Lighting the Way

A series of stunning art installations, located in first-class and VIP lounges, enlivens the passenger experience at  London’s Heathrow Airport.

Suppose you’re traveling to London on British Airways, connecting in Heathrow to an outpost of the British Empire—having been delayed, no doubt, out of JFK and left to wait in the airline’s new T5 terminal, designed by Lord Richard Rodgers. You may get a glimpse of light-infused art, commissioned by Artwise Curators, a company that organizes museum-quality exhibitions and obtains works for corporate clients, in this case by recent graduates of the Royal College of Art. Most of it is reserved for the first-class and very VIP lounges, but some of it is visible to the public.

If, however, you did secure high-end flight accommodations, and—exhausted from being force-fed Salisbury steaks and warm cookies in between nearly fully reclined naps—you don’t feel like taking advantage of the spas, cabanas, or cinema, opting instead for the armchair-and-sofa route, a rich experience of techno-enhanced light art awaits. “We’re very interested in the crossover between art and design that’s happening at the moment, especially with a lot of younger artists,” Artwise curator Laura Culpan says. “We want to bring that dimension into the lounges. Because we’re looking at technology, and the  airline industry is very much about technology, it felt like a natural marriage.”

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