Cool Com­fort


Azure - - SPOTLIGHT - WORDS _Ana Domínguez Siemens PHO­TO­GRAPHS _David Zar­zoso

Air­ports are chaotic places. So when pas­sen­gers seek refuge in a lounge, the top thing they crave is a sense of or­der and quiet. This de­sire is per­fectly in tune with the prin­ci­ples of Span­ish de­signer Francesc Rifé, who has made or­der, sym­me­try and pro­por­tion the trade­marks of his prac­tice. When called in to de­sign the Colom­bian na­tional air­line’s new flag­ship VIP Lounge at El Do­rado In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Bo­gotá, Rifé ex­er­cised pre­ci­sion and ap­plied a re­lax­ing pal­ette to cre­ate an oa­sis that mixes com­fort and en­ter­tain­ment.

En­com­pass­ing 3,500 square me­tres, Avianca’s lounge could have felt cav­ernous. To counter this ef­fect, Rifé or­ga­nized ar­eas to meet the var­i­ous needs of both busi­ness- and first-class trav­ellers, the pur­pose of each space iden­ti­fied with a name such as “Stay Con­nected,” “Rest­ing Area” or “En­joy Your Meal.” The ap­proach es­chews the tra­di­tional con­cept of lounges as places to merely sit and wait. In­stead, Avianca’s fos­ters myr­iad ex­pe­ri­ences – pas­sen­gers can se­quester them­selves in a quiet area or so­cial­ize in open zones, depend­ing on their mood.

Keeping in mind such air­port-im­posed re­stric­tions as ceil­ing height and gen­eral light­ing lev­els, Rifé in­cor­po­rated a se­ries of “mi­cro ar­chi­tec­tures” within which he could play more freely with pro­por­tions and il­lu­mi­na­tion. For example, he de­signed tow­er­ing aux­il­iary stand­ing lamps whose me­tal struc­tures hold aloft canopies of light and mimic the form of a lo­cal tree species. For seat­ing, Rifé mixed cus­tom pieces with ones drawn from his port­fo­lio for Span­ish brands Carmenes and Capdell. He also in­cluded fur­ni­ture by Claes­son Koivisto Rune and Jorge Pensi and light­ing by Ramos & Bas­sols.

Colom­bia it­self in­spired the pal­ette, which is dom­i­nated by a soft grey that evokes an in­dige­nous stone. In­tro­duced through car­pet and ceramic floor tiles, the sooth­ing tone is en­livened with hits of inky black and warm wal­nut that help cre­ate a dra­matic aes­thetic with­out feel­ing omi­nous. In a fur­ther nod to the re­gion, caña flecha – a species of tall grass used to make tra­di­tional som­breros – was fash­ioned into sound-ab­sorb­ing pan­els. rife-de­

ABOVE: A moody qual­ity de­fines one of two quiet ar­eas, where pri­vacy and a hushed en­vi­ron­ment take prece­dence.

FAR LEFT: With seat­ing for just over 50, “Feel at Home” is the largest area for wait­ing and re­lax­ing. The Bud arm­chairs are by Francesc Rifé Stu­dio for Carmenes.

LEFT: The bar area(or “Have a Drink”) fea­tures both lounge chairs and bar stools. Grey walls and floors main­tain a tran­quil vibe.

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