We recently covered the launch of the new LAN/TAM Lounges that have shown South America is an International destination to be reckoned with. Designed by Studio Putman, the lounges are going to be a super-chic haven for global travellers for years to come. We talk exclusively to the creator of the space, (daughter of the interior designer of the most famous plane of all, the Concorde) and an established designer in her own right, Olivia Putman.
Dear Olivia, Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Can you please let us know a little about your background?
I already had different professional lives. I began by studying history of art at La Sorbonne. My first professional experience was to transform old factories into artists studios and exhibition spaces. After a few years, I went back to school in order to become a landscape architect. This is how I began a professional relationship with my mother by working on the gardens of her clients. Six years ago, I became the artistic director of Studio Putman. For years, Andrée was waiting for me, but I had to follow my own road before coming over. I told her during twenty years that I wished to explore my own fields.
Did you approach LAN/TAM or did they approach you to do their lounges?
We had the chance of winning an international contest they organised in 2011.
Can you let us know a little bit about your approach/ your inspiration for the lounge?
The main consideration I have is for the people who are going to live in the space we are designing. I’ve tried to create a modern setting, in which people from all over the world can feel comfortable. An airport lounge has to be a kind of exceptional parenthesis of dwelling somewhere between public and private. LAN’s aim is to offer to the traveller a unique and precious environment where the traveller can work, be entertained, or just get some rest.
There is a nod to the retro-jetset era, looking more ‘Mad Men’ than ‘nainstream’ with the choice of fabrics and furnishings, was this deliberate?
I am attracted by places with a very strong identity that makes them special and unique. More and more people are afraid by this new international taste with no link to the place you are. We tried to enhance the beautiful diversity of South America by choosing natural and local materials.
Is this your first aviation project?
My mother designed the interior of the Concorde which I am very proud about.
What was the goal from the project?
I want people to feel comfortable with a wide range of possibilities in order to suit either the businessman who wants to work as well as the tourist who wants to rest and feel the charm of the country he is visiting. The spaces are separated by wooden panels that gives a warm feeling of quietness and intimacy. My main concern is to offer people a comfortable and unique experience they will remember by enjoying the charm of this refuge in the middle of the airport crowd. We also wanted propose a different food and beverage selection from the others lounge.
Will this be rolled out across all of the upcoming lounges?
We have few details that we will bring to all the lounges.
Do you feel the lounge designs reflect the design ethos of the airline, or the design ethos of your company? Whatever the response, which do you think is most important?
The most important is to try to give the right answer to the right purpose and of course to be as close to the DNA of the company you are working for.
Personally, what is your favourite element of the finished product?
I like very much the wooden panels that give the partition between the space. It was important to use warm and natural materials in order to give a special feeling. My preference is for the bathroom though. It looks clean and precious. It is like being at a friend’s place.
What do you think current airport lounges around the world lack?
Being much too cold and noisy. By playing with colours and light, we tried to give an harmony, an ambience and a rhythm to the space. I tried to bring a higher level of sophistication and creativity by adding seduction and elegance into every details of such a place
How do you think Airport Lounges will develop over the next 5-10 years?
It will be more and more important as people need more and more exclusive service.
Is South America a market that appeals to designers? It seems to be a hotbed of cool design, almost every issue of Wallpaper seems to focus on Latin America in particular….
Latin america is wonderful and has plenty interesting craftmenship and an incredible range of vernacular styles so I believe designers can express themselves.
Finally, as you have made this design process look so romantic and inspiring, how would potential designers get to work with your studio?
By writing to us.
Here is a gallery of Studio Putman‘s work, which ranges from product design through to residential design.