En route to visit family in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving, we had the surprise pleasure to land at the brand new “Virgin America” terminal at the San Francisco airport. It was amazing…from the furniture configuration at the gates to the restaurants—everything was designed to a tee! But what stood out the most were the incredible art installations. Their collection was better than any museum I’ve been to recently. The above photos are of my favorite installation—huge, nebulous blobs hanging from the ceiling made of some sort of netting. They could be something both aquatic or celestial—a jellyfish or galaxy. Super cool to walk underneath and around.
Airports are particularly interesting to me because they’re the ultimate design challenge. They bring together the need for superior Signage/Wayfinding, wall and floor coverings, layout of space, look and feel of furniture and other features built for people who are waiting (i.e. electrical outlets, work stations, interesting artwork, etc). If it’s done well, you often don’t even notice—it’s a fluid experience for the traveler. But if it’s done bad it’s like being trapped in a black-hole, maze or both (i.e. dead cell phone with no plugs in sight, or having a tight connection with no idea which direction to run because of poor signage). Start paying attention to all these features next time you’re in an airport…it can actually be a fun game to pass the time.
Here are some other photos of the new SFO terminal from Californiabeat.org: