Rewriting Design For Airports

Asian Property Review interviews David Buffonge, co-founder and executive director of design firm Lead8.

What are the design trends for future airports?

The major trend which is still defining the industry is the realisation that there is more revenue to be made from non-aviation streams in airports. Today, many airports extract more than 60% of their revenue from commercial components such as retail, office and advertising. We are seeing the aviation sector tap into the work of architects and designers to create successful retail destinations.

Looking wider, as the aviation industry transforms to fully realise the potential of their entire airport sites, we are seeing new destinations within these next-generation airport cities being created. Our project SKYCITY located next to Hong Kong International Airport is a great example of this.

What new aspects are being incorporated into the design of new airports to take into consideration the new generation of travellers?

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As the sector evolves to account for increased traffic and consumer expectations, passenger and visitor experience at an airport is now at the forefront of design. The introduction of new technology and seamless travel initiatives is reducing the stress and waiting time which have been associated with air travel in the past. These technological advances are also rewriting the requirements for terminal spaces, opening up new possibilities for how passengers spend their time at airports. With check-in, immigration and security facilities being streamlined, more physical space is being given to retail, dining, entertainment and leisure within airports.

Are there any other airports which Lead8 has been commissioned to design apart from HKIA and Beijing Daxing International Airport?

At Hong Kong International Airport, we have two major projects, the HKIAT1 Boarding Gate Transformation and SKYCITY, a 350,00sqm retail-dining-entertainment destination which will be the first of its kind in Hong Kong. At Beijing Daxing International Airport, we are delivering the Commercial Landside Terminal which will open this year. We are also currently working with Kuala Lumpur International Airport and another airport in Australia which remains confidential.

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