Inspiration Blog: 6 ways art improves the airport customer journey


Airports are increasingly becoming destinations on their own. Arttenders’ Loreto Bazo has curated a list of 6 airports that have provided tailor made answers to the challenges this entails. Her research on the airport customer journey of business passengers has provided her with clear insights in experiential needs as well as spatial challenges. This blog is structured according to the passenger flow within different touchpoints at the airport. From wayfinding to parking, meeting points, retail opportunities, security checkpoint and business lounge.

Wayfinding at Narita International Airport, Tokyo

This recently unveiled installation in Terminal 3 of Narita International Airport in Tokyo was created by Japanese design studio PARTY. The concept simply features colorful running tracks to celebrate the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The blue tracks take travellers to the departure halls while the red ones lead to the arrival area. The use of colors is appropriately connected with the idea of flying the blue skies and landing back on earth.

The running tracks have a strong functional aspect, replacing more costly and commonplace solutions such as illuminated signs. While subtle and understated, this example explores the possibilities that lie within wayfinding. Also, it thinks outside of the airport framework and connect the space with a worldwide sports event.

Arttenders Narita International Airport Tokyo running tracks

Photo credits: Kenta Hasegawa

Parking at San Diego International Airport, California

Artist Mark Reigelman has designed these vertical structures depicting aircraft formations in the parking area of the San Diego International Airport in California. The parking lot is the very first encounter travelers have with the airport. Whether picking someone up or travelling yourself, the mundane activity of parking is taken a step further.

By using striking colors, the area becomes easily recognizable. A benefit when trying to find your car. It even has the potential of becoming a meeting point for passengers, whilst also highlighting the ‘aeronautical innovation in the region’, to use the words of the artist himself. By employing arts and crafts techniques of the local people, Formation adds a socially conscious element to this installation. It is a reminder that not all innovative and impactful solutions need to be found inside the airport’s terminal.

Arttenders Mark Reigelman San Diego International Airport California

Photo credits: Pablo Mason

Retail and hospitality designed by Autoban in Baku, Azerbaijan

These cocoon shaped structures, designed by Autoban, can be found inside the terminal of Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku. Located throughout different floors, they house different facilities that range from shops to bars. Passengers can spend their waiting time in style and are partially secluded from the usual buzz of passengers movement.

The sleek design and use of natural materials encourage potentially stressed passengers to discover what’s inside. By placing seating areas and green touches nearby, the overall cocoon landscape creates a sense of being in a natural spot in a wonderfully remote location. This example completely redefines the idea of hospitality and interior design at airports.

Arttenders Heydar Alijev International Airport Baku Cocoons

Photo credits: Kerem Sanliman

Meeting point by Carve at Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore

This jaw dropping installation at Jewel Changi Airport is designed and created by Carve studio as a playground, viewing deck and striking sculptural piece. This showstopper makes the delights of children, families and other passengers that think of airports as mere transport hubs.

The use of reflective materials and bright yellow makes it all the more appealing and emphasizes the natural light coming from the high ceilings. It is also a (literally!) brilliant wayfinding solution and meeting point that will help passengers navigate through the space. This newly (2019) unveiled installation will surely become a landmark among the many attractions found at Jewel Changi Airport. An all-round winner!

Arttenders Jewel Changi Airport Carve studio playground

Security checkpoint at San Francisco Airport, by Janet Echelman

Airy, light and calming, this installation by Janet Echelman was positioned at the post-security concourse at San Francisco Airport. It helps passengers release stress after going through security at the airport. This procedure consistently rates as one of the most negative experiences for passengers. Passers-by felt lifted and rewarded with the soft moving sculpture. It made them feel connected to the outside of the airport terminal.

Moreover, it has strong links to the city’s history, used as a storytelling tool by the artist. This can be appreciated in the chosen colour palette of the floaty structures and the nets which evoke San Francisco’s role as a harbour city. The artist’s vision proved to be the perfect example of how to tie an airport to its location. Striking and impossible to ignore, this artwork has proven to be newsworthy as well. It coped the covers of press outlets such as The New York Times and Business Insider.

Arttenders Janet Echelman Every Beating Second San Francisco Airport

Photo credits: Becky Borlan

Business lounge at Ataturk Airport, Turkey

Spectacularly designed, the Turkish Airlines business lounge in Ataturk Airport has all the possible amenities on offer to please business passengers. Autoban design studio completed this impressive space away from the frenzy and buzzing airport halls.

Each area in this highly compartmentalized  space serves a different function: resting rooms, a restaurant, tea garden, library and even a movie theatre. Its design incorporates Turkish elements and gives foreign passengers a last taste of the country before returning home. Not only is it considered one of the best Business Class airport lounges in the world, it also happens to be the largest, boasting a capacity of 1000 customers.

Arttenders Turkish Airlines business lounge Ataturk Airport

Photo credits: Autoban