PriestmanGoode/A330-300 fleet

The latest result of a partnership between South African Airways and PriestmanGoode is an outstanding look for the airline’s new fleet of A33-300 aircraft.


Project Info

Client: South African Airways
Design: PriestmanGoode
Size: Fleet of five new A330-300 aircraft
Duration: 12 months


Words by Emily Martin
Images by PriestmanGoode

PriestmanGoode has completed the interior design of South African Airways’ (SAA) new fleet of A330-300 aircraft. The practice was commissioned to deliver the business and economy-class cabins for the new, wide-bodied aircraft, as well as entrance areas, brand panels and cabin branding throughout.

It forms part of SAA’s long-term partnership programme with PriestmanGoode, which began in 2014. Briefed to ‘address the overall visual language of SAA across its passenger touch-points through a brand refresh’, PriestmanGoode responded with a scheme that creates a strong identity; one that reflects South Africa’s cultural heritage, appealing to domestic and international passengers.

Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage
Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage

‘This new phase in the programme provides SAA with a continued, consistent, elegant design language with subtle detailing and highlights of vibrant colour and pattern,’ says Luke Hawes, director at PriestmanGoode. The practice unveiled its first designs for SAA for the then new A320 short-haul fleet in 2014.

Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage
Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage

Pattern was central to the materials and finishes across the interiors. A series of bespoke prints, which feature in the A320 design were inspired by traditional African crafts, textiles, basket weaving and furniture, and have been updated for the A330-300. A dark grey colour contrasted with light golden tones and offset with burnt red and blues, among others, offer subtle notes of colour in the cabin.

Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage
Seating in the business class features Thompson Vantage XL seating, with its own integral cocktail table and personal stowage

‘The airline had invested heavily in its passenger experience, and a key part of that is providing elegant, comfortable, contemporary cabin interiors,’ says Hawes. ‘The roll-out of the A320 design three years ago immediately raised SAAs travellers’ expectations of their onboard environment, so the design of the new wide-body fleet needed to carry on that design language and create a consistent offer across the airline’s products.’

Branding panel in the business-class cabin
Branding panel in the business-class cabin

The business-class cabin features a bespoke Thompson Vantage XL seat, which takes a visual cue from the business-class seat designed for the A320. The seat is upholstered in fabric, with leather trim, to provide a more comfortable environment for long journeys, and folds out into a flat bed measuring nearly 2m in length. Each passenger has a large personal stowage area and a monitor shroud designed to give the seat a more domestic appearance. A cocktail table seamlessly integrates with the rest of the seat.

Subtle branding is added to the entrance to a business class cabin
Subtle branding is added to the entrance to a business class cabin

The economy-class cabin features a bespoke Geven seat, also upholstered in fabric. Its exclusive pattern, inspired by contemporary African crafts, while a vibrant blue band around the base of the headrest echoes the interiors of the airline’s A320s.

Seats in economy class cabin, a large element in the space, are in calm tones with splashes of blue
Seats in economy class cabin, a large element in the space, are in calm tones with splashes of blue

In addition to business-class and economy class cabins, PriestmanGoode also designed entrance areas with branded welcome panels, as well as brand panels and literature pockets for the cabins. The SAA brand assets inspired the bespoke design and feature newly developed patterns and finishes to reflect the visual language of contemporary African design, architecture and craft.

Headrest detail on the economy-class Geven seat
Headrest detail on the economy-class Geven seat

It was important that PriestmanGoode accounted for a wide range of passenger appeal with its interior design, for both South African and international passengers, without resorting to cliché. ‘What we try and do is to create elegant cabins where the large elements (such as seats) will be in calm, muted tones, with pops of vibrant colour and pattern,’ explains Hawes. ‘Designing for national carriers is both challenging and immensely rewarding…It’s probably the closest you can come to branding a country, as you’re designing something that becomes emblematic of the country. The airline can offer a first glimpse of a culture.’

Key Suppliers

Furniture
Thompson Aero Seating
Geven

Upholstery and fabrics
Rohi
Lantal
Botany Weaving

Flooring
Anker





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