Hermès and Eurocopter: Elegance in Motion
In a landmark design partnership, Hermès and Eurocopter have set out “to demonstrate that the helicopter can transcend its traditional role.” The result is ‘l’Hélicoptère par Hermès’, based on the EC 135, Eurocopter’s best-selling light, twin-engined helicopter.
Combining a spacious cabin, ample storage compartment, unobstructed flat floors, plus room for four passengers and pilot, the EC135 was an ideal template for the Hermès designer and craftsmen. Equally important was the aircraft’s unusually low noise signature, allowing it to operate both day and night in urban environments. The striking exterior paint scheme is the first sign of Hermès’ distinctive design treatment, which is apparent throughout the aircraft. Cognoscenti might notice a complete re-design of the helicopter’s landing gear to ease access to the aircraft – just one of the many modifications proposed by Hermès.
Sliding doors open to reveal an interior configuration that is light-filled and unexpectedly spacious. The cabin has been redesigned to maximise the available space, with surfaces from floor to ceiling covered in ‘Toile H’, a signature Hermès canvas used in the firm’s manufacture of travelware since the 1920s. Meanwhile, seats and banquette are upholstered in calf leather, while fabrics and leathers have been used throughout to soften ambient noise and vibration. Consoles, drawers and cabinets have been recessed or placed entirely out of view and a sliding glass partition now separates passenger compartment and cockpit, enhancing privacy while allowing light to enter from the aircraft’s fore-section.
François Taverne, Chairman of Hermès Gainier, says that the collaboration has ensured “a major step forward in improving the experience of travel by helicopter”. First deliveries of ‘l’Hélicoptère par Hermès’ are scheduled for 2008.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
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