March 16, 2004 - New York - KISSING AT Macedonian Airlines (Greece)">IN THE MEN'S ROOM AT THE VIRGIN CLUBHOUSE
Fashion Wire Daily Photo
Even though they allow for high-volume servicing and back-in-a-flash trips to the john, the point-and-shoot-a-stinky-deodorizer-cake oddity known as the men’s restroom urinal has been, for women, a constant enigma. But nothing will prepare you for the men’s room in the newly-designed Virgin Airways Clubhouse in New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, terminal 4: Urinals shaped like a woman’s mouth, dolled up with red lipstick, wide open and ready for business.
“In anything that we do there has to be a smile, and that’s the smile in this Clubhouse,” said John Riordan, Vice President of Customer Services for Virgin Airways.
The urinals, called Kisses, were designed by Netherlands based company Bathroom Mania.
“Kisses - the sexy urinal, makes a daily event a blushing experience! This is one target men will never miss!,” said the Bathroom Mania team via e-mail from the Netherlands.
“The Bathroom Mania designs create a fantasy-world in the bathroom by working on impressions and stories.” They also make the Good Morning Sunshine flower potty, a toilet in the shape of a flower pot with images of flowery freshness, and the Splish Splash bathtub shaped like a hammock.
But if you’re a hold it ‘til you get there kinda guy, the urinals, thankfully aren’t the only feature to rave about in the new clubhouse, where Spike Lee (news) dropped by last week and most probably got a smile from the lady in the men’s room.
“My favorite other fun items are the Ben & Jerry’s “grab-n-go minis” in the refrigerators,” said Elizabeth Ciresi, a spokesperson for Virgin. “There’s also a dedicated business area for iMACS, two day beds in the Snooze Room and showers packed with Virgin accessories.”
While some airlines have itty bitty lounges with big names like the Delta Crown Room Club, Virgin opted for a roomy 7,000 square feet in theirs.
“With the big names that fly in our Upper Class there are big expectations - both on the ground and in the air - so 7,000 square feet is on par with what our customers expect,” added Ms. Ciresi.
For an airline that has open mouths in the bathrooms, one would expect unconventional designs in the lounge areas. Instead of walls (who needs them?) there’s a free standing waterfall that pours out of the ceiling. It drains into a 100-foot pool that doubles as the wall of the lounge (why not?). The result: one exterior wall is the reflecting pool; the other is a triple height ceiling out on to the terminal. VIPs don’t have to mingle with the riff-raff (who would no doubt be milling by the urinals anyway), the Red Room is their special space. Like the cigar girls of the 1940’s, Virgin staff roam the clubhouse, weaving between pearlescent screens with the Hewlett Packard PC’s in hand to access anything for passengers at any time like reservations or ordering a meal within the clubhouse. And if Paris Hilton brings her laptop in her Louis Vuitton book bag, she can hang out in the WiFi zone to chat about The Simple Life with Nicole Richie.
The Virginesque aura screams out with local flavor as the mood lighting and color-shifting patterns alter in tandem with the light coming in from the outside. As night falls, a skyline grid of New York City as seen from the East River becomes illuminated to reveal the outline of the skyscrapers.
Who’s using the clubhouse the most these days?
“With the exchange rate so attractive to Europeans we are jam-packed with Londoners flying over here for bargains,” said John Riordan.