Lexus gives Brussels airport a Japanese zen make-under
Business lounges might offer comfier seating, plenty of plug sockets and free pastries, but beyond these perks they rarely provide a feeling of true luxury. The Loft at Brussels Airport is a perfect example of this, kitted out as it is with functional, IKEA-like furniture that has more than a whiff of a Pret a Manger about it.
Not so the Lounge by Lexus, a brand new space adjoining The Loft. Designed by Fitch, this carefully executed brand extension could so easily have gone the obvious route – think stereotypically ‘masculine’ mahoganies and monogrammed textiles reminiscent of car interiors. Instead, the design team has created a light, luxe and interactive environment inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘omotenashi’ – hospitality catering to your guest’s every need.
The 700 sq m space is delineated by a variety of flooring: wood, marble and grey mosaic, which helps guide people through the various seating sections such as a central bar area where guests can help themselves to food and drink or cosy armchairs to relax in before a flight. The workstation, with its floating desk and high chairs is a clear contrast to the sofas, magazines and surround sound speakers in the homely ‘breakout room’.
The homely ‘breakout room’
For those with a long wait on their hands, there are impressive spa facilities including a huge shower with a ‘hammam’ option and LED lighting to set the mood. The private nap rooms are pretty special: a comfy bed and a ceiling of lights initiating the night sky, with a remote control to select a galaxy colourway. Before this, travellers may want to receive a surprisingly thorough and warming Shiatsu massage in one of the Panasonic ‘Real Pro Hot Stone’ chairs.
Lexus have largely steered clear of too much overt branding: of course there are hints throughout but it’s never overdone. You get the odd framed photographs and car models on shelving, a huge collage of mechanical parts (spray painted white) and the occasional discretely placed logo. These will all no doubt provide ‘Instagrammable’ moments to help spread the company’s lifestyle ethos to a wider audience.
The airport experience is all too often encumbered with boredom and fatigue, decked out with functional furniture that reflects the transient nature of these unavoidable places. The Lounge by Lexus has convenient, fun and welcoming features that will undoubtedly alleviate the stress and ennui of many a business class traveller.