Tokyo’s Narita International Airport is shaking up low-cost architecture expectations by giving one of its terminals a makeover inspired by the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games. Terminal 3’s new indoor racetrack design uses two colors to direct traveler traffic—blue for departing flights and red for arriving flights. The goal was to create an intuitive system that kicks some of the more costly directionals we’re used to seeing (moving walkways, illuminated signs) to the curb. The result is an uber minimalist space that manages to come off more high-end than budget-friendly.
The terminal also features an open-format dining area that would put any normal airport food court to shame (except these). There’s a reason the fixtures resemble pieces you might find in your own home—popular Japanese retail brand Muji is responsible for all of the space’s furniture.
While this project may be a tie-in to the Games in Tokyo—the airport is sure to be a hub for transporting athletes and spectators to the big event—it’s a great lesson in design thinking. See what the PARTY, the Japanese creative lab behind the project, had to say about the idea (the video is in Japanese, so make sure to turn on the English captions if needed):
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.