Portland worked with Munich Airport International (MAl) on the commercial

vision and development of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport

(EWR). This follows an agreement reached in 2019 with The Port Authority

of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), for MAI to operate and maintain the


A key objective of the design brief was to create a strong and unique sense of

place for New Jersey that would differentiate it from neighbouring New York.

Lewis Allen, Senior Director at Portland comments: “after exploring and

researching the history and culture of New Jersey, we were surprised to

discover that New Jersey is a ‘State of Firsts’, for example it was the first state

to have a sea container port, the first organised baseball match was in New

Jersey and it was the first state to have a drive-in movie theatre and the list

goes on, so this became one of the key drivers of the design strategy and

vision which underpinned the commercial proposition that Newark Airport is a

Journey of Surprises”.

Lewis continues: “this vision ran through MAI’s commercial tender process

and set the tenor of the relationship between retailers and brands looking to

take space in the airport. Our design has enabled ‘A Journey of Surprises’ to

show up through key interventions and experiences throughout the customer


A kerbside to gate lounge passenger journey delights travellers with these

unexpected, yet authentic New Jersey moments. Passengers are welcomed to

the terminal with a series of bold art installations, in both analogue and digital

formats, which celebrate local talent and creativity.

At the heart of the terminal is a commercial plaza with a wide variety of local ‘hero’

vendors, and locally inspired international brands. Through menus, product provenance,

visual references and much more, the New Jersey story is embedded into the DNA of

each concept.

Unique New Jersey-inspired Children’s Play areas are situated along the three piers, each

taking on a recognisable local theme of ‘Sports’, ‘Music & Arts’ and ‘Technology’. These

creatively playful spaces celebrate famous [‘NJ Hall of Fame’-ers] such as Carl Lewis,

Bruce Springsteen and Thomas Edison.

At the end of the journey, passenger hold rooms are informed by the widely contrasting

themes of New Jersey terrains and vibes, from the laid-back ambience of the beach

boardwalks, to the rural remoteness of the Pine Barrens, to the buzz and energy of

Atlantic city. Bespoke furniture typologies such as the ‘People watcher’, ‘Community

bench’ and ‘Perching pebbles’, further immerse passengers into these vibes, with some

elements responsive to seasonal change.

Once completed, the new terminal will be a modern, state-of-the art facility and will

replace the existing Terminal A, which has outlived its useful time. The new terminal has

a design capacity for approximately 14 million passengers annually and 33 common-use

gates, providing generous space for a smooth journey through the building from kerbside

through check-in, security, gate hold rooms, and baggage claim.