International airports aren’t known for their atmosphere, but in Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, you can experience the climates of far-away places just by walking into a room.
The Climate Portal consists of three weather-simulating chambers, all of which are linked live to a rotating list of locations around the world. The temperature, humidity, and wind all mirror that of the remote location, and the effect is further enhanced with fans, video, and soundscapes.
The three rooms are pre-acclimated to hot,cold, and big, so you can “feel the heat of the world’s deserts, the pulse of its big cities, or the wintery chill and biting winds.” Thus you could experience the feeling of stepping outside New York’s JFK for a cigarette amongst swirling snow, while still wearing flip-flops, or enjoy the insta-sweat humidity of Bangkok, complete with soaked armpits.
The schtick is that you can preview a destination before you get there, which is a little thin as a justification. “You know if you need to get that warm sweater, or an extra pair of sunglasses before boarding,” says Yvonne Boe, the airport’s communication manager. Not that we need an excuse to visit such a cool (or warm, or damp) installation. After all, as Boe points out, there’s not much to do in an airport other than shop or drink overpriced coffee.
The list of virtual destinations is limited to those that can be traveled to from Arlanda Airport, and it really brings home the variety of places available. Cheap flights might be environmentally disastrous, but that doesn’t make them any less miraculous.
Maybe the neatest part of this is that non-smokers finally have their own climate-altered experience in the modern airport, catching up to the cigarette sufferers who’ve been “enjoying” an isolated glass cube filled with smoke for years.
You’ll find the Climate Portal in Terminal 5, next to Gate Q26 at Arlanda Airport, until the end of August.