Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Copenhagen Airport

Copenhagen, Denmark

CHAIRS MAKE PEOPLE MOVE IN NATURAL FLOWS

It's one of the first of its kind. A new enlargement of Copenhagen Airport creates growth by using design and science. “Nudging” is the name of the method, and it is causing the ultimate flow of comfort and efficiency among passengers with no instruction or force needed.

Copenhagen Airport is expanding. With the new building, the airport will be able to host the largest long distance planes in the world. This requires logistics, and the ability to do it seamlessly and comfortably for the passengers in order to continue to deserve the title as the most efficient airport in the world. Schmidt Hammer Lassen designed the new building, which serves as transit for passengers. Their approach to the interior design causes a remarkable flow.

On the outside it´s dark, on the inside bright and spacious with a view to the planes with white marble floors, giant round lamps and a pitch-black wall colour. On the one hand one may think that the 700 dark Series 7™ and Dot™ stools serve as one giant demonstration of Danish aesthetics and design. On the other - for an airport in Copenhagen it does make sense to showcase the very essence of Danish design tradition. However, every chair is placed with a thoroughly thought out purpose. And it works. 

A serious amount of time and money has been spent on studies in behavior among passengers. Studies reveal how people travel in different ways whether in groups, alone, for business or pleasure. Various zones have been arranged e.g. comfortable corners for families and high tables with bar chairs as workstations for people working. Instead of the classic long lines of connected chairs, a Tetris-pattern has determined their arrangement. In long lines people normally choose to occupy only every second or third seat. This pattern nudges them to take full advantage of the entire capacity of the area. People spread naturally with no instructions needed.

Experience shows that passengers rarely use those seats placed furthest away from the corridors and the center of the spaces. In order to urge people to use the entire area for the comfort of all a subtle, yet very elegant layout has been used. All the chairs in the corners are covered in soft textiles. The Series 7 has armrests and next to the seats are the take-outs for electricity. It´s simple and very efficient. 

It is one of the first airports in the world where the method has been based on science on human behavior in regards to spaces and flow. The design has been tested and the results were remarkable – a reduction of delay between gates and departure higher than 100 % has been registered. The methods also include silent screens calling people to the planes by names, and large flags to indicate check-in counters. No loudspeakers interfere with the experience. 

The actual choice of design and quality has enhanced the intentions. Nanna Wohlfeldt who is an architect at Schmidt Hammer Lassen explains it this way: ” It tells a clear story that we invite the guest into an environment filled with design classics so recognizable. Quality and comfort show the guests how welcome they are”.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark 
Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects 
Areas: Public spaces 
Products: 3107™, Dot™