Etihad's premium lounge open

The look is contemporary with furniture from Poltrona Frau.

NEWS, Design

International design agency Above Consultancy has revealed the first phase of its multi-million dollar refurbishment of the premium lounge for Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The opening of the First Class Lounge is the first part of the two-stage design process, with the second phase - a premium Business Class Lounge due to be opened in mid- March.

Lead designer Michelle Le Masurier outlined the design brief: "This was a real opportunity for us to put across a great brand image for Etihad, which is a new and important airline. So we wanted something contemporary and progressive but not too futuristic."

"There is a tendency with airline lounges to go for the futuristic look but the problem with this is that it ages quickly."

The lounge features furnishings sourced from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, including leather products from Italian furniture designers Poltrona Frau. All were manufactured specifically for the lounge.

A relaxation zone with ergonomically designed beds, a TV area including individual viewing pods and a library completes the entertainment facilities.

"The lounge is catering for an affluent market so we needed to encapsulate a feel of opulence and luxury with the interior design. The sofas we picked are very sumptuous, you sink into them and the dining room and bar mirrors something that you would see in the top hotels," added Le Masurier.

The dining area also features a glass-clad show kitchen, which provides a theatrical focal point. A spa featuring Dornbracht's RainSky E showers is built from stone, coloured glass and Italian mosaic tiling.

At 855 m², the new facility is more than three times the size of the previous lounge and will be able to cater for up to 200 customers at a time. The same concept will be applied to the upcoming premium lounge in Abu Dhabi Airport's Terminal 3.

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