Flight of fancy: Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 first class concepts

Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class suites were conceived as a hotel room above the clouds.

By David Flynn, May 29 2020
Flight of fancy: Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 first class concepts

Just how close can an Airbus A380 first class suite get to delivering a private jet experience? If these concept images from the development of Singapore Airlines' latest A380 suites are anything to go by, that gap can be quite narrow.

Singapore Airlines tapped feted French designer Jacques Pierrejean to create its second generation of superjumbo suites, and Pierrejean in turn created a series of concepts to convey a luxurious 'five-star feel' of what commercial first class could be like. 

Pierrejean made his name designing luxury yachts and interiors for private and commercial aircraft – and he clearly brought those exclusive influences into these first 'inspirational' treatments.

Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.

The upper deck of the Airbus A380 was reimagined with a lobby-style entrance and a standing bar for drinks and snacks, gently illuminated by LED lighting and dressed with oriental orchards for a subtle Singaporean touch.

Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.

Plush curtains opened to the first class cabin, which in Pierrejean's vision included this elegant private dining room.

Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.

These ideas were meant to spark the imagination and challenge conventional notions of first class, which for Singapore Airlines at that time took the form of the small private suites which debuted on the world's first Airbus A380 in October 2007.

Singapore Airlines' original Airbus A380 first class suite.
Singapore Airlines' original Airbus A380 first class suite.

As the project progressed, the concepts became more grounded and Pierrejean zeroed in on transforming this space into a room all its own.

"Our concept was the idea of a passenger who stays at a (luxury) hotel, he should find this type of hotel room on the flight... with different functions for day and night," Pierrejean told Executive Traveller when the product launched in November 2017.

Jacques Pierrejean reimagined the A380's first class suite as being closer to a hotel suite.
Jacques Pierrejean reimagined the A380's first class suite as being closer to a hotel suite.

"In this way, as per a hotel room, you can live onboard free to rest, to sleep, or to work at any time without be disturbed by the general cabin lighting of the aircraft or your neighbours,” he elaborated.

Pierrejean's work drew closer to what Singapore Airlines eventually unveilled, in what was internally dubbed the 'Skyroom'.

Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.

It's not far off from the finished product – although some might suggest Pierrejean's version has a more contemporary styling, and wouldn't look out of place as a first class compartment in a high-speed train as it raced across Europe.

Singapore Airlines' second-generation Airbus A380 suite.
Singapore Airlines' second-generation Airbus A380 suite.

Again, here is Pierrejean's treatment of two first class suites joined together to create a double room with a double bed, followed by the 'double suite' as realised by Singapore Airlines.

Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
Concept images for Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380 first class.
The 'twin suite' of Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380s.
The 'twin suite' of Singapore Airlines' latest Airbus A380s.

The room-like A380 suites were also twice the size of their predecessors, and Pierrejean told Executive Traveller that Singapore Airlines was at first resistant to trimming back the number of suites from a dozen on the first-gen A380s to just six in this redesign.

Larger suites meant fewer suites: here is the layout of Singapore Airlines ' latest Airbus A380 first class cabin.
Larger suites meant fewer suites: here is the layout of Singapore Airlines ' latest Airbus A380 first class cabin.

"We wanted to find a way to increase the space for the passenger (and) that meant that we had to reduce the quantity of suites," Pierrejean recalled. "That was another story, to convince the airline to reduce the capacity for these passengers. But, in the end, they accepted to do that and to do this new concept."

Also read: How the Airbus A380 can embrace first class

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

29 May 2020

Total posts 1

I prefer the previous product from a couples' perspective. You need to be able to get the two front rows in order to be together, and even then when seated you are not close enough to your partner to talk. The bathrooms are absolutely beautiful - especially the larger of the two. Ultimately, this is a lone traveller's product I think.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 49

Singapore, my favourite airline and their A380 is, in my opinion, the best 1st class in the sky. I hope they are around for a long while to come.

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

01 Jun 2015

Total posts 31

IMO Very few people travel or flying in First Class. Only the very rich will travel in this First Class Suite and the rest of passengers is all about Points Redemption. This is not revenue. It's such a waste if space and money HOWEVER I think SIA do it only for Pride and Image. That's all.

11 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

Hi all,

I totally disagree. I think Pierrjean's concepts look like s;"t compared to the actual product. So glad they got someone else in, especially with regard to the chairs. His tan leather seats look like JaJaBinks' tongue...... Hideous

Please respond with a counter-argument.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2016

Total posts 20

Hi Duffa Design is most certainly subjective!

However in saying that; as an international designer (architect and interior designer) for the top international hotelier brands around the world- the strategic design set we adopt in the industry is to create “hotel experiences” (which was his vision) hotel experience onboard.

This aesthetic of hotels which we have designed and won many international awards on are the ones which embody “residential warmth and nostalgia” - Which is exactly what he had done, with his tones of colour choice, his use of lampshades and texturing, layering and finishes!

which is exactly what he had done, with his tones of colour choice, his use of lampshades and texturing, layering and finishes!

What has ended up happening is still redefining the hard product “hotel experience” ie different spaces and uses....

BUT in my opinion, lacks any of that warmth and tone in finishes... E.g. losing the beautiful lampshades instead they went with horrendous chrome downlights… They took away any of the warmth in the wall panels and linen & fabric choices!

I believe they were too afraid it would look like the original product, tan leather… But then took it way too far into a sterile white box…

Which is not the essence and sense of space/ place which is Singapore!

This notion of sense of place, and bringing hotels to life with residential experiences eg: adding luxurious lampshades versus boring downlights; adding layers and textures, pillows and trimmings etc including in some instances floral and ornamental contemporary pieces (as seen in his renderings books; iconic curtains etc)

Thus it is not a total failure, as it is subjective… But definitely lacks any warmth and invitation of a true hotel experience in the modern contemporary sense of place

Thankfully Emirates toned down their first class; Yet it still includes depth of warms with different colour tones…

In summary this summary this outcome for Singapore airlines is far too generic and a white void.... just my thoughts

On the plus side Singapore airlines has one of, if not the best service, and extremely beautiful soft products e.g. service, food, wine etc

Cheers keep safe! Happy flying (soon hopefully)

11 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

Subjective indeed !! I love all that Emirates bling and faux-walnut. Bring it on! Yet, I'm so ashamed to admit it. HAHAHA!


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