Text description provided by the architects. Designed by New York based Slade Architecture in collaboration with Virgin Atlantic’s in-house design team, the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK is a relaxed luxury space with a rich and distinctly ‘Uptown’ Manhattan feel. The 10,000sf Clubhouse is bounded on two sides by full height expansive views over the jet ways, with Virgin Atlantic aircraft visible immediately below. With a direct view onto the iconic TWA terminal, the lounge picks up on this adjacency with subtle references to the glamour of the 50’s era.
The design builds around a single major sculptural cloud-like element located at the center of the space, for simplicity and impact. The cloud encloses a cocktail bar and several seating areas and is enclosed by a diaphanous, curving “wall” of stainless steel rods and rotating walnut fins. This works to mediate views from and through the space and creates a series of distinct areas. The lounge houses several custom furniture pieces designed Slade Architecture – two grey amorphous pebbles with soft asymmetrical niches cut out for seating, as well as a fire-red ball sofa which provides a light-hearted and bright counterpoint to the rich space. Captured within the central cloud are two diaphanous light features – a field of over 2,000 gold powder-coated spun cylinders that hang from the ceiling at different levels, creating an ethereal sculptural topography that dips down into the space and glows from within. This central area is the heart of the lounge around and through which guests move in a rhythmic syncopated flow to the many unique amenities that are provided on the periphery.
Smaller scale design elements tie back to the “Uptown” theme of the lounge. Two custom wallpapers designed by Slade Architecture establish a textured graphic pattern from a distance, but upon closer examination are discovered to be a composition of New York City iconic elements, such as the Empire State Building, Apples, and the ever-pervasive hot dog cart. In the bathrooms, white subway tiles make a connection back to an integral element of the city’s urban fabric, and large-scaled black and white Sanborn maps of NYC Uptown landmarks printed on aluminum panels complete the picture.
The Clubhouse functions as a hybrid of private members club, boutique hotel lobby, restaurant service and chic bar plus a few surprises. The new lounge also introduces Virgin Atlantic’s first overseas spa and the first ever hair salon in any US business class lounge, with services provided by renowned New York City based salon and product company Bumble and bumble. Unlike the previous Clubhouse lounge at JFK, the new lounge sits airside, allowing passengers to sit and fully relax until they are ready to board their flight.
Luke Miles, Virgin Atlantic Head of Design commented: “Our vision was to create an experience that unravels and gets richer each time our guests stay with us. This chic yet relaxed space has real depth. As our passengers walk through the lounge they will be tantalized with the changing views of this beautiful environment.”. “Our Clubhouse at JFK has always been one of our Upper Class passengers’ favorites. Married with a fantastic service culture, JFK promises to be a very special and memorable experience.”