Following on from our 10 years of experience in International Airline Lounge design, working with United Airlines and the Star Alliance lounges in Hong Kong, we were invited by Qantas to design their First and Business Class Lounges at Sydney International Airport.

The aim was to create a new direction for Qantas, elevating their product offering to an international level and providing a superior class of comfort and service to their premium customers.

The new lounges were to be situated on the upper level of the Departures area, above the largest Duty Free store in the Southern Hemisphere, which was already in operation. Our first challenge was to meet the seating numbers Qantas required, providing their new standard of amenities, bars, food area, café, wine bars, restaurants, showers and private zones within an enormous rectangular space. 

During construction, our second challenge was to organize the drilling of 700 core holes without affecting or damaging the Duty Free fitout below. We achieved this without mishap by carrying out the works at night. 

The First Class lounges were luxurious, private and intimate, with commissioned artworks integrating into wall finishes and lighting details. Beginning with the stunning simplicity of the centrepiece mother-of-pearl panels in the lounge entry, our selection of materials and finishes combined to create a sense of light and space – a calming atmosphere of understated opulence. 

One of our custom designed elements was the system of adjustable screen walls that allowed customers the flexibility to create their own private, personal space. Whilst defining the separation of space, the semi-permeable walls also provided view-through panels to allow light in, maintaining an open spacial atmosphere. Feature washbasin configurations in the bathrooms were an experience in themselves – much admired by customers.

Enhancing the customer experience and stimulating brand loyalty are central to our design philosophy. We felt that keeping the BOH areas separate from FOH would accentuate and personalise the sense of seamless high-end service, allowing guests to feel relaxed and pampered for maximum enjoyment of the amenities provided.

Qantas Sydney International was voted Best Lounge in the world by the Skytrax survey of customers.