Private check-in for First Class members at Heathrow Terminal 5
The First Wing, at Heathrow Terminal 5, enables British Airway’s most valued customers to get from land-side concourse to lounge in less than five minutes via an exclusive check-in area, security channel and lounge entrance.
Wanting to bring a greater sense of visibility, desirability and aspiration to the First Class check-in experience, we designed a faceted and curved wall to enclose the entire area. Constructed from hundreds of individual fluted panels in varying sizes and tones, the wall is 29 metres long and three metres high. The bespoke structure’s undulating, faceted forms transform visually throughout the day as the natural light rises and wanes, and bring warmth, texture and contrast to the highly functional airport terminal.
An articulated glass and mirror screen sits behind the metallic outer wall, forming two entrances for Gold and First Class customers. With a focus on speed, efficiency and automation, seated staff and desks were replaced with sleek, highly polished stainless steel podiums enabling staff to walk the zone freely.
For the interior design, we took our cues from the British Airways First cabin, prioritising texture, warmth and luxury. The interior surfaces of the enclosure are lined with oak marquetry, showing an archival British Airways pattern based on the original Speedbird marque. These elements of the brand’s design heritage give The First Wing a bespoke, crafted feel.
This was the first of a number of successful collaborations between Universal Design Studio and British Airways.