Cochin International Airport – T3 interiors, designed by KGD, Bangalore in collaboration with KITCO is envisioned as a confluence of exotic cultural inheritance and rich natural heritage forming the gateway to traditional Kerala in a grand way. Each public area in the terminal is given a fine touch of this convergence by taking different architectural and natural elements inheritant to Kerala giving the ambience a “WOW” factor. Opened in March 2017, the 15 lakh sq.ft. terminal is nearly 2.5 times bigger than the existing two terminals taken together. It has arrivals in ground level and departures in first floor handling the passengers at 2 levels efficiently by connecting the departure level separately with an elevated roadway. KITCO is the principal consultant for architectural, engineering as well as the project management consultant for the project.
Arrivals – a welcoming space: “home-coming”
The arrival floor of the terminal is designed to recreate the traditional entranceway with elegant doorways and elaborate wood work depicted in a sensitive way. Wood paneling is taken as a major element of design to depict Kerala culture.
Arrival concourse – tranquil and delightful walk
The arrival concourse that is leading the passenger from the plane to immigration and then to baggage claim area is wood paneled in soothing colour shade and wooden ceilings as common and sleek elements create a relaxed ambience for the home coming.
Arrival immigration area – a progressive transition into the traditional Kerala
The passenger immigration facility as a part of arrival concourse uses the same light colour palette – wood paneling on columns and wooden ceilings. Wood elements as highlights and accents carve the space together with wood paneled counters, design treatment similar to check-in counter. After immigration the passengers then move on to baggage claim through the duty free area.
Arrival duty free shop area – optically moving space (a journey through the spice routes of Kerala)
It is an experiential space created that extends brands to come to life through engagement and interaction increasing the shopping time. Inspired from the bright red webbing (mace) that surrounds the oval shaped nutmeg fruit, patterns are derived in the false ceiling which reflects throughout as a design statement. Passenger pathways are highlighted in light colour flooring with a dark stone border.
Arrivals baggage claim area – abode of festivals: “celebrating the home coming”
A vivid representation of the eventful cultural life in Kerala is brought to life with the festival ambience inspired from the Thrissur Pooram festival in the baggage claim. Fret cut metal art inspired from elephant caparison adorn every column on 2 sides recreating the feel of a welcome procession during festivals. Decorative light shades inspired from the traditional Kerala umbrella displayed during processions added as a lighting element highlighting the fret cut metal art on the columns. Intricate wood jali on the other 2 sides of the columns, floating wood ceilings over the baggage belt around the columns, and evenly spread our strip lighting in the ceiling add to the celebration of the space.
Following the same theme, the customs area is highlighted with wood paneled counters, design treatment similar to check-in counter, wood paneled columns (same as what is given in baggage claim) and wooden ceilings.
Arrivals meet and greet concourse
The ground floor of the building catering to the arrival passengers is the first point of contact to the arriving guests with the locals. A separate welcome space for greeting and gathering created with double height landscaping pockets inspired from the traditional Kerala Nadumuttam or central courtyard giving a smooth transition between the interior and the exterior spaces. These courtyards connect departure and arrival floors with ease also adding colour and life to the space.
Departures – walking by the Kerala scape
The departures side of the terminal provides a relaxed ambience – complimented by nature and the simple and lean line-forms inspired from Kerala’s backwaters interpreted in modern language. The check-in counters are all wood paneled as is the low roof above them. Neat fret cut panels are used for the low roof to make it light and airy. All the counters in the terminal follow the same intent. Earthy tones with warm lighting are used to create the soothing overall ambience.
After the check-in and security check the passengers are taken into a linear space with central aisle created for passenger flow and seating aisles together with departure gates on either sides all along the pier. Holding potential place in the passenger flow, it starts with a journey through duty free and have retail areas on either sides. Soothing colour shades with wood ceiling as a common element and simple sleek elements and furnishings created a relaxed ambience. The branding and advertisement locations are also carefully planned to have the maximum exposure yet fit into the theme of the space.
Toilets – Kerala illustrated through an artist’s eye
In the toilets, the look and feel of tranquility and simplicity is achieved with the usage of elemental materials, colours and graphics. Neutral colour tones with highlight elements, visually treat the space. Typical Kerala lifestyle through an artist’s eye depicted in the graphics bring character to the space.
The planning of the terminal which includes a mixture of F&B and retails also have been looked at design wise so that the design of the individual units, be it a retailer, a catering outlet, a free-standing kiosk, lounges or other services, have a dynamic and innovative approach. Design guidelines have been developed that aim to allow sufficient opportunity for creativity whilst ensuring that there is an overall synergy to the terminal space.
All in all, the Cochin International Airport, the 4th largest International Airport in India, boasts of state-of- the-art facilities. It is the first greenfield airport and also the first “power neutral” airport with installation of solar power plant that generates electricity enough for its daily operations and makes the airport carbon neutral. It is one of the top 5 privately managed green airports in India.