Deciding how to design an aircraft interior is the ultimate blank canvas. Although floorplans are usually narrowed to a set of interchangeable options, the style and aesthetic of the interior is wide open.

It’s so wide open that some of the world’s most elite customers are confronted with a dizzying array of choices as soon as they reserve a production slot for a new business jet.

“We come in with so many ideas and so many fresh examples and sometimes you’re overwhelmed,” says Vicky Amores, an interior designer for Gulfstream.

That’s why the Savannah, Georgia-based manufacturer is rolling out a sort of categorical menu of five interior aesthetic styles at the NBAA convention this year. Customers can still order interior features in any manner they choose, whether they prefer à la carte, mix-and-match or one style only. The point is not to prescribe or impose a particular set of aesthetic views upon a customer, but rather to establish a common vocabulary with which to discuss all of the options.

With the G500 business jet entering the market in two years, Gulfstream has a chance to reset how it works with customers on designing the cabin interior.

“What this allows us to do is start a really quality conversation with our clientele,” says Tray Crow, Gulfstream’s director for interior design. “This at least gives a starting point for discussion.”

To set that starting point, Gulfstream has identified style categories: classic, layered, sport, minimalist and next generation. Each aesthetic comes with a general description.

— Classic is the style most favoured by corporate clients. It prefers neutral colours, soft materials like wools and flannels, and design highlights that are not “too ostentatious”, Amores says.

— Layered is often preferred by customers from developing regions. The design references the yacht industry, heavy on mirrors, plating and veneers. “it’s turning the interior of the cabin into a home,” she says.

— Sport is an automotive interior applied to a business jet cabin. These customers value performance and high levels of contrast in lights and darks.

— Minimalist is almost self-explanatory, with a focus on subtle variances in tones and the overall architecture of the cabin.

— Next generation, as the name suggests, is the newest style trend to emerge, and thus the least defined. It tends to be favoured by the youngest buyers, who value fun. They are not afraid to use colour.

“We’ve never taken this approach of putting it in categories before. I think we’ve laid things out on the table and kind of see what they’re attracted to,” Amores says.

Gulfstream’s customers still run the show. They can pick elements from the Classic category and blend in features from the Sport category. Each category itself has two major themes. For instance, Sport is divided into themes based on automotive interiors inspired by either a Lamborghini or a Bentley.

Some customers will still prefer to bring in their own interior designers, especially when they’ve collaborated before on previous aircraft designs.

But Gulfstream wants customers to know the company offers a full-service interior design operation, and, as Amores notes, it is included in the price of the aircraft.

Source: Flight Daily News