Toronto interior designer Bennett Lo shares how he and his firm dialogue 38, crafted a home away from home for travelling Canadians at Frankfurt Airport’s new Maple Leaf Lounge.
What was the goal of this project?
With the Frankfurt Maple Leaf Lounge, we wanted to create something special and different. We also thought the design should reflect Air Canada’s mission statement (Connecting Canada and the World). The majority of your passengers are Canadian so we envisioned a space that references home and also has a strong wow factor.
How did you create that ‘home away from home’ feeling?
Travel can be quite stressful. Our aim was to create a comfortable environment where passengers can feel like they are being taken care of. We used a lot of raw materials so the lounge feels cozy. It’s also designed to accommodate a variety of activities – passengers can take a nap in one of the sleeping pods, grab a bite at the bistro, socialize in the Canada Room, or catch up on work in the Business Centre.
What is the Canada Room?
At the centre of the lounge there’s a leisure space that’s intended to mimic the feel of a hotel lobby. Since Canada is the core inspiration behind the design, we decided to decorate the space with homegrown furniture and artwork. The wooden coffee tables are Canadian-designed, while the giant slabs of Eramosa marble that adorn the walls come from a quarry in Owen Sound, Ontario. On the platform at the centre of the room, you’ll also find red glass vases, which were created by one of the country’s best-known glass blowers, Jeff Goodman.
How did the sleeping pods in our Executive First Service inspire the pods in the lounge?
The pods are an extension of your in-flight experience. Frankfurt Airport is a busy hub and often times, passengers will arrive early in the morning off the red-eye and have to wait several hours before boarding their connecting flight. The sleeping pods are a calm space where they can rest; each pod measures about 36 square feet and is equipped with a TV.
Are there any other elements of the lounge that are an extension of the in-flight?
We tried to emulate Air Canada’s signature red lighting by installing something similar at the base of the reception desk and along the ceiling in the Canada Room. On the plane, the lights dim and brighten depending on the stage of the flight, so we made sure to offer this type of flexibility in the lounge.
What two words would you use to describe the lounge?
Inspiring and Canadian!