From today, passengers flying Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic Airways will be getting a bit more of the star treatment – if only because they won’t have to fiddle with awkward sachets of salt and pepper. Fitch’s product design team has created Wilbur and Orville, a cruet set designed especially for the airline.

Fitch designed interiors for Virgin’s Boeing 747 and A340 fleet of airplanes last year, and part of the project included sourcing tableware for the Upper Class service. `We found cutlery and plates without any problem, but finding a distinctive cruet set was impossible, many were too big or too heavy,’ says Fitch senior designer Symon Whitehorn.

Virgin agreed to commission the Fitch team to design a tailor-made cruet set. `We started by looking at all the flight connotations and going back to the glamourous age of flight in the Thirties,’ says Whitehorn. Initial drawings were developed into plasticine models, which were baked and coloured before being presented to Virgin. After client approval, Whitehorn worked with model-makers to instill `character’ into the set.

`We looked at ten different types of feet, and played with various wing lengths, tails and noses to achieve the final `character’ of the salt and pepper shakers,’ says Whitehorn. `Then we worked back to drawing stage for manufacture.’

Although Virgin has chosen to drop the Orville and Wilbur tags (named after those pioneers of air travel the Wright brothers), it has added its own mark to the design concept – a firm stamp on the undercarriage of each shaker stating `pinched from Virgin Atlantic’.

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