Wednesday 21 Mar 2012


In designing the reception areas for Virgin Atlantic at their global headquarters at Gatwick Checkland Kindleysides sought to create spaces that capture the values, aspirations and spirit of the brand.

The large offices have two reception areas, providing access to the north and south entrances to the building; these spaces are identical, with subtle distinguishing design features enabling visitors to differentiate between the two.

For the hundreds of staff and visitors that pass through their doors every day, the reception area forms a first and lasting impression of the company; the concept has transformed the existing receptions into fresh and contemporary spaces, which are instantly recognisably Virgin, with the predominant use of the brand red and white colour scheme.

Checkland Kindleysides took advantage of the double height walls in the atrium, which provided the designers with a huge blank canvas on which to express the personality of the Virgin Atlantic brand. Their hand drawn illustrations depict some quirky, humorous representations of the brand icons and provide a flavour of some of the airline's destinations, as well including some very British images, reminding us of the company's origins and heritage.

Using the same vinyl as that used for the graphics on the wings of Virgin Atlantic's aircraft, the illustrations have been applied in gold to the north reception and silver to the south, adding a premium quality to the space. In addition to the main image, which sits behind the reception desk, further illustrations appear alongside the lounge areas and in the stairwell overlooking the reception.

The reception desk forms a sculptural centrepiece, subtly designed around motion and flight in particular. The dynamic form combines workable, functional heights into one simple pure white Corian surface featuring the Virgin Atlantic logo, which used high-pressured water jet cutting technology ensuring a beautiful, precision finish.

Supporting Virgin Atlantic's recognition of their employees' great work, colourful lacquered suitcases provide a playful vehicle to display photos and details of Virgin Atlantic ‘Heroes' nominated by colleagues and customers. The suitcases, which are prominently displayed in pigeonhole shelving behind the waiting area, can also be used to present information on company news and events.

The colourful theme continues through to the furniture chosen for the space; providing a vibrant, yet laid back ambience, the colour palettes are differentiated between the receptions; with tones of purple, gold and maroon in the north, and orange, green and turquoise in the south reception.

The high gloss red floor completes the space; reflecting the lighting feature above, which playfully mimics aircraft dropping through the clouds to land safely back home.