Dutch students upcycle old KLM interior into new products

Students for the Design Academy Eindhoven turn discarded material from the KLM cabins into inventive new travel items.

Dutch designer Hella Jongerius recently gave KLM’s World Business Class interior a new look. But what is happening with the unwanted materials removed from the old planes?

In February 2015 14 students from the “Man and Identity” faculty of Design Academy Eindhoven were taken into a hangar at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and given free reign to dismantle the complete airplane interior of an old KLM World Business Class section.
Seats, carpets, seat belts and old TV screens were all available to the students. Their assignment, “Plane to Product”, was to take these discarded materials and create new travel items, of which the prototypes needed to contain at least 70 per cent recycled materials.

The creations that were born of the “Plane to Product” project are an ingenious assortment of items. They include a soft bag that folds into a pillow, a backpack for kids and slippers for the journey.

Industrial designer Hella Jongerius, an alumnus of Design Academy Eindhoven herself, designed the new World Business Class interior with a comparable amount of ingenuity and care. The new carpets, for example, are made from recycled KLM hostess uniforms.

The “Plane to Product” project items are now on display in the window of the de Bijenkorf department store in Amsterdam. Though they are not for sale, they demonstrate how – with a little imagination – discarded materials can become new pieces of Dutch design.
Elements of the new interior, including cushions and blankets by Jongerius and tableware by Marcel Wanders, are also on display inside the store.

Watch the Talk with Hella Jongerius

More on Design Thinking