CHENNAI: Don’t be surprised if, in the months to come, you suddenly find rustic earthen pots, handcrafted figurines, traditional sculptures and thematic carpets all over the Chennai Airport.
In the run up to the Global Investors Meet and in a bid to giving the airport a more culturally relevant touch, Airports Authority of India (AAI) has sought assistance from Poompuhar, the arts and crafts wing of the TN Handicrafts Development Corporation, to do up the airport. “They have inspected every inch of the airport and have come back to us with a very detailed proposal about how we can transform the look and aesthetic feel of the terminals. We are quite pleased with the suggestions and will be discussing it further with them to try and figure out how we can best get it done,” said Captain Deepak Shastri, Airport Director.
Some of the mock-ups given by Poompuhar include the erection of a large sculpture at the entry point of the terminal to make an impact on entering passengers. Others are more functional — such as using metal figurines of a man and woman to depict the male and female washrooms, and changing the carpeting in most areas where bright colours have been used.“The stress is on putting a lot of plants at ambient locations and making the plain walls and corridors seem alive. This will be complemented with cost-effective handicrafts like pots and earthenware artefacts that will give it that South Indian feel that we have lacked so far,” he added.
The airport terminals, though modern and built of contemporary steel and glass, have been criticised for being unimaginative and lacking in character because of its empty walls and low signage. There are a few installations put up by the original interior decorative firm employed, but they are few and far between. An official from TNHDC confirmed that they were indeed looking at adding some of their products to the Chennai Airport and were speaking with their Project Director and the State Government to subsidise the products as much as possible, in light of the fact that most of these expenses are being incurred for the upcoming Global Investors Meet.
Already, plenty of plain wall sections of the airport have been transformed as the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation has erected digitally erected prints of famous sculptures and paintings across the airport, as recently as last week. “What we’re trying to do is get an interior decorator and a horticulturist to also take a look at the interiors and give us cost-effective solutions to make the terminals look better. Small budget projects such as these can be implemented in stages without too much hassle,” said Shastri.