Melbourne Airport Design Vision


  • Grimshaw
  • Melbourne Airport
  • Bambra


The ‘Melbourne Airport Design Vision’ sets out design principles for architects, designers and Melbourne Airport staff towards a united vision and shares aspirational goals that will improve traveller and user experience.

The opening of the airport in 1970 breathed life and sophistication into the City of Melbourne and was a key influence in developing Melbourne’s cultural character. This character informs the design vision – creating a connection of the city back into the airport. By understanding how users engage with the airport and what makes Melbourne, “Melbourne”; designers will transform the terminal and realise the Airport’s vision.

Key Features


The ‘Melbourne Airport Design Vision’ is the overarching reference model and heads up a suite of guidance documents produced by the Airport. It communicates the look and feel for the Airport’s transformation with best practice examples and provides a framework that ensures consistency of the traveller experience, but flexible enough to empower designers to innovate and produce quality outcomes that deliver the vision and create delight across the airport.

While each terminal is relative to the other; the intention is to use a common visual design language, which is woven between them creating a consistent and enjoyable airport campus.


The perceptions of visitors, airlines, business partners, government, regulators, shareholders and Melbourne Airport staff are shaped by their exposure to design.

Applying the design principles will enhance user experience, drive revenue generation and bring a cohesive character to the entire airport campus – key factors in realising the Airport\’s long-term vision and plan. We do this through delivering an airport that connects back to the artistically and culturally rich city it serves, and with it, the excitement of the travel experience.

By improving traveller experience, Melbourne Airport will enhance its reputation, becoming first choice for airlines and travellers.


The ‘Design Vision’ informs and inspires the reader on Melbourne Airports’ unique perspective and enables others to evaluate design proposals on a more objective basis.

Mandated by the Executive Team and endorsed by the CEO, Design Managers and Development Managers of APAM are issued the Design Vision. Externally, the document is issued to all design consultants. It is expected they know the design principles and use the guide as a baseline for design. In turn, all have a common asset to refer to – facilitating appropriate design choices in which design decisions, large and small, can be made.


Our approach was an interdisciplinary one; communication design, architectural design and interior design. Key design principles were established through deep understanding of each disciplines strategies, along with the desired vision and issues unique to the airport.

The Design Vision communicates the look and feel for the Airport’s transformation with best practice examples. It provides: a structured framework, a common visual language, a cohesive Melbourne character, tools to improve user experience, understanding of the Airport’s functional requirements, and, opportunities to create enjoyable spaces. Prescriptive to ensure consistency, but flexible enough for designers to innovate and produce quality outcomes and create delight.


The book’s design is approachable – engaging all levels of staff and design disciplines. The layout visualises a sense-of-place throughout to foster appreciation of the Airport’s unique aspirations. The colour palette reflects the diversity and all-seasons attitude of Melbourne’s culture. Large and small + sans and serif typefaces communicate our contrasting region, architecture and sub-cultures. The cover exemplifies Melbourne; wearing a “black uniform”, we are edgy and unfussy, but also stylish, with a strong emphasis on authenticity, design, art and culture. The Moire wave form represents air, passenger movement and the changing ‘season’ of the airports transformation.

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