The brief was simple: create an iconic, memorable McDonalds at the Airport, like nothing seen before but based on our flagship store model being rolled out globally. The design aims to embrace McDonald’s history of innovation in combining lateral thought, speed, quality and entertainment, built around their ‘industrial revolutionising’ of food production. We also wanted to be true to its location; a departure lounge to the airways that follow.

A yellow glass box housing the kitchen hovers over the service counter. Food is efficiently delivered via a conveyor that spirals towards the ground. The original kitchen was on the ground and 25m from the customer pickup point, so locating the kitchen above provides an efficient delivery method and a stunning and iconic expression for this dynamic brand; a spectacle not seen here or anywhere else before. Like a glowing beacon, it resolves visibility issues in a space that is busy, loud and visually noisy, not only expressing the McDonald’s brand but helping it to stand out amidst the visual clutter of T1.

Signage is simple and intuitive: Order and Collect. McDonald’s is ordered from one counter, McCafe from the other counter, and food and drinks are collected at the rounded corner in between.The material palette is stylish and simple: concrete, glass, stainless steel and oak.

Innovation through design is seen in the layout. The space that McDonalds was leased was too small for more than the kitchen itself. So, in a crowded and bustling departures hall the design team asked if we could lease the volume above too and put the kitchen on display. Not only does this provide, theatre, but it also allowed more team members in the space below, thus delivering a faster service.

Behind the translucent glowing glass, the kitchen team are actors, fulfilling orders & providing theatre in the process. Food is efficiently and spectacularly delivered, transported down from above attached to a conveyor.

McDonald’s was founded on inventiveness, but it is grounded in familiarity. While progressive design and innovative technology continue to propel the brand forward, customers’ memories of McDonald’s are often lifelong and anchored in the past. This too encapsulates McDonald’s in the Sky, which offers an innovative, memorable and entertaining experience while reinforcing and delivering the company’s original key core values with a side of spectacle.