Hotel in the sky
Leading design and innovation company Seymourpowell has unveiled the full details of its visionary transportation concept, Aircruise – a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travellers in style and luxury.
Originally a self-generated project, Seymourpowell’s Aircruise is the concept design for a hotel in the sky, with low passenger numbers and huge internal spaces offering room for living, dining and relaxing, as well as scope for dramatic and inspirational public spaces. The initial design proposes a bar/lounge zone, four duplex apartments, a penthouse and five smaller apartments.
The concept subsequently captured the imagination of Korean giant Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T). Driven by its interest in new materials for building, Samsung C&T appointed Seymourpowell to refine the idea and produce a detailed computer animation of the proposed experience to illustrate this visionary approach to the future (the video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com).
Seymourpowell’s Aircruise concept presents an alternative take on the future, suggesting “slow is the new fast.” Nick Talbot, design director at Seymourpowell explains, “The Aircruise concept questions whether the future of luxury travel should be based around space-constrained, resource hungry, and all too often stressful airline travel. A more serene transport experience will appeal to people looking for a more reflective journey, where the experience of travel itself is more important than getting from A to B quickly.”
On Aircruise, it is the very abundance of time and space that defines the luxury experience. In a world where speed is an almost universal obsession, the idea of making a leisurely journey in comfort is a welcome contrast. “The physics of the airship requires a gigantic volume of lifting gas, yet simultaneously demands a relatively limited amount of weight,” says Talbot. “This allows for a potentially large amount of space with relatively few people onboard – a luxury for any traveller. It’s a world cruise not limited to the ocean, offering instead the dream-like quality and absolute freedom of flight. Passengers can choose to dine thousands of feet above a city, or take in the view whilst moving through the air over the ocean or a national landmark.”
Lifted by hydrogen and powered by solar energy, the Aircruise concept also has obvious environmental benefits. Says Seung Min Kim, design director at Samsung C&T, “This was a dream concept project for us, helping to realize a future of sustainable buildings combined with innovative and luxury lifestyle. In an age when environmental impact is a key consideration for architecture, we are keen to extend this vision of the future by searching for solutions that can be realised by 2015 – the year that many futurologists foresee as the turning point for the future.”