Private aviation company NetJets is unveiling a collaboration with design studio Timorous Beasties for their Signature Series Challenger 350 jet. The plane was modeled by the company in close collaboration with aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, and this newly decorated, chevron-motifed version is making its inaugural flight today to celebrate the private flights company’s ongoing partnership with Art Basel.

The tail design takes cues from their sophisticated red, white and blue stripe which features on their jets, and at first looks like an abstract motif of blurred zig-zag stripes. On closer inspection, the stripes become a fleet of moths applied in a geometric arrangement over the tail.

‘Moths are a recurring insect in our work,’ explains Paul Simmons, who with Alistair McCauley founded Timorous Beasties in 1990. When asked by NetJets to create a design that complements the notion of air travel, they chose to focus on the ‘unsung heroes’ of the insects world. ‘A moth is a more difficult motif,’ continues Simmons, noting how a butterfly would have been a more obvious option. ‘Everybody does butterflies, from Damien Hirst to Laura Ashley,’ the designer half-jokes, ‘but moths are more on a mission: nocturnal, calm, silent – there is more depth to them.’

The motif was also inspired by cars and planes, and applied to the tail of the jets letting some of the metal underneath come through, for an added three-dimensional effect.

‘Art is a topic close to many of our customers’ hearts,’ says Marine Eugene, at the helm of sales for NetJets Europe. This collaboration gives a new dimension to the company's sophistication – and with 110 flights scheduled for Art Basel next week, the combination of air travel and art is going to be stronger than ever.