USA. London agency Portland Design has revealed details of the commercial vision and development work undertaken for the new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. This follows an agreement reached in 2019 with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) for partner Munich Airport International to operate and maintain the terminal.

Some 60 regional, national and global brands are present to deliver retail and F&B in the one million sq ft, US$2.7 billion terminal, which welcomed its first guests last month and will soon welcome its first passengers.

A glimpse of how the inside the new terminal will look (all images courtesy of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Portland Design’s key objective in formulating the commercial vision was to create a strong and unique Sense of Place for New Jersey that would differentiate it from neighbouring New York.

Lewis Allen, Senior Director at Portland explained: “After exploring and researching the history and culture of New Jersey, we were surprised to discover that New Jersey is a ‘State of firsts. For example, it was the first state to have a sea container port, the first organised baseball match was in New Jersey and it was the first state to have a drive-in movie theatre.

“The list goes on, so this became one of the key drivers of the design strategy and vision which underpinned the commercial proposition that Newark Airport is a ‘Journey of Surprises’.

One of numerous stunning art installations which will be on show to passengers and visitors using the new terminal

Allen added that this vision ran through MAI’s commercial tender process and set the tenor of the relationship between retailers and brands looking to take space in the airport. “Our design has enabled ‘A Journey of Surprises’ to show up through key interventions and experiences throughout the customer journey,” he added.

A kerbside to gate lounge passenger journey will delight travellers with unexpected, yet authentic New Jersey moments, Allen said. Passengers will be welcomed to the terminal with a series of bold art installations, in both analogue and digital formats, which celebrate local talent and creativity.

At the heart of the terminal is a commercial plaza with a wide variety of local ‘hero’ vendors, and locally-inspired international brands. Allen said that through menus, product provenance, visual references and more, the New Jersey story is embedded into the DNA of each concept.

Unique New Jersey-inspired children’s play areas are situated along the three piers of the terminal, each taking on a recognisable local theme of sports, music & arts and technology.

These creatively playful spaces celebrate famous New Jersey figures such as the athlete Carl Lewis, singer Bruce Springsteen and inventor and businessman Thomas Edison.

At the end of the journey, passenger hold rooms are informed by the widely contrasting themes of New Jersey terrains and vibes, according to Allen. This will take passengers from the laid-back ambience of the beach boardwalks, to the rural remoteness of the Pine Barrens, to the buzz and energy of Atlantic city.

Bespoke furniture typologies such as the ‘people watcher’, ‘community bench’ and ‘perching pebbles’, further immerse passengers into these vibes, he said, with some elements responsive to seasonal change.

The new terminal has a design capacity for approximately 14 million passengers annually and 33 common-use gates. It provides generous space for a smooth journey through the building from kerbside through check-in, security, gate hold rooms and baggage claim.

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