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UNECSO names Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport as one of the ‘World’s most beautiful airports’



Distinguished for its innovative design and commitment to sustainability, Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru has garnered esteemed recognition at UNESCO‘s 2023 Prix Versailles. The Terminal 2 (T2) achieved distinction as one of the ‘World’s most beautiful airports’ and clinched the prestigious ‘World special prize for an interior 2023.’

The world judges panel for the Prix Versailles 2023, chaired by renowned fashion designer Elie Saab, revealed the latest architectural projects to win a world title, among which Bengaluru airport is the only Indian airport to receive this esteemed recognition, highlighting the airport’s commitment to exceptional design and architecture on a global scale.

Crafted by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) over more than four years, T2 Bengaluru spans an impressive 255,000 square meters (equivalent to 47 football fields) and embodies the concept of a “terminal in a garden.” Peter Lefkovits from SOM highlights that the terminal honors Bengaluru’s “garden city” legacy. He elaborates, “The vision was to entirely redefine the travel journey by seamlessly integrating passengers with nature at every phase of their experience.”

This achievement and commendations position Bengaluru airport among the top airports globally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi commended this achievement, via X, saying, “A commendable feat! Congratulations to the people of Bengaluru. Terminal 2 of the Kempegowda International Airport is not just a gateway to the vibrant city of Bengaluru but also a showcase of architectural brilliance. This accomplishment reflects the country’s growing prowess in combining world-class infrastructure with artistic beauty.”

Delighted by the recognition, Hari Marar, MD & CEO of Bengaluru International Airport Ltd, said, “The nomination of Terminal 2 for the 2023 Prix Versailles Award is a moment of immense pride, and we are pleased to see the terminal receiving the recognition it deserves. T2, with its unique blend of art and technology, serves as a distinctive gateway, leaving a lasting impression on global travellers and offering a glimpse of the rich offerings of our state and country.”

A Haven Amidst Greenery

The terminal stands as a tribute to Karnataka’s diverse and vibrant landscape, evident in its core ethos, materials, and meticulous details.

Local influences subtly but prominently shine through. Every piece of furniture, tailored to fit, is adorned in traditional rattan weaving, while the abundant use of locally sourced ivory brown granite embodies the region’s essence. Within the terminal’s retail area, captivating indoor waterfalls echo the captivating aesthetics of Karnataka’s splendid boulder landscapes and watercourses.

The finishes of Terminal 2 make use of locally sourced materials, rarely found in airports, including ivory brown granite, umber red bricks, and traditionally woven rattan. The ceiling, made of layers of cross-laid engineered bamboo, filters light much like a garden pavilion.

The benchmark for design excellence and aesthetic innovation


Kempegowda International Airport’s T2, designed to serve 25 million passengers annually in its initial phase, consistently captivates travelers with a meticulously curated aesthetic, amplifying the delight of their journey. Through its recent art program, the terminal integrates artistic and decorative elements to enhance its visual allure. Beyond its stunning aesthetics, the airport prioritizes environmental consciousness.

Featuring an art collection of 60 pieces by 43 artists across 13 locations, the airport offers an immersive experience centered around two captivating themes: Karnataka’s vibrant heritage and culture, and Bharata Natyashastra’s Naurasa (nine emotions), reflecting the diverse spectrum of human feelings. Passengers, on their day of travel, can pause and immerse themselves in this carefully curated installation.


Unlike conventional art exhibits, the airport provides a unique interactive experience with its installations. Notably, the bronze sculpture titled “The Journey of Navarasa” showcases nine birds encircling a winged deity with a haloed face. Passengers have the opportunity to place their heads within the sculpture’s halo space, allowing them to capture a picture-perfect moment before boarding their flights.


Another noteworthy installation is “Flights of Wonder,” created by multidisciplinary artist Ravikumar Kashi in collaboration with Bharat Arts and Crafts. This art piece features Karnataka’s 18th Century Channapattana ivory-wooden toys, maintaining their timeless popularity and adding a touch of wonder to the airport experience. This artwork featuring 600 birds in three different sizes and four parts in the arrivals area is a representation of migrating birds and passengers. What sets this piece apart is the meticulous use of four organic lacquer hues, each exhibiting unique color patterns without repetition.


Notably, Bangalore Airport T2 stands as the world’s largest terminal pre-certified with the US Green Building Council’s prestigious platinum LEED rating. Additionally, it proudly holds the platinum certification from IGBC Green New Building Rating System, underscoring its steadfast dedication to sustainability.

Soon, Kempegowda International Airport’s Terminal 2 is set to initiate trials for Computer Tomography X-ray (CTX) machines. This forward-looking initiative aims to enhance security check-in procedures and optimize the overall passenger journey.

With this advancement, travelers won’t be required to individually remove electronic devices like laptops, mobile phones, chargers, and earphones during pre-boarding security checks. This improvement is anticipated to positively transform a previously tedious step in the travel process, initially catering to domestic travelers.