Transforming the airport experience

The brief that I decided to work on is “Beyond Boarders“.

I am designing for behaviour change.

The main aim of this brief is to foster inter-cultural understanding. As an international student and a traveller, I am extremely interested in this topic. It truly is a part of my everyday life, so my opinion is that it really matters.

But how do we get people to get to know each other, when they barely have time to look up from their phones? People nowadays barely even have time to get to know their own parents and the others in their city, how can we encourage them to go beyond that and face other cultures?

This got me thinking about places where different cultures meet anyway, without meaning to.




Airports are fascinating places that hide a tremendous potential. They are places where so many stories and cultures intersect. It is a place where people of any age, religion, gender, economic status, and ethnic background come together.  Why has nobody used this space to cultivate tolerance before?

  • Think about the shoes of these people – in a few hours they might be touching the surface of another continent

They come together and then they wait. And get extremely bored. I can’t think of another place where you can find people who are not in a hurry!!! And no other place with such a potential – we have two extremely crucial factors – time + cultural diversity.

Airports in their nature are spaces that are free from any cultural references. The most I have seen in my experience have been several posters with dry information about the main tourist sights in the relevant city. They create almost a sterile feeling,  and what is more interesting is that all airports worldwide feel the same. Therefore, we can say that airports are like a separate culture or country on their own. They feel like they are not a real part of the city, they are almost like “detached” from the city and don’t belong to it.


My area of interest are Departures, as


visual research

I’ve always found it amazing to look at Earth from a distance and this luxury is made possible through the airplane journey. This experience makes you realise how tiny you are and gives you perspective.  When you’re so far away from Earth, you can not make any judgemental assumptions because you actually realise that we are all a part of the same round sphere. Our planet is shared, the clouds we see are shared among all the people of any culture. The sky belongs to all of us and no matter where you are on Earth, you get to see it if you look up. And there is a huge chance that those other people who you might hate for their cultural background look at the same thing at the same time.

Why fight then? Why judge?

It reminds me of the game of chess –

that makes no sense to you right?

Well think metaphorically – the pieces are differently coloured, they fight between each other, but at the end of the day, no matter who has won, they all come together in the same box. They also share the same nature and shape, they’re made of the same material.

We are people first, and different after that. We might disapprove someone’s cultural background or beliefs, which is a given, but we all go home to the people we love, we all sleep and eat, we all crave happiness, love and acceptance, we all have creative potential which we can direct in something positive and inspiring, or on the contrary, something destructive, such as hate.

Hate and prejudice are understandable – they are signs of fear. Humans surround themselves with it in order to protect themselves from potential harm.

This here (click) 

I thought this was a clever way to beg – by triggering belonging in our capitalist society, and having the label ”love and peace” behind it, even though it obviously stimulates distinction between countries by showing off status and allowing comparison.




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