Sunday, September 18, 2011

Byzantine Chic at the Airport

Turkish airlines recently unveiled their new First Class/Business class lounge at Istanbul’s International Airport. Sometimes one shudders at the banality of airports and airport lounges around the world. Very few airlines get it right and passengers are met with bland lounges that cannot escape the fact that one is in an airport waiting for the departure of a flight.

Given Turkey’s rich artistic heritage the airline has hit the nail on the head, in a lounge that just oozes an ambience of Byzantine Chic, with a 21st century jet set edge. The airline has used curved arches which reflect Turkey’s Ottoman roots and heritage to give a modern and fresh take on travel and to alleviate the boredom one associates with waiting in an airport.

What is truly remarkable is the atmosphere created by the juxtaposition of startlingly modern architectural elements with the appearance of classical dome representing thousands of years of culture in the Ottoman Empire. The illusion of depth created by the use of mirrors makes the new lounge incredibly light and spacious. As a result of this superb architectural solution the lounge offers at once a quiet oasis for those who want to rest, a fashionable restaurant for those who want to enjoy the pleasure of eating and drinking, and a tranquil cafe with soft piano music for those who want to read a good book.

The lounge which features a 150-year old olive tree is able to accommodate 2,000 passengers per day. The lounge is divided into several sections, among which are a billiard hall and library, a TV wall, business centre, and a play room for children. The lounge also includes private relaxation rooms, showers with special toiletry kits, and a private infant room.

Now I cannot afford to travel at the pointy end of the plane so I cannot see myself ever gracing the threshold of this wonderful lounge. The only thing that mars this for me is picturing the actual business class traveler occupying this space. Whenever I am trudging my way to the back of the plane or exiting, the business class cabin always seems to be occupied by the less than glamorous. On exit the business class cabin always looks as if a bomb has hit it. Will they appreciate this fabulous interior and all its services?


  1. Without a doubt, Istanbul is the most unorganized, chaotic airport I've ever traveled through. Lines are meaningless, if existent; nothing happens on schedule; and services are few and far between. I loved the city, but wanted to scream in the airport.

    This lounge may be a welcome respite, but I doubt anyone will be able to find it.

    And I couldn't agree more about business class trash. Dreadful. Pick up after yourself already.

  2. David, This is a fabulous space and I certainly hope it will be used and appreciated by many every day!


    Art by Karena

  3. Byzantine chic - YES!!!! What a great find David. I can't stand the mess people leave on their seats after a flight, clean passengers should be able to visit this lounge instead! :) Hope you had a nice weekend.

  4. Wow- beautiful- I would not mind laying over in that space- but then again laying over in any first class lounge is okay with me.

  5. Hello David:
    We agree entirely - wonderfully stylish and innovative and so very, very different from what one has, sadly, come to expect of an airport. But, like you, we feel that the actual passengers will do little to enhance this chic environment.

  6. goooosh i want to head in this airport!!
    it looks like a super great dream!! the structure is amazing!!!!

    Syriously in Fashion
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  7. David, this space reminded me of the James Bond movie! It is so in the character of the many Bond books! What an amazing structure!!!I am wishing you wonderful day.:-)

    Anya of Couture Millinery Atelier

  8. I was at the Istanbul airport last year, and this must have happened post that. Love this space. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great week ahead.

  9. wow!!! It's an airport!!! Is better than my house!! Mother of God!

    The pictures are amazing!!!

    kisses and have a nice day!!

    Adrien Loren

  10. This airport is absolutely beautiful. Stylish, innovative, amazing. The structure is perfect.
    Great post as always.

  11. Loved it, David! I cant wait to go to Istanbul. And we think in Montreal we are the design capital of...Canada?

    Our airport looks like a bus station.

    This is pure class.

  12. You are absolutely right. Probably the "business people" deserve the "business lounges" they get. But life isn't fair, or is it?
    Bravo for Turkish Airlines anyway, so difficult to be brave in such world.
    Needless to say, bravo to you, another "chosen" Post.

  13. Really cool! Love the architecture, really innovative.

  14. I really like this nod to the Byzantine Empire. The arches serve the dual purpose of creating loftiness and dividing space in an intimate way, quite a design feat!

  15. wow, i can't believe how amazing this looks, i love it!

    Costin M.

  16. how nice it would be to lounge in this kind of luxury...


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