2 finishes , 1 size
Collection I Naturali
The new “LATAM Lounge” commissioned by the airline replaces the group’s VIP lounge, a space dedicated to most loyal passengers and members of partner airlines waiting for their flight.
With its 4,300 m² of floor space, “LATAM Lounge” is now the largest airport lounge in all of South America. The project, carried out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and overseen by Grupo Arquitectos, focused in two directions: enhancing Latin American design influences and taking up the cause of sustainable architecture, consistently with LATAM Airlines commitment in all its activities.
The Group was listed in S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2022 as the most sustainable carrier in America (not just South), Europe and Oceania. Instead, it is the fourth company in this special global ranking. LATAM’s sustainability strategy was launched in 2021 and emphasises a deep commitment to the protection of South America’s typical ecosystems; it includes a process involving experts and some environmental organisations that aim at the Group’s carbon neutrality by 2050.
The new lounge in Santiago was strongly sought, designed and built with this in mind: it is 80% powered by renewable energy sources and features interactive games on recycling, waste reduction and reuse. LATAM Airlines undertakes to offset carbon emissions through ecosystem conservation projects in South America.
Conceptually, the keyword of the project is reconnecting. “The use of natural materials should be interpreted from this point of view, as a way of reconnecting with the essential” – explains Catalina Valdes founding partner and main architect at the Grupo Arquitectos. The lounge as a space for decompression, for slowing down, taking time, reconnecting with yourselves.
The choice of the Laminam I Naturali series in three different finishes responds to the need to establish three independent environments and at the same time tangible link with the territory and its ever-changing expressions. Three different lounges originate three experiences, to be discovered each time through a progression that symbolises the transition from the stress and frenzy of travel to a time of reconnection.
The I Naturali line contains within itself the idea of reconnection as it elects the earth as its distinctive element. It recalls the idea of the primitive on the one hand, and the possibility of being moulded on the other. The ability to give a unique value to the rooms it clads has been declined here in three products applied to floors, walls, false ceilings and counters, with thicknesses Laminam 5+ and Laminam 12, respectively, so as to obtain three spaces similar in layout and material characteristics, though different in colours and suggestions. “LATAM Lounge” is a multifaceted and many-sided environment that reflects the varied landscape and mountains of South America.
For the World Member Lounge, Bianco Statuario with Polished finish was chosen: it recalls the palette of the Cordillera of the Andes, with its prevailing white softened by violet and blue highlights. The Signature Lounge recalls the desert that blooms only once a year and is dressed in warm, seductive hues, thanks to Nero Greco in a Polished finish. The Premium Lounge turns to the sea and its encounter with the earth: a merging realised in the intense nuance of Noir Desir.
The correspondence between recalled scenario and type of finish originates from a careful exploration of the underlying imagery and material characteristics: “The white scenery,” explains Bruno Frugone, interior designer for Enrique Concha & Co.“ recreates the mountains in their rocky appearance and the white of the snow. In the Premium Lounge, Noir Desir was used for its “land look”, as its brown veins are perfect to match the chosen furniture colour. The Signature Lounge is black to represent the elegance of the Premium experience, but the Nero Greco finish adds veins reminiscent of volcanoes and southern lands“.
For cladding the halls, the choice fell on the Seta collection, the Laminam line that enchants the eye and surprises the touch thanks to its ability to take on different shades depending on the light it reflects. The diversity of the three lounges was presented in three nuances: Seta Gris in the World Member, Seta Glacé for the Premium and Seta Liquorice for the Signature, resulting in three different light suggestions. The same shades characterise the three lounge bathrooms – in the bathroom vanity tops and furnishing accessories -, creating an aesthetic thread meaning refinement and attention to detail.
The design of the new “LATAM Lounge” was developed during the early period of the pandemic, which influenced both the way of working – initially carried out remotely – and the choice of materials and definition of space. “It was important to us that all spaces were COVID-free,” explains Jorge Hasbun, founding partner and principal architect of Grupo Arquitectos. “By way of example, in the bathrooms everything is touchless and the wide surfaces convey a greater impression of cleanliness“.
Laminam’s I Naturali collection is particularly suitable for sensitive contexts due to its hygienic nature and versatility: in fact, its use ranges from wall cladding, floors, outdoor façades to furniture surfaces. The possibility of using the same material for wall and floor cladding – the so-called “Laminam Effect” – achieved the creation of striking, highly scenic environments.
“Everything is real and pure, and purity helps underline the design concept behind each project,” says Hasbun.
Sustainability aspects were fundamental: LATAM requested that no leather be used and that wood and plastics be recycled or recyclable. Here too, Laminam‘s contribution was fundamental because each surface contains 20 to 40% pre-consumer recycled material. Thanks to their natural composition, the slabs can be easily ground and recycled before firing in other production cycles; the presence of LEED and BREEAM certifications is a further guarantee of the material sustainability.
In the new “LATAM Lounge”, the valorisation of the territory is also embodied by the permanent exhibition of sculptures by emerging South American artists, made from recycled materials in an upcycling perspective. “We have a habit of including art in our projects,” explains Bruno Frugone. “There are more than sixty works in the lounges: this really makes us very proud.”
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