Bbi takes interior design to new heights with challenging Bristol Airport installation

A Welsh company’s innovative £300,000 revamp of Bristol Airport’s former terminal reception space, featuring suspended sections of reclaimed aircraft, has been shortlisted for an industry award.

Interior fit-out specialists, Beacons Business Interiors (Bbi), was appointed to transform the 750 square-metre reception space into a fresh and modern environment. The project has since been shortlisted for a Design Through Innovation Award at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors South West Awards.

The design brief was to incorporate a strong sense of the building’s aviation history, as well as create a high-impact first impression for visitors.

Bbi spent nearly a year working closely with the team at Bristol Airport and Tobia Design to refine the design concept, proposing a light, airy and modern space complete with dramatic bespoke art installations made from sections of reclaimed aircraft.

Bbi sourced reclaimed aircraft parts including wing tips and sections of fuselage from Cirencester Airport, and then transported them 86 miles to a factory in Aberdare. Bbi’s skilled craftsmen then spent 10 weeks renovating the parts to pristine condition suitable for display.

The wing tips were installed with lighting and suspended from the atrium ceiling, and seating from inside the planes was placed in the reception area. A welcome desk and coffee table were created from former engine intake cowls mounted with plate glass, and panels of the fuselage were mounted onto walls to create innovative lighting features throughout the space.

Bbi also installed high-specification flooring throughout the reception to cope with the high volume of footfall, and a commercial kitchen to create a café and informal meeting area.

This was the second project that Bbi has completed for Bristol Airport, following the successful redesign of its control centre in 2013.

As well as the challenge of sourcing, transporting and repairing the airplane parts used in the design, Bbi also had to complete the work while the terminal remained open. The team worked in phases in order to complete the nine-week installation with minimal disruption to airport staff and visitors; ensuring each section was fully completed before commencing on the next phase.

The project will now be visited by an independent RICS judging panel, with the winner being announced at the RICS South West Awards ceremony in Bristol on 15 May. If successful in its category, Bbi will go on to compete for the prize of Project of the Year.

Andy Graham, group executive chairman at Bbi, said: “The renovation of Bristol Airport’s former terminal has been an exciting project for our team, who have pushed creative and strategic boundaries to the next level.

“From sourcing the aircraft parts, to working while the terminal was open, this project has presented a number of challenges we’ve never faced before. I am very proud of the team for delivering a solution that exceeded the client’s expectations and delighted visitors and users of the space, in a way that ensured the absolute minimum disruption to the day-to-day use of the terminal.

“The success of this project has strengthened our close working relationship with Bristol Airport, and Bbi has since been engaged to complete further renovation works on site.”

Bbi is currently working to refurbish the bar area in the airport’s main departure lounge; a project worth £280,000 that is due to be completed in March 2015.

Josh Hodder, project coordinator at Bristol Airport, said: “Bbi’s response to our brief perfectly communicated our vision and the team overcame any obstacles with ease. The installation process was carefully managed and the final result is fantastic, creating just the kind of ‘wow factor’ we were looking for.

“The design has transformed the space into a fresh and exciting building that staff can be proud of and visitors can enjoy.”

Bbi provides facilities support services, including interior design, mechanical and electrical design, space planning, project management and a large range of products to a number of high-profile corporate clients including Admiral, Balfour Beatty Workplace, SunGard, Mitel Networks, Interserve, GSK, Babcock International and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. The company, located in Brecon, Gloucester and London, currently employs more than 50 full-time staff, and last November celebrated its 25th year in business.