LBB’s Liam Smith gets to grips with the build on this ambitious project
Airline KLM has become known for its experiential marketing over the years. From its ‘Bonding Buffet’ that brought travellers together for a Christmas feast, to its cheeky Flight Upgrader, that used virtual reality to allow budget airline passengers to experience a luxurious KLM flight.
But in their latest work from DDB&Tribal Amsterdam, the airline has dropped all that fancy tech for a more rustic, old-school approach. The KLM Airport Experience is a giant marble run that represents the many initiatives that have been introduced at the Amsterdam airport that make travellers’ journeys easier.
“In a perfect world, travellers would be able to continue their journey as smoothly and unobstructed as possible,” the team at DDB&Tribal Amsterdam told LBB. “We liked the idea of presenting an extremely simplified metaphor for this: a marble that literally moves in the path of least resistance, and KLM helping achieve that.”
The handcrafted installation took almost one year from the development of the idea to the finished product. DDB&Tribal worked closely with Random Studio on the design of the run, and Fiction Factory on the production.
The team began by creating miniature versions of each specialised segment of the installation to test the entire run. “We wanted to link each KLM initiative to a special segment in the installation, for instance a faster track would represent priority lane passengers and a randomiser portrays the unpredictable nature of passengers when walking through the airport.”
By building these segments separately, the team could study how the marbles interacted at different velocities. It was a process of trial and error, making sure the marbles were picking up enough speed for the loops, and slowing down for jumps between the segments.
Despite the rigorous testing, the finished installation will still require some tweaking, says DDB&Tribal Amsterdam. “The wood changes shapes depending on heat and humidity. And the slightest tilt in the floor will throw all the calculations off. When relocating the installation we have to take that into account and do last minute tweaks.”
The installation is currently being exhibited at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven until October 29th, so be sure to check it out if you’re passing by.