A closer look at AERIA Interiors
It all begins with a conversation. Understanding and engaging with clients’ visions of their private aircraft interiors is a significant part of successful design and delivery – which strongly underlines AERIA Luxury Interiors’ philosophy.
AERIA was set up in 2012 as ST Aerospace’s VIP completion and modification arm and has since been providing solutions for Boeing and Airbus corporate jets. ST Aerospace is one of the world’s leading maintenance, repair and overhaul solutions providers. Since 2015, AERIA has delivered two Boeing VIP interior completions, with a third completions project in progress. “At the present time, our hangar is full with several maintenance projects undergoing heavy C-checks, including a B737 slated to receive a full cabin refurbishment. Recently, we delivered two Boeing Business Jets with newly installed Honeywell MCS 8000 Ka band communication systems,” says Ron Soret, AERIA’s president and general manager.
Every client and every project differs: while some clients have a clear vision of how they want their interiors to look like, others are less sure, according to director of design Ken Harvey. A common design approach may also produce different but distinct styles. “We try and meet with the customer for preliminary design reviews as early in the process as possible. We’ve learned that it’s important to begin showing conceptual sketches and material samples early, because the conversation only really begins when there are design ideas to discuss,” Harvey says.
A Boeing Business Jet interior for a recent European customer featured a classic and ornamental aesthetic. Largescale 3D printing and design software were used to produce the interior’s complex and curving forms, precise trim details for switch panel and control integration, as well as intricate details of seat upholstery. The 3D printer was also able to achieve lighter weight and helped comply with flammability regulations.
A nose-to-tail B777 project for an active family featured sleek forms, exotic finishes, multiple private bedroom suites with VIP lavatories, and an expansive open-plan family lounge and dining area. The interior also featured semi-transparent white stains over linear-grained veneers, Tibetan silk carpets and customised floating ceiling light fixtures. The floorto-ceiling bulkhead with swirled-resin accent panels was designed by famed artist Alex Turco. This project was rendered by working closely with the clients’ longtime residential designer to help adapt personal styles to aviation materials and regulations. The elaborate interior was further personalised by collaborating with the client’s attendant staff on galley installations.
What customers want
Some popular elements that customers find important include divans and seats as these form direct customer interaction,
especially during long flights; balance between decorative elements such as colour and material; bathroom fixtures and surfaces, as well as lighting and flooring. After discussing layout and conceptual ideas with clients, AERIA develops materials, samples, drawings and specifications for the customer’s review. The design team works closely with engineers on interactive systems including cabin management, lighting and entertainment. The designers also work with outside vendors and in-house production departments on fittings, fixtures, upholstery as well as decor ranging from flooring to silverware and linens. A critical area of work is concentrated on providing design solutions for issues that arise between engineering, production and certification groups.
Some features that clients are able to enjoy include custom-sized and shaped OLED video screens to allow ultra-high definition images for use as artwork and decorative accents; on-board virtual reality in entertainment and education; aviation-adapted fitness devices like weight machines and treadmills; certified fullbody massage chairs, as well as advanced sleeping solutions.
It is becoming apparent that technological advancements are gradually paving new paths for aircraft interior design, such as: computerised renderings, video animation, virtual and augmented reality. Immediate, realistic and more accurate mock-ups and impressions of design are now more common, visible and accessible for customers. “While these capabilities greatly enhance the customer’s ability to truly envision their final interior, production in these highresolution mediums requires that detailed decisions must be made very early in the design process in order to be included in the renderings,” Harvey explains. “The overriding characteristic of one-off VIP interiors has always been the fact that we ‘deliver the prototype’. R&D activities by definition are accomplished on the actual delivered item, requiring that they occur as in integral part of the conceptual design process, making the completeness of the early design concepts critical for project success.”
To successfully render a “luxury of experience” (AERIA’s motto), Harvey says that the experience that provides technical knowledge and requirements for aviation production and certification, as well as the experience that allows owners to develop trust in delivering right solutions are also important. It also requires constantly engaging and exploring current and new ideas, as well as encouraging and hosting presentations by industry vendors. A timely design philosophy still falls on keeping the conversation going.
AERIA Interiors’ motto is to provide a “luxury of experience” in their commissions for clients