The airport’s sense of place has always been an important one. Over 2.5 million people travel on over 43,000 flights each day in the United States. With so many air
passengers heading to a variety of destinations, it’s
essential to find the one thing that makes the long
lines, unexpected delays and early check-ins worthwhile: the airport lounge.
As air travelers have become more insightful
through years of travel modifications, so too have
airport terminals and the spaces within them.
“Passengers who are forced to wait rather than
do something that they would be doing outside the
airport feel that time is wasted, which leads to bad
reviews, frustration and a lack of airline or airport
loyalty in a market that continues to become more
value- and deal-oriented,” says Ginger Gee DiFurio,
an aviation designer for Corgan.
Together, she and colleague Beth Schmidt have
worked on numerous terminals, sky clubs for major
airlines like Delta and American Airlines, American
Express lounges and more around the world. With
their combined experience of nearly 20 years in the field, both have noticed
how, with the help of technology, aviation design has moved from efficient
bag-and-passenger movement to more human-centric design.
“In the last 10 years, aviation design has evolved into evidence-based
design, with passenger experience being one of the most important factors to
consider,” says DiFurio. She notes how airports today try to emulate the feeling
of being the first destination in a journey and now include amenities, activities,
entertainment and relaxation, so much so that passengers are encouraged to
arrive early rather than wait for their departure or potential delays.
This also means that once highly-sought-after WiFi and recharging stations are now commonplace, as travelers expect more from the space that
transports them to the next. DiFurio and Schmidt point out two trends that
have become must-haves in both terminals and lounges: a feeling of local
culture that provides a starting point for the passenger’s overall destination
and a sense of exclusivity with featured amenities for club and lounge users.
“Airports really are the front door to cultures and locations, and as such
they give us our first impression of what our trip may entail,” says DiFurio,
who adds that incorporating local materials and color palettes that exude
the character of a city help instill this impression and can be a prideful
representation for locals of their homes.
This reminded the duo of one of their favorite projects: a curved sculptural
wall they designed for the American Express Club at Miami International Airport.
26 interiors+sources october2018 interiorsandsources.com
to lighting and
Gee DiFurio and
design many of
the lounges, hold
rooms and concourses shaping
interiors | REPORT | By Adrian Thompson | Images courtesy of Corgan
The Shenzhen Airport New Satellite Concourse
Design Competition was one of DiFurio’s and
Schmidt’s favorite projects.