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The material for the onboard wall panels has to meet the same certification requirements as an astronaut´s spacesuit. Photo: Johanna Norin.
The material for the onboard wall panels has to meet the same certification requirements as an astronaut´s spacesuit. Photo: Johanna Norin.


Extreme makeover: SAS edition

SAS’s long-haul fleet is getting a new look as part of a major design overhaul. Kristine Mayer, head of ­product design, says her brief was to create an environment that meets the needs of frequent travelers.

Who she is and what she does

Name: Kristine Mayer
Lives: Stockholm
Title: Head of product design SAS
Qualifications: Civil Engineer, Technical Design (Luleå University of Technology)
Family: Partner and three-year-old son
Interests: Skiing. She owns an apartment in Åre, northern Sweden, within easy reach of the mountains. She used to run an online shop for off-piste paraphernalia alongside her day job. “My job and my genuine interest in design and function have taught me to appreciate the things that give you that little extra,” she says
Likes: SAS’s baggage policy, where your ski bag is treated the same as other luggage, at no extra cost

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“My job is to use design to make the ­journey easier and more pleasant,” says Mayer.
SAS’s long-haul fleet is being completely revamped to make passengers feel more relaxed as they cross over oceans and hemispheres. The airline is putting the finishing touches to the redesign, which has taken place at record speed, in just a year and a half.
“We have tried to create the feeling of staying in a hotel,” Mayer says. “We have been working with a color scheme that is a little more subtle, with a gray palette for the textiles. We’ve also highlighted the blue accent colors in the finer details, making the connection with our spaces on the ground.”

The sweeping redesign is tailored to meet passengers’ needs both in the air and on the ground.
“We are working with two different styles. In the check-in and baggage drop area we have applied a retail concept of ‘big and bold,’ with bold colors and clear signs, all with the aim of making it easy to ­navigate what can be a stressful environment,” she says.

Kristine Mayer. Photo: Johanna Norin.

On the other side of security, the design and color scheme of the lounges have been toned down for a more soothing, relaxed atmosphere.
Onboard, meanwhile, all travel classes have got new seats.
“We have gone over every inch of the plane in order to maximize personal space,” Mayer says.
Bedding and mattresses have been developed in collaboration with the Swedish luxury bed maker Hästens.
“I don’t see any particular need to have everything onboard designed by SAS. We are keen to collaborate with partners who can enhance our passenger experience,” Mayer says.

The Business class partition was inspired by a headboard and has a gray check pattern. It was also the designers’ biggest challenge.
“It took a while to develop the material and then find a certified supplier who could make the wall panel,” Mayer says.
Another challenge that faces all designers working in public environments is wear and tear.
“We want to create an environment that feels contemporary, but that will still work in 10 years’ time,” Mayer says.


Text: Emma Olsson

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