Read Travel

Delta Sky Deck

Watch the planes go by while enjoying a little sun at JFK’s Terminal 4 outdoor lounge

by LinYee Yuan


Taxiing planes and a buzz of runway activity at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s new Terminal 4 serve as a dramatic backdrop for interior designer Thom Filicia and Architectural Digest‘s new Delta Sky Deck—the United States’ first outdoor lounge and viewing deck housed inside an airport. We recently received a sneak peek at the landmark in travel-related design, which is part of the Delta Sky Club at JFK’s newly minted T4 terminal.

The location boasts the largest club in Delta’s system with over 24,000 square feet dedicated to meeting the needs of the most discerning international travelers. Thom Lang (Deputy Director of Design, Planning and Logistics for T4) explained that the Sky Club was, “designed around power,” with charging stations embedded in nearly every surface—wall outlets, table consoles and stand-alone charging kiosks—fill the space. Visits to the kitchen, screening room, VIP room or showers are just a few of the options to fill the time between flights.


The Sky Deck is a seamless continuation of the Sky Club’s design language; translating the comfort and amenities of the interior into a stylish outdoor setting. The viewing platform allows guests to engage with the activity of the runway through floor-to-ceiling glass viewing windows that wrap around the space. “We wanted to elevate the experience of flight,” Filicia explains. Working within strict design guidelines, his team clad the exterior walls in Trespa panels and overhead Tenshon shade sails that reference Delta’s triangular logo. Large mirrors reflect the energy of the Tarmac while drawing guests through the space.


Furniture and exterior elements had to pass strict safety standards including flame testing and heat resistance. Custom outdoor rugs by Safavieh, designed by Filicia, were woven using a special flame-retardant heavy gauge polypropylene. JANUS et Cie outdoor lounge furniture was chosen not only for the warmth and materiality of its woven rope surfaces, but also for their durability and safety. Custom-built storage boxes can house the contents of the entire lounge, enclose lighting wiring and provide movement and a green element for the space. The plastic greenery and the decorative pebbles that anchor the plantings are all permanently embedded in the storage boxes to prevent any detritus from escaping to the runway. In addition, everything is hard-mounted to the floor or tethered to furniture for safety.


Lighting for the Sky Deck was designed to draw people into the space. Every Antonangeli floor lamp, FLOS planter light, Holly Hunt pavilion sconce and Hinkley perimeter light is a downlight, providing warmth without distracting the work of directing planes on and off the tarmac.

The Sky Deck is a triumph for Delta and heralds a new period of travel and friendliness at airports. As Filicia noted, “The Sky Deck is a big gesture of confidence—it signals that control is back on this side, a dynamic step forward.” The Sky Deck opens 24 May 2013 at JFK and a second deck will be open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 10 June 2013.

Images by LinYee Yuan and courtesy of Architectural Digest


More stories like this one.