Airplanes landing in your living room

Posted on 25 July 2019.

An aircraft nose upcycled into a lamp, a porthole coffee table, fuselage panel sideboard... Developed within the Airbus startup incubator, the project A Piece of Sky transforms end-of-life aircraft parts into some surprising creations.

The armchair you are comfortably curled up in has perhaps made several trips around the world before landing in your living room... Initiated by two young Airbus employees, Anaïs Mazaleyrat and Jérémy Brousseau, in the European aircraft manufacturer’s start-up incubator Bizlab, A Piece of Sky recovers end-of-life aircraft parts. This is how a window becomes a mirror, coffee table, chair or lamp.
Recycling end-of-life aircraft parts and materials is nothing new in the aviation industry. According to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, up to 85% of aircraft are recycled. Reusable parts of old aircraft (engine parts, landing gear, avionics, seats, etc.) are retrieved and refurbished to fit new aircraft. Materials – mostly aluminum - are processed for reuse in new products.
More innovative is the upcycling approach adopted by Airbus, which aims to recover aircraft parts by transforming them into objets d’art and design furniture – and at the same time make the passion for aviation more widely accessible. By upcycling these items, A Piece of Sky "makes the most of some beautiful and rare materials, pays tribute to the skills involved in their manufacture, and shows alternative and positive ways of treating waste," says Anaïs Mazaleyrat.

12 original creations

For its first collection, the start-up gathered together a dozen or so designers, craftspeople and engineers with different profiles but all sharing the same commitment to responsible design. And thanks to them, twelve very original creations have emerged.
For example an "Olympian" chair, designed from a part of the radome (the nose of the plane) of an A350; an imposing table, combining titanium, wood and glass, from an A380 reactor; a fun chair, using portholes from an A350; an intelligent dressing table whose mirror is nothing other than an A320 window frame... Some pieces are unique, others are produced as a limited edition.
"This above all artistic approach is also a smart way of upcycling the industrial heritage of Airbus taking a circular economy approach, which is essential today," reads the press kit. A Piece of Sky is expected to reuse between five and ten aircraft in 2019, or 2,000 parts, with the first creations being ready for delivery in January 2020.