Contemporary new Air New Zealand International Lounge offers multiple zones and views the runway

Travellers' International Lounge at Auckland Airport with different seating, dining options, natural light, business area and a children's play area

A custom chandelier evokes the land of the ceiling, conference hall, furniture, interior design, lobby, office, gray, black
A custom chandelier evokes the land of the long white cloud in Air New Zealands new International Lounge at Auckland Airport.

Hospitality design is about much more than looking spectacular it has to cater to and respond to the needs of those who use it. And nowhere is this more important than when the occupants are seeking a haven of relaxation prior to or after travel.

Air New Zealand has recently unveiled its new International Lounge at Auckland International Airport. The contemporary design, developed with international interior design firm Gensler, provides tailored seating zones to meet the changing needs of travellers, whether flying for work or leisure.

At over 2000m², the lounge is larger than its predecessor and comfortably seats more than 375 customers. In addition, it's now in a different area of the terminal and looks directly out over the runway. Making the most of this, the lounge features a generous-sized covered terrace with fireplace offering a year-round outdoor viewing area.

Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon says says the sleek new lounge has been designed with feedback from customers in mind.

"With a growing network and customer base, the number of high value customers using our lounge has grown and one of the most common pieces of feedback we receive on our Auckland International Lounge is around space.

Feature spaces in Air New Zealands new International auditorium, conference hall, interior design, blue, gray
Feature spaces in Air New Zealands new International Lounge at Auckland Airport include a food theatre with meals cooked to order by a resident chef at meal times, while a buffet is available at any time.

"This new lounge is significantly larger than the previous space and can accommodate around 40 percent more customers. Also recognising that our customers travel for different reasons and have different needs, we've created a mix of separate zones to offer the upmost comfort and convenience for those looking to relax, refresh or get some work done before they fly," says Luxon.

The feedback also recognised the need for the lounge as a haven and this is reinforced throughout.

The entrance was developed to conceal views into the lounge while providing a hint of what's to come, says lead designer on the project Ashley Dowell, of Gensler, Newport Beach, USA.

"The challenge was to design a flagship lounge that reflected the Air New Zealand brand, responded to the unique sense of place, and elevated the customer experience," says Dowell.

Once inside, travellers are greeted by elevated views and interiors bathed in natural light. Large-scale digital screens display looping time-lapse imagery of New Zealand scenery.

The new Air New Zealand International Lounge at architecture, chair, floor, flooring, furniture, interior design, purple, table, wall, black
The new Air New Zealand International Lounge at Auckland Airport has a variety of relaxation options.

In terms of relaxation, they are spoilt for choice with 24 different styles of seating available.

The design follows an intuitive, logical flow. From the sliding glass-door entry, customers are welcomed by a feature display wall of New Zealand wines straight ahead. Overhead digital screens at the barista zone represent a skylight displaying the vibrancy of a New Zealand sunrise or star-filled sky to draw the traveller in.

The range of spaces in the multi-zone lounge include a media room, various lounges, including a quiet lounge, a double-height children's zone and adjacent family zone, outdoor terrace with giant living wall and operable roof, spa-like shower suites, and the hero food theatre and bar areas.

"The spacial layout optimises sweeping views of the runway, with no full-height walls blocking the outlook," says Dowell. "Different seating types, ceiling heights, and flooring transitions are used to highlight the different zones, along with low walls to create a more intimate setting within a larger area."

Carpet tile and engineered stone with recycled content, along with the use of wood, contribute to the lounge's emphasis on sustainable materials.

Credit list

Design architect
David Loyola IIDA, AIA, USGBC LEED BD+C, Gensler, USA; lead designer, Ashley Dowell
Custom glass Café Chandelier in café Preciosa; general lighting Trybeka by Reggiani Illuminazione, Ibex/Moor by Raat; pendants in Business Area Niche Modern
Architect of record
Peter Keys NZIA, NZGBC, Kay & Keys
Wall treatments
Maximum Datauni porcelain tiles from The Tile People; Shale Astek wallcovering in childrens area; Xorel acoustic paneling from Carnegie; Espies black paneling

Story by: Charles Moxham

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