Derrick Choi on Modern Aviation Design & Trends to Follow | Episode 16

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Welcome back to the Agati Video Podcast, a space where Joe Agati, COO & Director of Design here at Agati Furniture, hosts conversations with designers, architects, and difference-makers to bring inspiration and education to your work.

“The work we do really does make a difference in the built environment. We get to connect worlds, literally.” – Derrick Choi

For today’s episode of the podcast, we had the opportunity to talk with Derrick Choi, Regional Aviation Leader at Gensler. Derrick is an award-winning architect and infrastructure planning professional with two decades of experience working on challenging international aviation, transportation, infrastructure, and public assembly projects in Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

In this episode, we discussed Derrick’s lifelong interest in both aviation and architecture, the future of aviation, the predictions for business and leisure travel after COVID-19, the importance of incorporating local culture in airport spaces, how a design project lasting 16-years has kept up with new technology, and so much more.

This was a great conversation. Check it out!




  • “It’s true what they say: If you’ve seen an airport, you’ve only seen one airport.”
  • “The work we do really does make a difference in the built environment. We get to connect worlds, literally.”
  • “Airports are kind of like a really large mixed-use building, just turned on its side.”
  • “There is no doubt that there is going to be a pivot in terms of reduced spending in business travel.”
  • “No matter your reason for traveling, the quality of your experience is more important than ever.”
  • “Premium experiences need to speak to the region.”
  • “The smartphone alone will transform most people’s travel experience today.”

Our Key Takeaways:

1) The decreased spending in business travel will likely continue. This is a significant trend in aviation that was sparked by COVID-19, and improves the necessity of creating spaces that support people who are traveling for leisure, creating positive touch-points and a “first class for all” space.

2) Local culture should be captured in airport spaces. It was fascinating to hear Derrick talk about what this has looked like in some of Gensler’s projects. From local art to local business to local food, this is a key piece of creating a memorable experience for travelers.

3) The quality of a traveler’s experience is more important than ever. Because of the shifts in reasons for travel and new expectations people have for the experience in a public space, it’s crucial to create an environment where people feel comfortable, safe, and confident navigating the airport.

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