Who: Craig Menzies, interior design director at Benoy, has a portfolio that spans high-profile developments throughout Asia,Britain, Europe and South Africa. His work has covered aviation, retail, entertainment and leisure projects, and strategic corporate interior planning.Menzies is part of the team delivering the future Terminal 4 and Jewel Changi Airport developments in Singapore. He is also leading Benoy's retail planning team for the new Beijing Daxing Airport and the interior design team on a confidential terminal development.
Craig Menzies is no stranger to airports. A frequent flier and the mastermind behind two upcoming major aviation developments in Asia, the design director at Benoy was the perfect candidate to help STYLE construct a superluxe private travel lounge.
Using his industry expertise and creative eye, Menzies spared no expenses to convert a commercial design into a posh, private one. The result is a stunning two-storey, fully equipped amenities centre lavishly tucked into a penthouse overlooking Hong Kong's skyline which features a private helipad for all your travel needs.
Casting a fleeting glance at Menzies' design, you wouldn't be blamed for fixating on the stunning infinity pool or the large glass exteriors opening up to a plush lounge area. However, upon closer inspection, there is no denying what the true star of the show is. Due focus is paid to the helicopter and helipad throughout the design, with detail around the penthouse well thought-out to ensure they are the centre of attention. The helipad is illuminated with runway-style lighting, meaning guests and travellers will be able to watch the helicopter land and take off with ease.
When it comes to private travel, the beauty lies in the luxury of relaxation and ease pre- and post-journey. With this in mind, the penthouse is designed with two specific zones.
"Like a scaled-down version of the airside experience at an airport, we have the larger gathering and socialising area on the penthouse entry level, and the quieter private relaxation area on the second level, functioning like a members lounge you would find in the airport," Menzies says.
The lower ground area features a bar, open kitchen, dining and lounge areas. Menzies and his team placed plush furnishings including Vitra Grand Repos chairs by Antonio Citterio and Patera glowing sphere lighting by designer Øivind Slaatto to create a relaxing ambience.
"A floating staircase connects the two floors," Menzies says. This offers a physical and mental separation between the two zones, which further heightens the relaxing experience guests will receive on the upper floor.
Those looking for a relaxing experience will adore the luxurious bathroom and spa facilities on the upper floor for guests to use upon arrival or before departure.
While the two floors have distinct ambiences, there is one thing in common. "Both floors can be accessed straight from the helicopter arrival point," the designer says. This is achieved by the hydraulic lifting platform Menzies and his team devised, which "allows the helicopter to be accessed at the terrace level and then be lifted up".
Menzies adds: "The hydraulic helipad [creates an] opportunity for a quite a special arrival experience." For this reason, he considers it one of the most special features and his favourite part of the design.
Beyond the luxurious indoor décor and amenities, Menzies and his team made an effort to ensure the exterior space shared a similar aesthetic.
" 'Indoor-outdoor' is a concept we would like to see embraced more widely in Hong Kong," says the industry veteran. "Therefore, this design has incorporated a generous outdoor setting and green walls. The transparency of the building and the generous sliding doors provide a seamless transition between the [interiors and the exteriors]."
Transparency certainly is aplenty in Menzies' design. The entire façade of the penthouse is crafted from glass, making Hong Kong's vibrant skyline the backdrop wherever you are situated in the penthouse.
There are two reasons behind his decision to use glass as the exterior of the penthouse. "What we've learned [from our aviation projects] is that taking the stress out of travel is important," he says. "Visual transparency has a lot to do with this." This transparency extends to the large infinity pool on the terrace. Menzies counts the "cantilevered glass box pool" as another favourite aspect of the space.
Whether they're waiting to take off on a helicopter or are simply looking for a space to kick back and relax, any jetsetter will agree that Menzies has created the perfect superluxe travel lounge.