Flying with the flow
Benoit Defforge, President Airbus Corporate Jets, describes space as the new luxury: with Harmony, the ACJ designer team show the best use of that space for practicality and privacy.
Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has launched Harmony, a newly-created cabin design concept, which combines the comfort and space of a widebody cabin with the practicality of zones for real living on the longest of flights.
If Harmony sounds a little hippie for an aircraft interior design concept, it is not far off the mark. Like the Melody concept launched for the ACJ320neo family, there is more than a hint of seventies grooviness in the curved lines and rounded edges. Where Melody was “hilly horizons, rolling rivers and desert dunes”, Harmony has the updated look of a modern Starship Enterprise, with soft back lighting and gentle blue glow.
The idea is that Harmony combines the benefits of Airbus Corporate Jets’ VIP widebodies – such as comfort, space and quietness – with calming design concepts to produce a harmonious customer experience. Initially proposed for the new ACJ330neo family, which features new-generation engines and sharklets, the Harmony interior concept can also be adapted to suit other Airbus widebody aircraft, such as the new ACJ350 XWB.
“More than 190 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including Antarctica, highlighting their versatility around the clock, around the world.”
“Long-haul flights provide time for productive work and socialising, as well as rest, and ACJ’s Harmony cabin concept is wonderfully well designed to enable all of these, while bringing the world within a single flight,” says ACJ President Benoit Defforge.
“Harmony is a timeless and elegant design concept, because we dare to break the conventions that are traditionally imposed on us as cabin designers. Our creativity needs to be unique to fit the needs of our customers, as befits a host receiving their guests in their ‘world above the world’,” says ACJ Head of Creative Design Sylvain Mariat.
The blue glow of a holographic globe, showing aircraft position, greets entering passengers, with a moving aircraft hologram projected above the appropriate point on the planet. A left turn leads you to the master bedroom, office and bathroom, while turning right brings travellers into a spacious lounge with seating grouped at round tables that encourage social interaction.
Harmony is all about the flow, avoiding squares and rectangles and no sharp edges to break the movement. Concentric circles, designed to resemble ripples on a pond, are a recurring feature of the cabin layout.
Just beyond the lounge is a conference table, and beyond that there are four VIP guest-suites – each featuring an office that converts to a bedroom, plus an ensuite bathroom with shower.
Seating for support staff and a galley make up the rear of the cabin, which can be adapted to serve both private and government customer configurations.
All of the corporate jet versions of Airbus aircraft have intercontinental capability, with some – such as the ACJ330neo and ACJ350 XWB Families – going beyond to deliver “nonstop to the world range”.
Airbus has now approved three completion centres as outfitters for the ACJ350 XWB. These are AMAC Aerospace in Basel, Jet Aviation in Basel and Lufthansa Technik. All have a long experience with Airbus Corporate Jets.
“Who can speak about range? We can speak about range.” ~Benoit Defforge, President ACJ
The technical challenge for the completion centres comes in that the ACJ350 XWB is one of the new-generation composite aircraft, which changes how the interior cabin design elements are fitted to the airframe. Airbus offers the proprietary Easyfit interior concept, which allows completion centres to integrate a cabin without the need for complex and costly airframe modifications.
Defforge said: “These centres understand what can and cannot be done with carbon fibre. They are prepared for the new-generation aircraft, so there will be not additional costs or additional time required.”