Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse

Virgin Atlantic Airlines recently moved its Clubhouse in JFK Airport to a larger space, ditching its SHoP Architects' 2004 design for a bubbly interior by Slade Architecture. Custom couches and other lounge seating stands out across the open space. The playful design nevertheless exudes some calm, appropriate as passengers wait to board planes. Slade Architecture answered some question about the project.
Central Park entertainment area with custom ball sofa ( Photo © : Anton Stark )
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?

The project was awarded through an invited competition, which we won.
Central Park bar with custom ceiling lighting and custom pebble sofa in distance ( Photo © : Anton Stark )
Can you describe your design process for the building?

Process = think, talk, draw, talk, think, draw, model, render, talk, draw, think, render.  Repeat as necessary.
Quiet pods seating in Relaxation Area ( Photo © : Slade Architecture )
How does the completed building compare to the project as designed? Were there any dramatic changes between the two and/or lessons learned during construction?

The executed project is absolutely faithful to the design. Virgin Atlantic was a very supportive client.
Presentation Plan ( Drawing © : Slade Architecture )
How does the building compare to other projects in your office, be it the same or other building types?

This project is a clear continuation of our interest and exploration into the relationship between the body and space, movement, perception, materiality and its intersection with form.
Custom wallpaper ( Drawing © : Slade Architecture )
How does the building relate to contemporary architectural trends, be it sustainability, technology, etc.?

The treatment of privacy is particularly contemporary.  Views are mitigated and controlled by the carved walnut fins that encircle the lounge.  This fluid and minimal accommodation speaks to current architectural sensibilities--in lieu of traditional mechanisms for creating spatial distinctions.

Are there any new/upcoming projects in your office that this building’s design and construction has influenced?

All our work is interconnected and influences subsequent projects.  In this project we had the opportunity to create a substantial amount of custom furniture (sofas, lighting, seating, etc) in addition to the architectural elements.

Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse

Queens, NY

Virgin Atlantic Airlines

Slade Architecture

Design Principals
Hayes Slade, AIA
James Slade, AIA, LEED AP

Project Team
Architectural Designers: Tian Gao, David Iseri, Alessandro Perinelli, Magda Stoenescu; Graphic Designer: Garrett Pruter (custom wallpapers and bathroom signage only); Interior Designers: Frances Calosso, Yuko Okuma; Interns: Will Choi, Marco Juliani, Lauren Lochry, Santi Slade

Structural Engineer
Gilsanz Murray Steficek, LLP

MEP/FP Engineer
Ambrosino DePinto Schmeider LLP

Lighting Designer
L'Observatoire International

Interior Designer
Slade Architecture

Holt Construction

Custom Ceiling Lighting Feature Fabricat

Built-in Millwork

Custom Ball Sofa
Soft Touch

Custom Pebble Sofa
Situ Studios