TRAVEL DESIGN – WHEN THE JOURNEY BECOMES THE DESTINATION

The recent certification of Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central to handle passenger flights is most certainly yet another milestone in the UAE’s aviation sector. According to reports, this approval is the latest stage in opening what is expected to become the world’s largest airport, forming part of a massive new Dubai World Central residential, commercial and logistics complex.

The airport, which has been handling cargo flights since June 2010, is planned to ultimately comprise five runways and have capacity to move 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per year.

This milestone has inspired today’s post, which puts the spotlight in travel design. Modern air travel is about far more than merely making it from point A to point B. The journey itself has also become the destination, which brings into the spotlight how airport design and how terminals are evolving. Suitcases, boarding gates, and airport concourses are all designed to serve 
a necessary purpose while saying something positive about travelers and the places they visit. Travel design must convey a complex message: of place, of enjoyment, of international exchange.

The best terminal designs are those that serve as gateways to optimistic futures and final destinations. A terminal’s colossal concourse inspires a buzz of constant motion, and yet the traveler
is encouraged to pause for a spot of duty free shopping, sample the menus of international cuisines, enjoy a relaxing glass of vino or simply sit on a bench and enjoy open spaces, indoor gardens and the trickling sounds from man-made water features a la style of Dubai International Airport & Singapore’s Changi airport.

Building an airport is an act of optimism and modernity. The rapid acceleration of global exchange in the 1990s inspired a new generation of airports, many in Asia, 
to welcome and dazzle world travelers. Bold futuristic styles exploit extravagant building shapes made possible by advances in engineering.

While new terminals and airports (Al Maktoum) are built in response to new complications, such as increased traffic and heightened security, considerations are also made to woo the common traveler who may be stuck here for a few hours.

Do you have a favourite airport that you think takes the take spot for travel design?