engaging social space for passengers, while
meeting an
immense technical requirement of a wide bodied plane with the
strictest safety regulations.


within the airbus, the london-based multi-disciplinary design practice
has positioned the bar at the entry point to the plane.
after take-off it becomes a destination. the studio wanted to orient the structure
within the space to make this impact
and to create a genuinely convivial area that reflected trends
happening on the ground, with pop-up bars and the new speak easy,
while having an aesthetic that was decidedly futuristic and belonged in
the sky. the design’s new angled position re-imagines
the interior of the plane to create a
variety of smaller social spaces. here you can stand, sit and perch
around the counter.
the angles provide many different sight lines, and
people can mix in twos, or threes, or just have a quiet drink alone.

sculptural stools offer passengers a place to perch and enjoy a drink high in the sky

sculptural stools are made from machined aluminium and have a highly
polished surface to generate reflections and add

to its sense of
immateriality. the wrap around cocoon of the bar provides a seamless
skin that contains all of the paraphernalia

(oxygen kits, wheel chair
storage etc.) that is required on a modern aircraft, but also works to offer the kit for the front of house:

the glasses, the ice buckets and
the bottles of spirits that a bar must contain. the side cabinets for
the magazines and spirit bottles

are shaped to fit into this zone, but are
cut away at the top for display. the crew side of the bar is open to
the passenger

and contains all the typical airline catering carts that
are usually on display, but here are hidden away behind carefully

but robust doors with custom recessed handles. the result is
that every aspect of the bar is rigorously designed for use,

with no
superfluous space, including under-counter glass storage for the
tumblers and a back – lit angled recess to store the

new champagne

magazine racks adjacent to the bar

the colour palette is largely neutral: an off-white stone skin
for the bar itself and a champagne coloured lacquer finish
for the
remaining elements. of course there is a big splash of red – virgin
atlantic’s colour – for the front of the bar
and the same espresso
leather found on the cabin seats for the stools and perches. the mood
can be greatly enhanced
by the RGB lighting effects: different moods and
scenes can be created according to the lighting scheme.
there are
lighting strips within the cocoon skin and cleverly positioned indirect
lighting to enhance the sharp silhouettes
so that the mood is subtle and
sophisticated. the result for the passenger is a unique onboard
experience, to sip a cocktail at 30000 feet,
perched on a stool at the
longest bar in the sky in a futuristic space and let the world fly by

VW+BS project team (in partnership with virgin atlantic
design team) gautier pelegrin – team leader voon wong, ian macready,
benson saw,
stephane gouraud, li szu tan, florian dussopt, bravo charlie,
mike hotel

cabin view

crew side

the new upper class cabin interior

interior plan of the bar’s placement within the airbus

video of the new virgin atlantic bar

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions’  feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication.
see more project submissions from our readers here.

comments policy
login with designboom
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

airplanes (46 articles)

product library