Arakkal’s flight lands at BIA

With an ‘airframe’ of stainless steel and copper, and powered by Yusuf Arakkal’s passion, it is BIA’s first commissioned art piece

Published: 23rd July 2013 12:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2013 12:29 PM   |  A+A-

A futuristic art installation by Yusuf Arakkal now greets passengers at the arrival section in Bangalore International Airport. Titled Flight, the 20 feet by 10 feet, stainless steel and copper art work, mounted on synthetic granite, is the first -ever commissioned piece by Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

The artist, who had been approached months earlier for the project, drew inspiration from his 20-year old association with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited where he designed aircraft components as a machinist. “I worked on my sketches for about two-three months. I had conceived it as a three-dimensional installation of a mechanical flight hinged on a curve. Sanjay Reddy (managing director, BIAL), who is an art connoisseur himself, was extremely excited by the designs,” says Arakkal.

Fifty-five separate pieces were married together to bring alive Flight. Arakkal’s aesthetics were teamed with techniques from actor, artist and entrepreneur Mani Mani’s architectural firm that fashioned the pieces.

“Art aids a multi-sensory environment in airports. This helps people behave the way we want them to. For instance, have you noticed how often a dentist’s clinic will have an aquarium. It’s to help alleviate fear of pain. Similarly, art promotes a certain environment that is calming and welcoming,” says Mani.

Art is also an engaging way to introduce travellers to the cultural ethos of the destination they are at. Like the nine hast mudras at Indira Gandhi International Airport’s terminal T3 by Jaipur-based designer Ayush Kasliwal. Or the 6,000 pieces that will be curated on the walls of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport depicting regional arts from around the country.

“The visual concept for BIA is one that doesn’t encourage clutter,” says Anjana Kher Murray, head,  BIAL corporate communications. “The idea is to have large formats (of art work) in smaller numbers. That said, we don’t want to repeat the steel-glass look you find at most airports now. Instead, we have chosen earth colours for our palette. We see Bangalore as the gateway to South India, to the IT industry and also as a major aviation hub. The image and look of the airport need to reflect that. Also, the focus of our designs is to keep in mind that BIA sees a lot of travellers on business.”

After Flight BIA is set to see more changes, and not just in its name - a gazette notification is awaited for it to be officially called Kempegowda International Airport. As expansion of the airport is underway, more art installations are to be expected. These could be by artists Jatin Das and Satish Gupta.

It all goes to enhance the air travel experience. Snigdha Sheel, a candid wedding photographer, who flits in and out of airports says art works in airports offer much-needed relief to a traveller.

“The installations in Delhi Airport are arresting. In Goa, there is a kitschy statue of a fisherwoman, and to most, especially foreigners, it’s representative of the place. Elephants are a dominating motif at the Bangkok airport. Kolkata airport too has an elephant sculpture. Though, I wonder why.”


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