Virgin Atlantic’s Swank New Lobby Conveys Brand Values, Without The Brand

Every bit feels like Virgin, but can you even spot the logo?

“Branding” is such an intangible term. You can identify it as typography, logos, or a certain shade of blue. But eventually, companies take on personalities wholly their own…especially if they’re owned by the contagious smile and golden personality of Richard Branson.


So when I see this new entrance to Virgin Atlantic’s global HQ (well, technically this same design has been used at each of the HQ’s entries), and I think “That’s so Virgin,” it’s about a lot more than the trademark color scheme. It’s that every bit of the experience is bold–we’re talking about red floors with race-car sheen–including where it’s technically minimal. Even the plain walls seem to convey a certain larger-than-life grandeur beyond a mere reference to white space. Virgin, through the design of Checkland Kindleysides, makes white paint into a luxury.

“We used the space and the brand to inspire us, taking advantage of the double height walls in the atrium, which provided us with a huge blank canvas on which to express the personality of the Virgin Atlantic brand,” Joe Keating, Senior Designer, tells Co.Design. “The high gloss red floor completes the space; reflecting the lighting feature above (and optimising the spaciousness) which playfully mimics aircraft dropping through the clouds to land safely back home.”

It’s a set of subtle aesthetic metaphors–air, clouds, and runways–that speak for the space’s purpose and make it so ultimately satisfying. And have you spotted the logo yet? It can be hard to notice. It’s but a watermark in the reception desk. Meanwhile, the most predictable spot that the logo would normally go (right behind the reception desk) has been replaced with light-hearted line art.

“Our hand drawn illustrations depict some quirky humorous representations of the brand icons and provide a flavour of some of the airline’s destinations,” writes Keating, “as well as including some very British images, reminding us of the company’s origins and heritage.”

That’s right, in one corner we’ve got Big Ben, and in another, we’ve got Branson lifting ladies–it really doesn’t get more British–or much more Virgin Atlantic–than that.

[Hat tip: Wallpaper]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.