The newly renovated Lounge 2 in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is an 18-month, $53 million project. Some 12 million passengers will pass through Lounge 2 annually, transferring from European to international flights, so their dwell time in the lounge could reach as much as eight hours between flights.
The lounge includes elegant retail, themed spaces, a spa, a library and a version of Amsterdam’s famed Rijksmuseum.
But where will travelers eat?
HMS Host, the Bethesda, Md.-based international food-service company for travelers, enlisted the Amsterdam-based retail design firm Uxus to create an easy, casual and efficient offering for travelers coming into the airport from all the corners of the world, speaking thousands of languages and desiring multiple types of cuisine.
In order to meet all perceived traveler expectations, Uxus designed an urban street fair-style food court that is comfortable and eye-catching, with many varieties of fare.
“We were asked to redefine what a food court could be at the airport,” says Uxus Chief Creative Officer Oliver Michell, “especially for the well-traveled millennial who frequents the likes of the Farmers Market in Los Angeles, Chelsea Market in New York, Borough Market in London or the Michelin-starred hawker street vendors in Singapore.”
Uxus came up with a line of specialty vendors – grilled food, pizza, a bakery and the obligatory McDonald’s – all preparing in open kitchens, right in front of the customer. “Quality and entertainment,” says Michell.
Bold colors, distinct shapes and authentic materials, like real wood and brick, draw passengers and make them feel comfortable. Dining tables and counters are topped with recycled material resembling granite and a ceramic surface with an exaggerated wood pattern.
The locally sourced, recycled materials have bits of stone and glass ground up in them to create a lively bit of sparkle and funk. “A little street art, but functional, as well,” notes Michell. “Surfaces have to be able to be wiped down and kept clean.”
Another bit of fun is the colorful, bottle cap-covered canopy at the condiments station. Big graphics at each station make the ordering options intuitive and easy to understand in any language.
The lounge also sits on a mezzanine level between two concourses. To maximize visibility from the concourse below, Uxus used LED tube lights on the dark, open ceiling, spelling out “food” in various languages – English, French, Italian, Chinese and Sanskrit, says Michell, plus one large set of golden arches – the international language.