Colors are important for our sense of well-being – whether we’re on the ground or up in the air. We spoke to Lufthansa designer Ronald Wild about the latest changes to the design concept, Color Breeze, the right lighting and tin soldiers in the cabin.
Mr. Wild, Lufthansa is set to become even more attractive, and you’re planning to work with more colors. Are you influenced by current trends?
Lufthansa has always tweaked and updated its corporate design. There have been great milestones, epochs that were influenced by important designers. For instance, Otl Aicher, Jörg Zintzmeyer and Hartmut Esslinger. In all the changes and innovations we have made to our design we have always taken an evolutionary approach, followed the classic design heritage and not allowed ourselves to be swayed by faddish trends. Now, it is again time to evolve our color palette: Color Breeze is the name we have given to the palette refresh of the classic Lufthansa colors used in our interiors.
The blue and the yellow of the iconic logo with the crane.
Precisely. We had already added shades of grey and silver to these two basic colors. Our lounges also feature selected shades of brown and beige. However, these were chosen specifically for First Class and Business Class. We were recently asked to design the A350 – with a particular focus on the interior of the Economy Class. We wanted to give the larger cabins a more atmospheric feel.
So just how colorful is the “Color Breeze”?
It takes blue as its starting point. We will be lightening it softly and varying it.
To make passengers feel as if they’re in heaven…?
More than that. We all know that the colors in our surroundings have a significant impact on our mood. If you just lighten up blue, you soon arrive in a spectrum of lavender or lilac shades – and that just isn’t Lufthansa at all. So we haven’t just lightened our blue, we also added some grey. This resulted in a color range that you can use to create a wonderful ambiance.
So what will change? Will you be handing out pale blue serviettes?
No, there won’t be any pale blue serviettes. Instead, we’re focusing on the use of color in our interiors. You can’t imagine all the changes you can make just by using colors in combination with fabrics. If you take a look around our present cabins, then the seat rows tend to look very rigid and uniform, like tin soldiers in formation. We are breaking down this uniformity: in the A350 the seats in the middle will be lightest, with the color gradually getting darker towards the surrounding seats. This creates a nice atmosphere, and it makes the cabin look wider and more inviting.
That almost sounds like well-being
And that is exactly what we want to achieve! Well-being is not something you can force a person to feel. It has to be authentic. The blue in aviation isn’t imaginary, it is real, and that is why this color is so important for us. If you look up into the sky you will see a myriad different shades, a wealth of impressions and moods. The new gamut of the Lufthansa blue is like a paint box that all our designers can dip into.
Sounds like a lot of work for a simple cabin…
We are not just designing the A350: Color Breeze will refresh our world of colors in all areas. This isn’t just a cosmetic change. Atmosphere is an important aspect that deeply influences our sense of well-being.
Colors also act as signals – just like red and green of traffic lights.
That is less important in the cabin. Consider your own home, it’s not so different. You know which door leads into the bathroom, you don’t need a signal color. What’s more exciting is another of our new developments: we have now also started reconsidering our use of lighting.
But surely that’s something that everyone is familiar with…you dim the cabin lights for landing and switch them back on once the plane has landed.
Correct. But we can more than just that in the A350; we are adapting the entire lighting mood to each specific phase of the flight: during boarding, while the meals are served and when it’s time to sleep. Or just before landing, when it’s time to wake up again, which can be in the middle of the night. Each phase is accompanied by suitable lighting. The stepless computer controlled LED system allows the finest nuances to be achieved.
So color and lighting work together to set the mood – and both light up the cabin.
Yes, that’s it precisely! The lighting rounds off our color scheme and enriches it. It’s all very subtle, but the impact on the passenger is enormous: travelling becomes even more pleasant and relaxing.
Designer Ronald Wild, 43, was born in Ulm. He worked as a communication designer in several agencies before joining Lufthansa Corporate Design und Brand Management in 2001. He has been involved in many redesigns and developments of the Lufthansa corporate design, including the strategic development of the Lufthansa look and compiling Lufthansa corporate design guidelines for lounges, cabins, seats and aircraft liveries.