Nordic style beyond the seat: How we gave our aircraft for an overhaul while sticking to our roots
For those redesigning Finnair’s long-haul experience, the challenge was to create something that gave every space a Nordic feel, highlighting Finnair’s roots. This went beyond the creation of the impressive AirLounge seat in Business Class. It was about developing a unifying style, creating spaces and materials that utilised classic Nordic touches, alongside a menu that tapped into the region’s booming food and drink scene.
An all new look
Step inside Finnair’s new long-haul cabin and the transformation is obvious. There’s an immediate wow factor based on the clean and simple lines which make Nordic design so sought after. A new premium entry area and social space, coupled with neat touches including circular mirrors and curved glass cabinets, highlight how the design team wanted to create bespoke furniture rather than simple aircraft fittings, somewhere that feels like home.
“It will be a brand new experience, one that embodies and brings to life what we mean by being a modern premium airline” says Eerika Enne, Head of Inflight Customer Experience, Finnair. “You can't miss it when you come on board.”
That’s certainly true when it comes to the beautiful textiles seen throughout the cabin, which have been designed by iconic Finnish brand Marimekko, a long term partner of Finnair.
The new Marimekko collection for Finnair combines iconic work by renowned textile designer Maija Isola alongside Finnish contemporary artist Paavo Halonen’s contemporary prints to create a harmonious and fresh range of items that complement the new cabin and seats. These will first be seen in Business Class and Premium Economy, with plans to bring them to Economy Class in the future.
A new menu with a Nordic touch
Nordic food is also set to play a big role in the updated cabin.
“The Nordic kitchen has been a very big trend for many, many years and it's not going anywhere,” explains Maarit Keranen, Head of in-flight food and beverage concept, Finnair. “We value and we treasure the food that we have. Of course, it's not going to be all Nordic meals on board, but it's a really big part of it and the base from which we start.
“Part of Nordic hospitality and heritage is that we celebrate the wonderful ingredients from our network, because we fly to so many destinations and want to have tastes from those countries as well.”
That’s reflected in the Japanese and pan Asian meals that will be served on board, thanks to the influence of Finnair Kitchen head chef Koji Moriwaki. If you’re travelling in Finnair’s new Business Class you can expect dishes including smoked almonds to start, a side of edamame beans and braised beef cheek with onion pure and dark truffle sauce.
“We wanted to bring more choice to you if you're travelling in Business Class while staying true to our Nordic heritage, as well as utilising the strong Japanese cuisine expertise we have in Finnair Kitchen,” says Enne. Enne adds that the whole dining and service experience will be completely renewed, with the food served on stunning Iittala “Kuulas” tableware created especially for Finnair by Finnish design legend Harri Koskinen.
Creating a space like home
Comfort and cosiness, core aspects of Nordic culture, were essential in developing a space that felt welcoming, regardless of which cabin you’re flying in. “We really thought a lot about the lighting and the mood that we're trying to create in the cabin,” says David Kondo, Senior Manager, Customer Experience and Design Strategy at Finnair.
Kondo says this is even reflected in the in-flight entertainment system, which has had an overhaul, moving away from the brighter white interface of old towards something darker, with the aim of being more calming when used overnight.
“It’s more befitting and integrated into the cabin,” he says.
That sense of home is even seen in Harri Koskinen’s Iittala plates and glasses, which eschew the rectangular design of standard inflight tableware for rounder finishes that speak of home.
The overall result is something that looks completely new but retains a true sense of Nordic style and Finnair’s century-long heritage. With the new look rolling out across Finnair’s entire widebody A330 and A350 fleet throughout 2022 and 2023, now is the time to book and see it for yourself.