GMR Airports reflecting cultural heritage with local flavour in design

21 August 2020

Ever wondered what's common among various airports led by GMR in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mactan- Cebu? While, these are situated in different parts of the world, a walk-through around these airports will showcase a harmonious blend of culture, heritage and modernity suiting the contemporary needs enmeshed in their architecture.

It was the early 2000s when GMR Group had entered into the airport development space. Since then, the Group has come a long way, placing itself in a respectable position as GMR Airports amongst the top airport developers and operators globally. The glaring examples of its successful Public Private Partnership (PPP) model can be seen at India's Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.


In an attempt to enhance the travellers' overall experience, the airports under GMR Group are creating a sense of place, i.e., a unique combination of environmental characteristics designed to connect passengers to the airport as well as its distinctive geographic location and culture. In other words, today's travellers seek for an intimate feel, a local flavour and a desirable experience that will promote the emotional connection.

Creating a sense of place

The sense of place is created by enhancing the traveller's experience and integrating this experience with the interior design, architecture and service elements of the airport. Standing above all of these factors, GMR has recreated the airports as the gateways to countries, regions and cities. With unique arrival and departure experiences, the travellers are able to connect with the local region and its community.

Delhi's IGIA, being an airport for tourists (both Indian and foreign), carries in its art and architecture the history and remnants of seven Indian cities. As the city boasts of vibrant, colourful and diverse nation, the design and art at this airport is meant to depict the essence of Indian culture and ethos. The work of art and sculptures installed in the terminal buildings make the travellers' visit to the airport an aesthetically pleasing one.

The USP of Hyderabad Airport's design is focused on the theme of an emerging Hyderabad and a huge green landscape that can been seen from seven kilometres away. Besides, the works of contemporary artists of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana incorporated in the airport's design makes it synonymous with art and culture.


Not limiting to national market, GMR's prospect is spread overseas with Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Philippines. Under the PPP framework, GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) undertook this capital extensive project and delivered a world-class terminal with a welcoming ambience that is distinctly Filipino. The two terminals (Terminal 1 and Terminal 2) reflect the rich Cebuano heritage and culture in a modern design.

The architectural design of GMR Airports has the ability to unite its appearance and layout with the geography and landmarks of the airport locations. The resemblance of local culture in the airport has been accomplished through the use of design elements such as region-specific materials, historical mementos and vibrant colour.

A visual treat to enhance community identity

Art is the manifestation of cultural richness of a region. When Rajiv Gandhi International Airport(RGIA) came into being in 2008, it presented itself as a definite epitome and source of inspiration and vision for everyone. As a reflection of India soaring, RGIA was an opportunity to interpret airport design in Indian context, to bring 21st century imagination and engineering to this historical Indian city of Hyderabad with the design of the terminal having extrapolation of local landscape and its cultural grandeur.

In an attempt to promote the rich and vibrant cultural heritage of Southern India, an art gallery under the programme Art@ RGIA has been conceptualised at Hyderabad Airport. It imbibes the essence of the modern Airport, which is located very strategically not only geographically but also culturally - encompassing the glorious history of the great Deccan Plateau and acting as a contemporary melting pot where many regions and their culture meet. Some of the renowned names whose paintings find place here include that of veteran artist Padma Shri K Laxma Goud and National Award winner Thota Vaikuntam. Some of the other key artists whose paintings adorn the art gallery inlcude: Sachin Jaltare, Ramesh Gojrala, Sanjay Ashtaputre, Kavita Deuskar, Deepa Nath, Fawad Tamkanat, et al.


More flavours to be added

Under the umbrella of GMR Airports, a number of expansion works are planned for Greenfield and Brownfield projects. These include India's Goa and Bhogapuram airports, as well as Clark International Airport in Greece that will see creation of art and culture displayed at these airports reflecting the various facets of the region. As an airport holds significant importance for its ability to grant unique identity to the region where it is located, GMR is going to construct a number of airports in the coming days that will emanate the flavour of India and abroad.

While the airports are gateway to a country, or a city, for some travellers, the airport is often all they get to see of the region. Considering the importance of airport modernisation, GMR Airports' decision to participate in the renovation of metro airports has delivered significant cultural aspects transforming the passenger experience.

GMR Airports has stood faithful to culture of the regions it is situated in. All of them are modern, yet traditional, in the sense that they adhere to the flavour of their culture with compact efficiency that modern day airports aim for. Besides promoting business and travel, GMR Airports raise visibility and re-brand a destination. The entity has proved that airports are no more a transit junction; they are catalysts for change.

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