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Jun / Jul 2017
Hot Wings

WRITER: Nadia Michel

The sky’s the limit when it comes to Happy Design Studio’s custom-painted aircraft. 

French-based Happy Design Studio is taking art to a whole new level – literally. The company creates unique aircraft liveries for private and corporate owners who want the outside of their aircraft to be as personalised as their cars, homes or offices. The idea took off when the company’s founder Didier Wolff, a formally trained artist, got his pilot license in 1998. “I still visit the Louvre at least once a year to readjust my perception,” he points out.

The company’s distinctive projects represent a departure from the usually conservative spirit of the aeronautical industry, and are definite attention-grabbers on private runways thanks to Wolff’s heavy use of colour and unrestrained creativity. “White is not a paint option for a jet but the painter’s canvas on which a specific temper will be translated,” he explains, before adding that his work – albeit unintentionally – makes other jets look naked.


In this instance, Happy Design Studios were inspired by the tableware found inside an aircraft and painted the exterior to follow suit. Extracting the image into five lines of colour, a series of 150 vertical stripes were painted over the entire aircraft body, gradually merging from white to fully blocked out.


Wolff recently completed an F-16 for the 100th anniversary of the First Squadron Stingers of the Belgian Air Force Display Team and a Bombardier Global Express XRS, which was painted to match a carbon-grey Bentley. “The aim was to create a design to ease the transition between the two worlds. The design and the concept had to be very masculine and had to translate a spirit of finely-tuned luxury,” Wolff says.

Decidedly set on pushing boundaries even further, Wolff has reproduced a large-scale graffiti mural, which a client found in the UK and purchased for his Singapore office. “I can’t wait to adapt it and have it painted on his next aircraft,” he admits. That, and perhaps an aircraft owned by a woman. “Because an aircraft is not just a series of mathematical equations. It is a dream, the sum of audacity and boldness for those who have reached for the sky to accomplish a dream, with style and ego.”

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