Airport Architecture and Design: How Lighting Design Can Drastically Improve Customer Experience

Anthropologist Marc Auge defined airports as a “non-place” because we move through them to get from one locale to another. They’re a part of the journey as opposed to being the destination. However, the right design can make an airport a fascinating place, where people enjoy spending time and money, turning it into one of the best parts of a trip. 

Below, you’ll learn more about the art and science of airport architecture and design. You’ll also learn about the consulting services that Richard Clarkson offers in this area. 

Keeping People Calm

One of the foremost difficulties that any airport designer confronts is anxiety. People at the airport are likely to get anxious for several reasons: being away from home and going through security are two prominent ones, and that doesn’t even touch on a fear of flying.


There are a few tricks that designers use to keep people calm. The first is lighting. You want to make sure people have access to as much natural light as possible. The airport should also have plenty of modulated light for when natural light isn’t available.


Along with that, people want to be able to see where they’re going. This explains why there are so many wide, open spaces in airports. While allowing for a great number of potential passengers, it also makes it easier for people to see their destination.


Keeping people calm also incentivizes shopping during The Golden Hour: the first hour after a passenger has passed through airport security, when they’re most likely to want to purchase something.

Gate Size

Gate size used to be one of the main issues facing airport architects and designers. Airlines would essentially ‘rent out’ a certain amount of gate space, which meant it was in their best interest to make this space as compact as possible.


Of course, the current size of these gates isn’t conducive to the amount of people expected to wait by a gate before a departure. The financial situation at many airports has shifted, with airlines often helping to pay rent for the full building, not particular gates.


For this reason, there are many more possibilities available when it comes to gate design. We’ll be happy to discuss these possibilities with you.

What Are The Goals For The Airport?

As with any design project, you want to think about your own goals as early in the project as possible. Are you looking for a budget-conscious, functional design, or are you looking for an airport that can attract the attention of travelers from anywhere in the world?


This is the most important information a client can impart during the design process, since it influences the strategy with which we approach the design.

Airport Architecture & Design - Richard Clarkson

At Richard Clarkson, we’re on the cutting edge of design. This means we’re always pushing forms to ensure that our clients get exactly what they want, every time.


Whether you have a specific idea in mind or you’d like us to work on your project from the ground up, we’ll be happy to do so.


If you have any questions about what we can do for you, you can reach out to us via our contact form. If you’d prefer to speak with us over the phone, you can call us at +1 6467031121.