Bahia's cultural identity inspires decoration of Salvador Airport

Bahia's cultural identity inspires decoration of Salvador Airport

The main gateway for tourists in the state, Salvador Bahia Airport invested in the concept of "sense of place" in its architectural project. The idea, carried out in partnership with the firm Thais Abreu Arquitetura, was to make the cultural identity of Bahia, present in art, music, landscapes and gastronomy, be noticed right at the moment of landing.

Delivered along with the first phase of modernization and expansion of the equipment, which became part of the VINCI Airports chain in 2018, the ambiance had its inspiration in dendê palm oil. This is the case of Praça dos Dendezeiros, a mandatory passage for the entire flow of flights from the airport and the first contact of those who arrive in the Bahian capital with the local culture. Located in a new 900 m² area, which connects the North Pier and the South Pier, it is a lounge surrounded by restaurants designed for passengers to relax while waiting for boarding.

With the main pillars, which give structure to the work, lined with wood, the environment is a strong allusion to the shape of the dendê palm (also known as dendezeiros), from which the famous oil is extracted. Allied to this, the poufs of the place refer to the shape of one of the most famous delicacies of Bahian cuisine: the acarajé; the banks are reminiscent of boats sailing in the Baía de Todos os Santos, the largest tropical bay in the world; the organic trait of the furniture also makes reference to the waves of the sea, the drums and the wheels of the baianas; as well as the Coco and Rede armchairs.

Another environment created with inspiration in the state is the skyline panel (horizon formed by the outline of the buildings of a city) located in the corridor that gives access to the new pier and which refers to the famous Baía de Todos os Santos tour. The panel highlights outlines of important monuments and tourist buildings in Salvador, such as Farol da Barra, Igreja do Bonfim, Elevador Lacerda and Palácio Rio Branco. In addition, it has frames with niches that represent the windows of the bay itself and that were designed to house itinerant exhibitions by local artists, which portray Bahia through photographs and prints.

Altogether, 15 frames house works of Bahian origin or that refer to themes related to the state. The exhibition "Salvador – Traços e Olhares", by the artist Elano Passos and the photographer Will Recarey, is currently on display. In the show, the work of the two artists is complemented in the exhibition and the same scene is portrayed from two different perspectives, always bringing to the viewer typical images of the Bahian capital, such as Farol da Barra and homage to Iemanjá in Rio Vermelho.


The entire interior design of the new commercial area also had the sense of place as a starting point and was the main challenge launched by the Salvador Airport Concessionaire to Bahian architects Thais Abreu, Luiza Buratto and Alberto Sena who prepared the project under the coordination of architects Paula Maia and Viviane Braga, from the Airport’s technical team.

The concept seeks to reframe the architecture of a space in order to connect it with the people who circulate there, reflecting a sense of belonging and enabling a multisensory experience that arouses emotions and even access the unconscious. "Bahia causes strong emotions that do not leave those who pass by indifferent. It is a land of culture, rhythm and warmth. It is very important to adopt a concept that integrates the Airport – a space known as "no place" due to its transience – to its surroundings, transforming it into a 'place' that adds up and merges with the context in which it is inserted", says Yann Le Bihan, technical director of Salvador Bahia Airport and mentor of the project.

Delivered to the public on October 31, Salvador Bahia Airport gained 22,000 m² of expansion, including the opening of 50 new operations until March this year, between restaurants and stores that follow the concept of local appreciation. The growth of the commercial area is 40%, totaling 9,000 m² and, in addition to the stores that were already present in the terminal, other businesses were selected precisely because they already have the state references in their establishments or because they are willing to create new establishments that serve this demand.

About Salvador Bahia Airport

Located in Salvador, capital of the State of Bahia and Brazil’s first historic capital, Salvador Bahia airport is part of the VINCI Airports' network since January 2nd, 2018, through a 30-year Concession Agreement. Among the ten busiest airports in the country, it connects the state of Bahia to about 30 destinations, both domestic and international.

Since the beginning of the concession, the airport has been incorporating global operating standards, seeking to deliver greater efficiency, safety and an enhanced travel experience to its passengers. Intense investments in an expansion and modernization program have led to the extension of the built area to 22,000m², the addition of six new boarding bridges, the opening of the commercial aviation runway and the installation of a fire detection and firefighting system. In addition, the airport has committed to support the state's economic development through traffic development and tourism stimulation initiatives.

Recognized as a green airport by the Airports Council International, Salvador Bahia airport stands out for its sustainability achievements among which the disposal of zero effluents, energy efficiency measures and the implementation of an effective solid waste recycling program, in line with VINCI Airports’ commitment to carbon footprint reduction. The airport also seeks to value and promote the social and cultural specificities of Bahia, one of its greatest assets.

About VINCI Airports

VINCI Airports, as the leading private airport operator in the world, manages the development and operation of 45 airports located in Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Japan, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Served by more than 250 airlines, VINCI Airports' network handled 255 million passengers in 2019.

Through its expertise as a comprehensive integrator, VINCI Airports develops, finances, builds and operates airports, leveraging its investment capability and know-how to optimise the management and performance of airports and carry out extensions and upgrades. In 2019, its annual revenue for managed activities amounted to €4.9 billion, for a consolidated revenue of €2.6 billion.