Fri 13 May 2011 – Air travellers who have braved the stresses of checking in and passing through security at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport can now unwind under the trees on designer chairs upholstered in ivy at the newly-opened Airport Park above Pier D. The airport claims it is the first of its kind in the world and the designers have set about emulating the ambience of a city park, complete with greenery and food and kiosk outlets. The park, which has an outdoor terrace, also features some sustainable applications, including bicycles that allow travellers to both exercise and power up mobile phones as they pedal. LED lighting has been used where possible and daylight enters the park through tube lighting and fibre optic cables. Time will tell how many passengers find the experience so relaxing that they doze off on one of the park benches and miss their flight.
The feeling of being in a park is achieved through what the airport describes as ‘mixed reality’ technology, in which images of famous parks all over the world are displayed on the walls, while projections of butterflies and the sounds of animals (dogs?), bicycle bells and playing children help to persuade visitors they are not in one of Europe’s busiest airports. By describing the park as “a haven of tranquillity” the airport may however be stretching the imagination.
The Park Café serves a range of snacks including fair trade coffee, fresh juices and hamburgers on organic buns and can be taken outside to one of the wooden picnic benches or, for the full picnic experience, visitors can sit on one of the tree-stump seats or logs.
Power points for laptops and other electronic equipment that require recharging are located at the edge of the park.
The Airport Park was officially opened on Tuesday by Princess Irene, founder and President of the NatuurCollege Foundation, and Maarten de Groof, Executive Vice President of Schiphol Group.
Schiphol says it is keen to be Europe’s “preferred airport” where passengers chose to travel through. “They do so because Schiphol is much more than simply an airport: it is a dynamic hub where people feel welcome and where different worlds meet, just like in a modern city,” it notes.
Schiphol – Airport Park
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