Qantas uses virtual reality to design new First Class Lounge at Changi Airport


Qantas’ new First Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport is expected to open in late 2019.

Qantas is using virtual reality (VR) technology in the development of its new First Lounge at Changi Airport, which is set to open at the end of 2019.

The airline is working with industrial designer David Caon and his team, who have created an immersive virtual reality representation of the design concept, providing a better way for the carrier to preview lounges.

The First Lounge is expected to host 240 customers, offering a luxurious design and premium dining inspired by Singapore’s vibrant culture. The new lounge is being designed to suit transit travellers with shower facilities, a la carte dining including an open kitchen, a cocktail bar and device charging stations.

According to Alison Webster, CEO of Qantas International Airways, VR gives the airline a completely new way to make sure the lounge meets customer needs well before the build begins.

“While we already use VR technology to promote destinations, this is the first time we have used it to better understand a lounge design. Being able to immerse ourselves in a virtual lounge gives us a more accurate sense of space and an understanding of how it will look to scale,” Webster said.

“We know Qantas customers like to dine in the lounge to maximise sleep onboard, so the layout will offer generous and comfortable seating options, ideal for eating, working or relaxing.

“As Qantas’ largest hub outside of Australia, Singapore is an extremely important part of our network. There is strong demand for travel in premium cabins to Singapore and we are looking forward to complementing the First class experience with a new lounge.”

Unveiling detail of the interiors, designer David Caon said a neutral colour palette, luxurious materials and leafy green highlights will make customers feel relaxed as soon as they enter the lounge.

“The interiors achieve a synergy with other Qantas First Lounges on the network, using key materials like marble and oak from the Sydney flagship lounge, combined with finishes reflecting the lively culture of Singapore,” he said. “With a continued focus on wellness, we’ll be looking at including the latest advances in light technology, allowing passengers to better synchronise their body clocks with future time zones.”

Caon said that using virtual reality has revolutionised the design process between designer and client.

“Virtual reality brings the 2D drawings and photos to life, and for this project in particular, it has sped up the consultation process between our design team and Qantas.”

The Qantas First Lounge in Singapore is expected to open in late 2019, while the existing Business Lounge will be expanded and is due to open mid-year. The overall lounge capacity in Singapore will increase by 60%, and combined, the First and Business Lounges will offer seating for more than 800 customers.

In addition to Qantas’ investment in Singapore, the airline recently announced it will upgrade its lounges in Tokyo, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart.