The Virgin Upper Class bar by VW+BS architects

Virgin Atlantic's pop up in the sky

New Upper Class bar follows the trend on the ground for pop up and boutique bars

While renewed talk of underpants bombers (such an unpleasant mental image) has taken the sheen off flying somewhat, at least one pioneering space entrepreneur is bringing some glamour back into airflight. Last Saturday an A330 took off from London to New York with a brand new Upper Class bar and cabin designed by the VW+BS studio in partnership with Virgin Atlantic's design team. The $162 million interior redesign includes 1,000-crystal Swarovski curtains and an eight-feet-long bar, making it the world's largest inflight drinking establishment. The off white colour palette is brightened by the RGB lighting embedded into the design which gives scope for eight different colour schemes to suit different moods: whether it's sleeptime, transitioning between time zones or anger management after the kid behind has flipped his Petits Filous into your lap for a second time.

“We had been approached over four years ago by Virgin with a test brief to see what we would do if we had a free hand to redesign one of their planes," AW_BS told Phaidon. "We had a lot of fun but we researched very thoroughly the changing trends in travel and hospitality to produce an intelligence report that could form both a reference and to determine how these new ideas could be incorporated on board an aircraft.

The entry point for the practice's thinking began with the idea that the bar should be positioned at the entry point to the plane. "It had to make an immediate impression. And after take-off the bar had to become a destination. We wanted to orient the bar within the space to make this impact and to create a genuinely convivial space that reflected trends happening on the ground with pop-up bars and the new speak easy, while having an aesthetic that was futuristic and belonged in the sky. Reorienting the bar so that it is angled to face the entry door allowed us to re-imagine the space to create a variety of different social spaces.”

As we mentioned last week, one of our favourite designers Hella Jongerius, is currently reworking KLM’s business class offering. we'll bring you the results of that coupling later this year. Though if you can't wait, take a look at Hella's work in the excellent Misfit