The Goal: Injecting Life and Excitement into Airport Seating
For the past decade, Arconas and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) have built a partnership based on trust and mutual respect. BOS airport had a formula for airport seating options, and they stayed on the straight and narrow, knowing the airport’s traffic patterns and wear frequency lent itself to black, sturdy, and no frills. It worked well for many years.
When Terminal B was in the middle of expansion plans, however, the airport’s Board of Directors decided to shake up the formula a bit. The Board wanted to inject life and excitement, with an upbeat mood. What they had in mind was a contemporary look and feel, but with high-quality passenger amenities and vitality; they asked the architect at AECOM for ideas for ways to incorporate more color.
After ten years, Arconas knew BOS well, and they knew that what they needed was something durable, but fun – exciting, but able to withstand the thousands of passengers who would alight on each chair every year. Adding colour was a great idea, in theory, but the life-cycle costs would be higher than with their usual furniture, and the wear and tear on lighter, brighter colours could create a maintenance issue if used on a large scale.
The airport was given a very specific directive, and wanted to meet the directive of higher customer service and inviting feel. Arconas worked with them to find the best solution to achieve their goal and still consider the long-term O&M of the asset and the ease of operating with that product in the space.
In addition to its standard Flyaway seating, the airport chose Aerea™, Arconas’ versatile modular beam/soft hybrid seating. It’s designed for high-traffic areas but has a classy, elegant look that would not feel out of place in a VIP lounge. “We wanted to help them create the atmosphere they requested to meet their goals, but in a practical way that would please both the passenger experience and the operations staff,” says Arconas Vice President Lynn Gordon. “We met with the architect and director of capital programs, and we came up with a compromise: colour blocking.”
The Solution: Colour Blocking
Colour blocking is a way to use colour strategically, using practical colours on the high-wear seat cushions and brighter, mood-setting tones on the seat backs that catch people’s eyes. AECOM also took a zone approach versus a broad-brush stroke across the terminal. Sections of black seating were recommended for BOS, with various hues splashed in a strategic layout.
“We used colours to delineate zones, like pumpkin, cranberry, and goldenrod, which are mirrored in the lighting and seating. It’s a subliminal wayfinding for people to find where they are, like color zones in parking lots. It’s more fun and lively.”
Valerie Curtis was the lead consultant from AECOM, and worked closely with Arconas to fulfill the airport’s wishes.
“The idea was to have a spectrum of colour that progressed the whole 600 feet of the concourse,” says Curtis. “The floor and the walls were assigned a colour, and at the gate doors we also used the accent colour for continuity.”
Geometrically, all of the seats were set up at a 45-degree angle to the wall. Passengers see the colours full-on as they walk by, which is unusual. It commands more space, says Curtis, but it’s very effective to show off the colour and create a flow. The floor pattern was set at the same diagonal as the seats, and on every column, there is an accent stripe that aligns with the seating.
Another benefit to the colour blocking scheme was that the total costs were slightly higher, but significantly less than if the airport had chosen full colour. Arconas’ Flyaway seating also utilized a slipcover upholstery method for the coloured seats, which means easier replacement when they start to show wear and tear.
Solution, Part 2: …and outlets for all
BOS also made it very clear that they required full one-to-one power options for every seat, making them the first terminal in the US to provide this type of coverage in an amenity.
“Passengers truly appreciate the availability of power outlets in the terminal,” says Gordon. “When passengers aren’t afraid to lose their power source, they get up and move around more. And they shop.”
As well as the outlet availability at every chair, Arconas also recommended inPower™ Bar counters, which offer plug-and-play AC and USB power, to delineate breaks between the gates. The open plan offered passengers a power option at a comfortable bar area. Since all electrical components are certified to UL standards, the inPower™ Bar only required a single power source; this allowed the airport to add it to the layout without any additional costly hard-wiring.
“We worked closely with our local rep in the Boston area,” says Gordon. “He practically lived at Logan for a month when this was installed; he was hands on and was there for every segment. He wanted to be sure it was right.”
“Arconas has been so responsive to this client and to us, and the service has been excellent,” says Curtis. “I appreciate the customer service, and they have all of the resources we needed at our fingertips.”
The Boston airport’s new look has been highly regarded by both airport employees and customers alike. The airport has recently made airport-wide free WiFi internet access available, and their wide selection of retail outlets are even easier to enjoy in the new terminal. The many famous local eateries and fine restaurants at the airport will benefit from the updated look and feel.
“Boston Logan recognized the need for the extra hospitality touches that passengers today require,” said Gordon. “Now, there are cup holders, power outlets, and tables everywhere you look. The new concessions are fantastic, and that, along with the bright, lively colours inspires passengers to get up and move – and leave the airline lounges. The result is more revenue for the airport, overall.”
Curtis has heard from friends and family who have visited the airport and reported positive feedback on the layout and amenities at BOS.
“People really want comfort and accessibility to electrical outlets and more comfortable seating; something that makes people feel at home,” Curtis says. “Having creature comforts in terms of concessions and outlets is important. It makes a stressful experience less so.”
FACTS AND FIGURES:
Boston Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts
Outlets for nearly every seat in the terminal; cup holders; ADA-compliant seating/counters
Length of project:
Number of units:
544 Flyaway Seats
22 Aerea Seats with 18 Aerea Tables
8 inPower Bars
12 Flyaway Benches