Standing over 15 metres tall, the Burberry Balloon is inspired by the real-life achievements of Air Commodore Edward Maitland, who, with fellow balloonists Auguste Gaudron and Charles Turner, travelled 1,117 miles from the Crystal Palace in London to Russia in 1908, and established the British long-distance, in- flight record. Maitland wore Burberry gabardine suiting for his historic flight in the ‘Mammoth’ balloon, protecting him from the severe hardships of cold at high altitude.
Located in the departure lounge of Heathrow terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, the installation depicts a scene akin to Edward Maitland’s balloon taking off amid a preparatory picnic, with bespoke pieces of furniture designed and made by the Sebastian Cox workshop and studio.
Cox looked to the past, imagining the items Maitland might have taken on his journey and the traveling chests and ‘campaign' furniture which accompanied explorers as they travelled the globe. He designed the balloon basket, picnic table and trestles, curved screens, hampers, crates, trolleys and chests with pegged mortise and tenons, luggage-inspired leather handles, brass shackles and hand turned toggles to bring this adventurous scene to life. Each piece is made using English oak frames, woven with English ash in an entirely bespoke diagonal weave.
Sebastian Cox says:
“It has been a joy to work with a brand with such heritage and discover dramatic and exciting stories of adventures from over 100 years ago which we can retell in a series of designed objects. We used a frame and weave construction to give everything a very lightweight feel, we wanted each piece to look as though it could take off into the air at any moment.”
The dedicated iPads allow travellers to create and print their own Burberry postcards and send them to friends and family via Burberry post boxes, designed and made by Cox. The cards can be personalised with a passenger’s name and travel destination, and feature illustrations. An animated video of the Burberry Balloon and its journey from Heathrow to the chosen destination can be shared on the user’s social media account.
The Burberry Balloon will be accompanied by a pop-up store featuring bags from the British luxury brand’s DK88 collection, named after the house code for its signature honey-coloured gabardine. The DK88 comes in top handle, satchel and luggageinspired styles for men and women, each featuring Burberry’s exclusive new Trench Leather. The Burberry Balloon will be at Heathrow from 8 May to 7 August before travelling the next leg of its world tour to a secret destination.