Burberry reveals hot air balloon installation with Sebastian Cox at Heathrow

Burberry celebrates the magic of flight by installing a life-size hot air balloon and bespoke furniture designed and made by the Sebastian Cox studio and workshop in a new pop-up store at Heathrow.

Standing over 15 metres tall, the Burberry Balloon is inspired by the real-life achievements of Air Commodore Edward Maitland, who, with fellow balloonists Auguste Gaudron and Charles Turner, travelled 1,117 miles from the Crystal Palace in London to Russia in 1908, and established the British long-distance, in- flight record. Maitland wore Burberry gabardine suiting for his historic flight in the ‘Mammoth’ balloon, protecting him from the severe hardships of cold at high altitude. 

Located in the departure lounge of Heathrow terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, the installation depicts a scene akin to Edward Maitland’s balloon taking off amid a preparatory picnic, with bespoke pieces of furniture made using English oak frames, woven with English ash in an entirely bespoke diagonal weave.

We looked to the past, imagining the items Maitland might have taken on his journey and the traveling chests and ‘campaign' furniture which accompanied explorers as they travelled the globe. We designed and made the balloon basket, picnic table and trestles, curved screens, hampers, crates, trolleys and chests with pegged mortise and tenons, luggage-inspired leather handles, brass shackles and hand turned toggles to bring this adventurous scene to life.

It has been a joy to work with a brand with such heritage and discover dramatic and exciting stories of adventures from over 100 years ago which we can retell in a series of designed objects. We used a frame and weave construction to give everything a very lightweight feel, we wanted each piece to look as though it could take off into the air at any moment.

The Burberry Balloon will be at Heathrow from 8 May to 7 August before travelling the next leg of its world tour to a secret destination. See more pictures in the studio section of the website, here.

Brogan Cox