Jacob Jensen was known for his iconic design work with Bang & Olufsen, along with his clear and calm aesthetics. So, when his agency, Jacob Jensen Design, under the management of son and Chief Design Officer Timothy Jacob Jensen, teamed up with Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa, creative sparks were bound to fly. With the help of in-flight product innovator, SPIRIANT, an amenity kit that combines collaborative spirit with pure design and top functionality was born.
I caught up with representatives from each group to find out how a mutual love for simple design, quality and aesthetics brought together their Night & Day collection and how Jacob’s industrial background shaped the process.
Firstly, can you tell me how the partnership came into fruition?
SPIRIANT (S): Well, as the supplier for Lufthansa’s onboard equipment, we were involved in discussions from a very early stage. We were initially approached by Lufthansa to work out how to make the collaboration happen and then it was a case of bringing our best and brightest ideas onboard to figure out how the kit would be created. A successful collaboration requires input from all parties so we worked very closely with the designers at Jacob Jensen to make sure we were bringing their vision to life.
What attracted you to working on this project with Jacob Jensen?
Lufthansa (LH): The chance to work with such a renowned design agency is always exciting.
There’s also a strong ethos that runs through both Lufthansa and Jacob Jensen Design’s work; we’re both North European brands, we both love simple design and using high-quality materials. One of the other exciting aspects is that Jacob Jensen is a frequent traveler himself so he knows what it’s like to be one of our customers.
As Jacob Jensen’s background is industrial design, how did this shape your process and designs? Do you find your processes differ from somebody that has come from a fashion/beauty background?
Timothy Jacob Jensen (JJ): The design process behind the amenity kits has been the same as we have practiced and refined for almost 60 years – we build models endlessly until perfection is reached! We use physical models to visualize our designs, producing unique and tangible prototypes for our clients’ consideration.
I guess with our background and Scandinavian design heritage, we tend to have a more holistic approach and work towards long-lasting design rather than fashion design trends. We combine form and function creating meaningful user experiences. With more than 750 product designs brought to market, we have the know-how of creating a connection with the end consumer.
Did Jacob’s experience with Bang & Olufsen heavily influence or benefit the project?
JJ: The relationship with B&O lasted for 27 years, which became the B&O golden era. It shaped both B&O and Jacob Jensen Design to pursue perfection and never to accept ‘good enough’. We practice this in all our projects including the amenity kits for Lufthansa First Class.
Your trademark designs very much involve the use of circles, how did this originate?
JJ: The circle is an illustration of one of our brand values: ‘enduring’.
Endurance entails giving new ideas and designs lasting forms; a lasting form is an intelligent solution that makes sense today and in the future. Enduring also means lasting, sustainable quality in material and construction.
The two-colored circle is a symbol of Night and Day, which in this case reflects the flights, where passengers often travel between time zones.
What inspired your final designs for Lufthansa First Class Female and First Class Male?
JJ: Well, as a First Class passenger, you have decided to do something special and therefore you should also be treated special. The shape and the visual expression of the amenity kits are inspired by the JACOB JENSEN logo figure that visualizes the contrast between night and day/ light and dark. We have focused on designing amenity kits, which live up to the aesthetic simplicity of the Lufthansa brand and contribute to a holistic experience for first class passengers.
What challenges did you face during the project and how did you overcome this?
S: That’s an interesting question, actually! We always saw this as a long-term project, which can’t be achieved in a few weeks. There are so many factors to consider such as sampling, idea creation, and quality. We wanted to make sure we took time and effort to get everything 100% right.
When it comes to realizing high-concept and high-quality, it is always a challenge to think about how we translate that to the day-to-day working onboard a flight. It’s a core belief of ours at SPIRIANT to make sure function, form, and design work together. It’s a challenge, but one we love and at the core of our brand!
What was the most enjoyable part of the process?
S: I think we find it’s always a pleasure to have open discussions – especially when everyone is ready to make some compromises.
JJ: The same here. It has been an honour to be chosen by Lufthansa to design their amenity kits.Working together with both Lufthansa and SPIRIANT, who share our values in keeping a special focus on the customers, has been very enjoyable and an insightful experience for us.
What do you personally look for in an amenity kit when travelling?
JJ: I have approximately 75 flights a year and have been provided with a variety of amenity kits during my time in the air. I always look for functionality, quality and aesthetic. An amenity is meant to be a caring gift that makes the time on the plane more convenient and enjoyable. It has to be easy to handle in a plane environment and contain quality products. Also, the design matters. If it has an appealing design, I tend to bring it home and reuse it in my house, in the office or on my next travel. Good design prevents you from throwing things out and is therefore a part of a sustainable lifestyle.
LH We echo that idea, it’s all about creating a beautiful and functional product that people want to keep as a memento. It should be reusable for the passenger, something that they want totake away, talk about, or give to someone. So, it’s great to hear Jacob Jensen tends to bring his home! From the outer fabrics to the inner items (and maybe even a little ‘surprise’ factor too)we look for something that has been crafted with care.