This first class suite concept is more like 'a personal apartment'

By David Flynn, May 4 2018
This first class suite concept is more like 'a personal apartment'

First class suites are becoming increasingly private spaces.

Etihad has its Airbus A380 'Apartments', Emirates took its new Boeing 777 first class cues from old-world railway cabins and modern yachts, while Singapore Airlines re-imagined its superjumbo first class as a 'Skyroom' – almost a boutique hotel room above the clouds.

It's no accident, then, that this first class concept from JPA Design is described by the firm's managing director Ben Orson as following "a personal apartment approach."

However, when you consider that the project harks back to 2014, you can see that JPA was arguably ahead of the curve in first class trends.

The Domus concept – after the Latin for 'home' – created four suites in a single row for large twin-aisle jets such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380.

The extra-wide seats with overlapping side-tables, marble-patterened coffee tables, ottomans and cinematic video screens are all residential-inspired touches – you could deconstruct those elements and they could be items from an upmarket home furniture catalogue.

"With the Domus concept, JPA Design took a premium hospitality inspired approach to first class," the company notes.

"When the design was developed in 2014, Domus might have looked a step far beyond commercial first class, but since then the latest generation of first class interiors, such as those from Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad, have made it a realistic proposition."

Some aspects of the Domus concept remind us of the swish but short-lived Boeing 777 first class cabin of Brazilian carrier TAM (now part of South America's LATAM), which worked with UK design firm Priestmangoode to create a "living room in the sky".

Priestmangoode modelled the first class environment on the concept of the airline taking you "from home to home", says TAM, with the space “presenting the idea of a living room” rather than just a seat.

TAM's luxe first class made its debut in early 2013 but low patronage saw the suites scrapped before the end of 2014 in favour of a larger and upgraded business class cabin.

Air France also trod the 'more personal space' path with its Boeing 777 La Premiere first class suites introduced in late 2014.

Also designed by Priestmangoode, the suite's 3m² footprint was carefully dressed and finished in luxurious style.

Each suite features an adjustable partition and curtains which you can keep wide open with leather tiebacks or draw closed to create a fully private cabin.

Passengers can also dial the cabin's lighting to 'soft' or 'radiant' settings, with a bedside lamp for that added 'just like home' touch.

Also read: Here are the Airbus A380 first class concept cabins you never saw


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.

04 May 2018

Total posts 43

Excellent article- always fly Caledonian class when l can!

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 178

It's very interesting to see these more 'open' suite designs compared to private suites with doors and high walls. I think Air France has the best in-between approach with that curtain for privacy although it looks like this Domus concept design proposed something similar.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2016

Total posts 22

The right kind of fabric is probably a better noise dampener than hard walls

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

Indeed, less echoes/reverb.

Qatar Airways

06 Jul 2016

Total posts 48

The privacy curtains aren't on AF's A380s. I flew F CDG to JNB last month and the crew kept telling me "La Premiere is much better on the 777" but I personally prefer the open suites look to closed suites on other carriers, which are too claustrophobic for me

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