Artist Frank Tjepkema created an artwork for the British Airways First Class Lounge champagne bar in Terminal 1. Airco Tree transformed an existing lowering air-conditioning vent into a sculptural, abstract tree, made of fibreglass with goldleaf edging. Drawing on the metaphor of a tree marking a meeting place in the central square of a village the Airco Treebrings us oxygen. In this way the air-conditioning vent, usually tucked away, becomes the dynamic centrepiece of the space. The work won the overall prize in the 2005 Dutch Design Awards, interior design category.
Airco Tree was commissioned and curated for British Airways during an inspiring and long-standing relationship. Starting in 1996, BA had recognised the potential that art could play in its re-branding by increasing brand awareness and creating a new contemporary image for the company. Our aim for BA was to establish a series of long-term strategies and a programme of diverse artist-led initiatives that would incorporate the company’s goals and engage both passengers and staff. These strategies needed to reflect the world-class status of the company and also demonstrate its innovation and leadership within the industry through art. Over the twelve-year period that we worked with British Airways we helped them to develop an impressive art collection that included over 1,500 works and over 60 special commissions, several of which have since been the recipients of esteemed industry awards.