In recent decades, mall-like shopping centers, fine-dining restaurants and concierge services replaced the spartan airport facilities that were the norm well into the late 20th century. Now some airports are taking the concept of airports as destinations a step further, creating award-winning interior spaces both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.
Earlier this year, the South Florida chapter of the International Interior Design Association recognized Miami International Airport’s North Terminal Marketplace with its top retail design award, noting “the difficulty of the project in terms of site, and the success of integration into the existing architectural vocabulary, while producing a bright and attractive retail element.”
Designed by Heery International, the Marketplace is located between Gates D26 and D29. The award-winning space celebrates Miami’s diverse cultural offerings with, among other things, a selection of Caribbean foods and Cuban-style cigars.
Also this year, the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality gave a nod to the recent renovation of the lobby at the airport’s MIA Hotel, and Floor Focus magazine recognized the hotel’s white, blue and green terrazzo lobby floor with its Vision Design Award.
Located landside on the second floor of the airport’s central Terminal E, the 252-room hotel offers guests direct access to airline ticket counters, departure concourses, airport concession shops, restaurants, public transportation and the rental car center.
In addition to award-winning designs, Miami International Airport also rolls out the welcome wagon with a new virtual passenger assistant. “Leticia,” a human-sized interactive hologram, speaks both English and Spanish. During its initial testing phase, the virtual assistant is available at two entrances to the airport’s South Terminal, offering 24/7 access to information about the airport’s shops, restaurants and services.
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