How An Upholstery Expert Ended Up Redesigning An Entire Fleet Of Planes [Video]

How An Upholstery Expert Ended Up Redesigning An Entire Fleet Of Planes [Video]
Design & Architecture

KLM hired an interior decorator who knew nothing about airplanes to design their cabin space.

Ross Brooks
  • 11 september 2013

What started as a project redesigning upholstery for KLM, soon turned into the opportunity to redesign the economy and business class cabins for their entire fleet of 777 and Dreamliner planes. What’s even more amazing, is that Hella Jongerius was completely unfamiliar with the aviation industry when she started.

When she was given the project, Jongerius suggested that instead of just making a few modifications to a factory-standard seat, the company should let her redesign them completely – a proposition KLM accepted.


Talking with Dezeen, the designer admitted:

If I now look back, that was really weird for them, but it all depends on whether you can connect yourself with the person on the other side of the table. I think we were lucky that we trusted each other. I think they’re weird; they think I’m weird. I gave them a masterclass in design; they gave me a masterclass in aviation.

Jongerius has been working with the company for two years now, and is looking forward to an even longer-term collaboration.

You can watch an interview with the designer that explains how she overcame the language barrier below:

Hella Jongerius


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