London-based Studioilse has transformed a corner of Hong Kong’s international airport into a new 2,000 sq metre first class lounge for Cathay Pacific. ‘Before we designed a single thing we started questioning what luxury really means to first class travellers today,’ says Studioilse founder Ilse Crawford. ‘We spent a lot of time in lounges watching and talking with people. It was riveting.’
The result is a world away from the typical corporate lounge aesthetic to a space more akin to an elegant apartment, except in this one, the living room, library and dining room comes with a well-being area, signature fragrance and curated music.
All the familiar luxe design tropes like deep leather armchairs and tasteful artworks are present and correct but the understated interiors also sports Crawford’s subtle layering of comfort, materiality, and unobtrusive functionality. Thoughtfully arranged seating, soft lit table lamps, plush rugs, and tables with hidden built-in electrical and USB outlet strips are small but important details. ‘It is about space organized around the individual human being instead of the 800 travellers using the lounge each day,’ says Crawford.
The designer’s trademark use of natural materials is also on show with limestone floors, a graceful matt jade green onyx entrance, and an impressive onyx and brass horseshoe cocktail bar in the living room. Furniture and lighting feature investment pieces such as the Diz chair by Brazilian designer Sergio Rodriguez, the Clover Leaf sofa by Verner Panton and Lindsey Adelman’s brass and glass Agnes chandelier.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the day lounge. Arrive early for a classic head and foot massage and then retreat to your bijou private room to read, sleep or observe the airport’s frenetic runway from the comfort of your own day bed.