“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO


Did you know that Mood Lighting is now available on airplanes?   

I learned this just recently, while reading up on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner under production for All Nippon Airways.

Wait a minute, you might be thinking.

Now you’re talking airplanes?

Does that have anything to do with Interior Design?

Well, yes, it does. So-called industrially designed objects permeate our lives and our homes but we often don’t give them much thought.

These everyday items can be as humble and practical as a toothbrush, or as high-tech and complex as a computer  –  or an airplane.

What struck me about this article was the quality of design touches being installed on this particular plane.

Mood lighting was one. Improved comfort was another – something we don’t often associate these days with air travel.

When I read about the entrance atrium with a 10-foot high ceiling that lends an air of space and light, not to mention plenty of head room – I was really impressed.

This didn’t sound like an airplane anymore. It was the sort of thoughtful detail we’d expect to find in our homes, yet when you think about it, an airplane is essentially a microcosm of the homes we are used to.

Of course, food, temporary shelter and bathroom facilities are about as basic as it gets. The food might not be great, and the bathrooms are usually too small to even turn around in.

Unless you’re flying on this particular airplane, which features a bathroom that is twice normal size and even has a window! The additional square footage will accommodate a wheelchair – a vast improvement indeed.

Oh – about that Mood Lighting. Also referred to as Accent lighting, these are the lights that provide the extra glow in a given space.

You might feel that you could easily do without this type of lighting, but please don’t kid yourself.

Since the overall mood of our living spaces is defined by the lighting within, it makes sense that our general moods, while flying, can also be positively influenced by the lighting overhead.

In this case, a sophisticated combination of technology and design allows the lighting to change color, according to the various phases of your trip.

In other words, the overhead lighting can be used as a cue – perhaps red to stimulate your appetite, a restful blue to induce sleep – and yet another color to let passengers know “we’re almost there”!

How cool is that?