With Richard Branson’s spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, planning to send adventurous travellers to space as soon as 2020, it’s only natural that it prepares and readies the so-called ‘Gateway to Space’ — the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Originally designed by UK-based architectural firm Foster + Partners — who also redesigned Hong Kong’s luxury hotel The Murray — the 670,000-square-foot space terminal features two floors filled with cutting-edge facilities, a location for astronaut training, and of course, a luxurious lounge to enjoy before and after your trip to space.
The two-storey structure is located on a desert landscape in the southwestern United States, in New Mexico. Recently, the interiors (designed by Virgin Galactic in collaboration with Viewport Studio in London) were unveiled and showcased the first floor, dubbed Gaia (meaning Mother Earth in Greek), with a high-end lounge that would befit customers holding the HK$1.96 million (US$250,000) round-trip ticket to space. Focused on our home planet, the decor for Gaia Lounge uses natural materials and an earthy colour palette to bring the nearby surroundings into the design.
Meanwhile, an interactive digital walkway with graphics of shifting constellations and flight statuses help to heighten the departure experience. At the centre of it all is Barista Island, a back-lit Italian marble bar sitting on hand-crafted oak, that serves as a social hub for both guests and staff.
The second floor, called Cirrus, has an operational focus and is home to mission control, the mission briefing room, the pilot corps and the rest of the flight operations team. Here, the interior showcases a clear space and environment with lighter white and grey shades to reflect the skies above.
Click through our gallery below to see more from the Gateway to Space:
Further announcements regarding Virgin Galactic’s developments are said to come out later this year.