Ghaf Tree realisation showcased at Dubai Airshow
As the manufacturer of the truly stunning Ghaf Tree welcoming feature on Emirates Airline’s new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fleet, AIM Altitude is delighted that the panels are being showcased at the 2017 Dubai Airshow.
The intricate pattern represents the UAE national tree, the Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria). Created from a complex textured and layered configuration, the panels enhance the Door 1 area and provide a distinctive welcome to first-class passengers.
The design intent presented new and unique challenges for AIM Altitude. The scale of the backlighting required considerable development with meticulous selection and arrangement of hidden lights to achieve an even illumination of the Ghaf tree image. LED lights are controlled by the cabin mood-lighting system, to allow the operator to customise lighting-scene colour.
Incorporating the Ghaf tree image into a wood-grain finish and allowing light to shine through provided design and manufacturing challenges of their own. AIM Altitude worked with The Isovolta Group to develop a solution whereby the artwork was cut into the decorative laminate before it was applied to the panel. Careful selection and assembly of materials allowed AIM Altitude to meet the requirements of the panels for weight, manufacturability, structural performance and flammability.
The specification also requested a fasten-seat-belt sign that was concealed when the sign was not activated. Intelligent choice of lens materials allowed AIM Altitude to design a passenger information sign with a discreet ‘dead front’ appearance.
Gavin Balasingam, Head of Engineering at AIM Altitude in New Zealand, said: “The initial design intent was created by Boeing and design consultancy, Teague, but it was then AIM Altitude’s role to make this work as a technical design. In daylight, the image is incorporated within the custom wood-grain finish, at night, however, the Ghaf tree is set against a bright starry sky, representing a desert scene. The dual features made the panels particularly difficult to design and engineer.”
The AIM Altitude team in New Zealand carried out the design and engineering of the Ghaf tree panels, continuing the long relationship they have with The Boeing Company. During development, the design team worked closely with the manufacturing plant at AIM Altitude Cabin Interiors in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, who are now manufacturing a feature panel for each of the fifteen-aircraft fleet.