Burberry is celebrating the magic of flight by installing a life-size hot air balloon and bespoke furniture designed and made by British designer-maker Sebastian Cox in a new pop-up at Heathrow Airport. Measuring 15m high, the Burberry Balloon is inspired by the real-life achievements of air commodore Edward Maitland, who, alongside fellow balloonists Auguste Gaudron and Charles Turner, travelled 1,117 miles from Crystal Palace in London to Russia in 1908, and established the British long-distance, in-flight record. Maitland wore Burberry gabardine suiting for his historic flight in the 'Mammoth' balloon.
Mannequins supplied by Global Display
Located in the departure lounge of Heathrow Terminal 2: The Queen's Terminal, the installation depicts a scene akin to Maitland's balloon taking off amid a preparatory picnic, with the bespoke pieces of furniture. Cox looked to the past, imagining the items Maitland might have taken on his journey and the traveling chests and campiagn furntiure which accompanied explorers as they travelled the globe. He designed the balloon basket, picnic tables and trestles, curved screens, hampers, crates, trolleys and chests with pegged mortise and tenons, luggage-inspired handles, brass shackles and hand-turned toggles to bring this adventurous scene to life. Each item is made using English oak frames, woven with English ash in an entirely bespoke diagonal weave.
'It has been a joy to work with a brand with such heritage and discover dramatic and exciting stories of adventures from over 100 years ago, which we can retell in a series of design objects,' says Cox. 'We used a frame and weave construction to give everything a very lightweight feel; we wanted each piece to look as though it could take off into the air at any moment.'
iPads allow travellers to create and print their own Burberry postcards and send them to friends and family via Burberry post boxes, also designed and made by Cox. The cards can be personalised with a passenger's name and travel destination, and feature illustrations. An animated Burberry Balloon and its journey from Heathrow to the chosen destination can also be shared on the user's social media.
A pop-up store has also been designed, featuring bags from the British luxury brand's DK88 collection, named after the house code for its signature honey-coloured gabardine.
The Burberry Balloon will be at Heathrow until 7 August before travelling the next leg of its world tour to a secret destination.