A clipper in the clouds
Thursday 4, February 2010
Aircruise - a giant, vertical airship powered by natural energy and designed to carry travelers in style and luxury - was introduced today by the design and innovation company, Seymourpowell.
Originally a self-generated project, Seymourpowell's Aircruise is the concept design for a hotel in the sky, with low passenger numbers and huge internal spaces offering room for living, dining, and relaxing, as well as scope for dramatic and inspirational public spaces. The initial design proposes a bar/lounge zone, four duplex apartments, a penthouse, and five smaller apartments.
The concept subsequently captured the imagination of Korean giant Samsung Construction and Trading (C&T). Driven by its interest in new materials for building, Samsung C&T appointed Seymourpowell to refine the idea and produce a detailed computer animation of the proposed experience to illustrate this visionary approach to the future.
Seymourpowell's Aircruise concept presents an alternative take on the future, suggesting "slow is the new fast." Nick Talbot, design director at Seymourpowell explained: "The Aircruise concept questions whether the future of luxury travel should be based around space-constrained, resource hungry, and all too often stressful airline travel. A more serene transport experience will appeal to people looking for a more reflective journey, where the experience of travel itself is more important than getting from A to B quickly."
On Aircruise, it is the very abundance of time and space that defines the luxury experience. In a world where speed is an almost universal obsession, the idea of making a leisurely journey in comfort is a welcome contrast. Talbot explained, "The physics of the airship requires a gigantic volume of lifting gas, yet simultaneously demands a relatively limited amount of weight. This allows for a potentially large amount of space with relatively few people onboard - a luxury for any traveler."
Lifted by hydrogen and powered by solar energy, the Aircruise concept also has obvious environmental benefits. Seung Min Kim, design director at Samsung C&T commented, "This was a dream concept project for us, helping to realize a future of sustainable buildings combined with innovative and luxury lifestyle. In an age when environmental impact is a key consideration for architecture, we are keen to extend this vision of the future by searching for solutions that can be realized by 2015 - the year that many futurologists foresee as the turning point for the future."
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