Designer in Profile: Simon Koenig – Director of Interior Design Refurbishment at Jet Aviation

Name: Simon Koenig Simon Koenig - Jet Aviation
Company: Jet Aviation
Position within company: Director of Interior Design Refurbishment

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc).

I have an Industrial Design degree (2006), which is the base for my work experience in recent years. For two years, I lived in the Netherlands, working for different design studios such as Marcel Wanders. In 2008, I joined Jet Aviation as a drafter. That provided me with a smooth entry to this highly complex and competitive business of private aviation.

After a short period, I took over the Design responsibility for a completions project. That helped to develop my project management skills in combination with the creative elements of VIP Interior Design.

In 2012, I received the beautiful and challenging task of creating a division within Jet Aviation to provide Interior Design work to refurbishment customers, similar to the well‐established Completions Design Studio. Today, I’m heading a well‐recognized Interior Design Team that is dedicated to our refurbishment customers.

What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

I am drawn to materials that tell a story with unique characteristics. Sometimes it’s not the absolutely perfect level of finishing that customers might expect. It can be something closer to imperfection or individualism, and a very intimate feeling that certain products create for the customer.

Elements which have a natural ageing process – like naked leather, which marks when scratched, or a copper surface without a clear-coat, which shows wavy colour-nuances – can add personal value and stories to an object – or an interior.

If those “imperfect” surfaces are combined with perfect elements such as a high-gloss varnish of a wood – or a harmonic and precisely shaped seat, the richness and depth of the concept can be stunning.

Like the watch you receive from your father – it’s showing marks, but it’s the marks of someone you love –and that makes this object priceless and truly unique to you. 

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2018 and beyond.

– New petrol-less industry. Our environment and ranking of status will change dramatically in the next years. It’s time to start thinking about that now.

– Customer experience. How can this key-element be enhanced through Design?

– Blend lines of business. To drive a certain business forward it’s sometimes necessary to hook-up with other lines of industry – and be open-minded!

– Be authentic. Even if the industry dictates difficult constraints in terms of preparation – and downtime, do your best to get the maximum output.

– Love your job. – You know you are in the right job if you are positive and remain motivated, which will produce outstanding results!

What projects are you currently working on?

As usual, we’re having multiple concepts and running projects ongoing in parallel. Our running RMU projects cover B747’s, B737’s, as well as Falcon, Bombardier and Gulfstream projects. Unfortunately, we can’t share specific details of our upfront projects since many of our concepts are confidential and / or part of a tender.

Generally speaking, we try to challenge ourselves by introducing unconventional materials and applications to these projects. A sheepskin on the floor, cashmere on seats or real stone on walls – those are themes we are working around.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

When a concept or presentation is worked out, it always has to be true.

We’re a service provider and therefore have to fulfil the customer’s taste or request. This doesn’t mean to blindly fulfil everything, leaving the path of rational aesthetics! It’s our duty to address our experience and suggestions – and gently show sound solutions to ensure a safe well engineered aircraft that reflects the customer’s vision.

What products/services could you not live without when designing?

My Computer, Paper and a pen. It sounds a bit stereotyped, but using the pen and paper is the best, most honest, creative and spontaneous tool! And my Computer of course, which builds the base for all the communication, host of our Visualizing Programs (like CS) and platform for any interactive exchange.

How important are The International Yacht and Aviation Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

In my opinion, the award is a great opportunity to build brand awareness and challenge ourselves to be innovative and creative.  It is an honour to be ranked amongst the high calibre of designers in these two industries.  There is an element of design based on people’s taste- no right or wrong- the goal is to take a customer’s vision and create a reality.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Stand out. This means that we have to move forward with innovative technology, communicate Design concept through channels that reach the end‐customer directly, and make sure our services are outstanding and unique.

I would like to truly look at what inspires me as a designer and show the industry that we are a brilliant design team leading/setting trends in the aviation market, each with our own strengths in creativity and inspiration that is still in line with the regulations.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:

Your favourite place to travel to in the world?
Den Haag NL

Your most treasured possession?
My family – they are my religion

Your favourite hotel, restaurant and bar?
Hotel “In Lain” in Brail – “Werk8” in Basel, best place for a quiet drink

Your favourite food and drink?
Medium/rare meat and Palm beer

The place that enables you to totally relax?
Home – on the EA222

The place that gives you most inspiration?
Places where my mind can go elsewhere – like while mountain biking. Sportive activity in nature can be incredibly good for creativity!

Any final thoughts?
In today’s increasingly automatized and competitive world, it’s more important than ever to value human factors like motivation, EQ and sympathy.