Play&Co Creative Group
Portland, OR, USA
+1 206 747 0336
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
+61 432 691 217

© Play&Co Creative Group LLC 2021

Aircraft Hero

Concept Rise

StrategyTransportation DesignEnvironmental Design3D Visualization

Concept Rise is Play&Co's first conceptual project that explores a better future, one in which we all want to live. This project explores the relationship between air and ground, vehicle and terminal, business and the community. Countless rounds of design, debate, and development went into conceptualizing an equitable experience for all passengers and users.

How General Use Airports Can Unlock Our Electric Future

Urban Air Mobility and Advanced Air Mobility have been the subject of much heated debate over the past year. But as the dust settles and manufacturers continue down the arduous, expensive and uncertain product development path; how will they define a viable product-market fit that creates value for businesses, communities and the planet?

Play&Co Creative Group believes existing general use and municipal airports hold the key to launching the eVTOL industry and unlocking our electric future. Here’s how:

Thousands of under-utilized airports with spatial 'reserves' for low-cost, high-speed vertiport development.
There are over 5,000 general use airports in the United States. Densely dispersed across the nation, these airports align with a ‘sweet spot’ for eVTOL capacity and range. Many are under-utilized and buffered by large reserves of flat, fallow land perfect for clean energy infrastructure. Furthermore their proximity to cities, suburban, and rural communities makes them ideal for centralization of that infrastructure. They are uniquely positioned to serve their community with electric air travel, medical transport, and middle & last-mile logistics. With established air traffic control systems in place, these airports are the ideal platform to build from.

Blokable Brand Identity Logo Architecture
Blokable Brand Identity Logo Architecture

We studied a cross-section of municipal and general use airports. The common thread among the vast majority of these airports was large reserves of underutilized land that can be used for vertiports and clean energy infrastructure.

Blokable Marina

A complete 'plug & play' system.

Play&Co has designed a vertiport concept to fit existing airport master plans. Connectable modules can be built in a controlled environment and delivered to site in weeks, not months.

Better for the Planet: Designed for conservation.
The zero energy ready vertiport employs advanced manufacturing techniques that improve energy ratings and minimize waste by up to 91% vs traditional construction. A solar farm powers the vertiport and a green roof facilitates thermal regulation, sound insulation, and carbon sequestration.

Better for People: Elevating the experience for all.
Since vertiports are unequivocally transitional spaces, Play&Co married the idea of ‘bringing the outside in’ with grounded universal design principles. The result is an equitable experience from car to plane. From curbside to tarmac, expansive walkways and entryways naturally guide people. A central amenities module divides ingress and egress traffic flows; and can be outfitted as a pilot’s retreat, espresso bar, service desk, or office. Flanked by floor to ceiling windows, the light and airy waiting lounge invites passengers to take in the view, shoot out an email or reflect over coffee.

Better for Business: Designed for versatility at scale
Serving as a ‘blank canvas’, terminals are designed for ultimate versatility. Companies can curate their own unique ‘branded experiences’ by customizing everything from floorplan to furnishings, colors to cladding. Business is booming? That’s covered too. With foresight, extra terminals can be installed as demand increases.

Concept Rise Terminal

Our vertiport terminal concept is designed for net zero energy consumption through the integration of solar farms, advanced materials, and features such as green roofs.

Modular Construction gif

Top: 'Modules' can be configured in a variety of ways to form custom vertiports that address specific business floor-plan and functionality requirements.

Bottom: With planning and foresight, additional vertiport terminals can be delivered to site as demand and traffic grows.

Vertiport Floorplan
Vertiport Floorplan

Passenger traffic flows and universal design principles were key drivers in the design of the vertiport interior environment.

Vignettes of the passenger journey, from curbside to tarmac.

Some work in progress shots of the design process.

Final Approach

eVTOL. Right Technology. Right Time.

Recently, an undeniable pattern has emerged: Amazon's Climate Pledge invested in Beta Technologies, UPS inked a deal for 150 of Beta's Alia aircraft, American Airlines invested in Vertical Aerospace with a pre-order commitment of $1 billion, United Airlines announced a partnership with Archer Aviation, and Fedex is launching a program to test Elroy Air's Chaparral autonomous eVTOL cargo system. The list goes on.

As alliances like these continue to form, Play&Co believes vehicle flexibility will address 4 key use cases: Freight & middle-mile logistics, passenger transport, medical transport & evacuation, and private use. The Play&Co Rise Concept vechicle is a highly versatile eVTOL concept designed to serve each of these key use cases.

Elegant Utility
Pulling from their experience in the aviation and automotive industries, the Play&Co team balanced reality with aspiration - a concept that honors grounded aeronautical design principles, pragmatic vehicle packaging, and utilitarian features that can adapt to different use cases and business models.

Elegantly proportioned, the Rise Concept vehicle sports 6 tilting rotors and 2 vertical lift rotors in the structural boom connecting the front and rear wings. Advanced electric motors and 'quiet' blade design minimize sound pollution, a common complaint from the communities surrounding general use and municipal airports.

Vehicle Tip Up
Vehicle Plan View

Bringing the outside in. One of the drivers of the vehicle design was to create a sense of spaciousness within the cabin. This was achieved by creating an expansive canopy, or moonroof, that hints at the future of advanced manufacturing. The UV protective glass skin blankets an advanced carbon-fiber structure that is incredibly strong and lightweight.

Tarmac Boarding

Beyond the streamlined exterior, this vehicle also delivers on functional versatility. Most notably, a wide-format access door at the rear of the vehicle that enables:

    • Safe, fast, and easy passenger entry and egress.
    • Efficient (human and robotic) loading and unloading of cargo for freight applications.
    • Careful and efficient loading and unloading of patients in medical evacuation and transport.
    • Efficient cabin maintenance and reconfigurability.
Blokable Marina

And while experts are convinced that autonomous piloting is an inevitable future, the Rise Concept vehicle features a fully functional single pilot cockpit. Play&Co believes that freight and middle-mile logistics will be the first to prove and adopt fully autonomous aircraft for their business model; longer lead times are likely for consumer acceptance within passenger air travel.

Sustainably Energizing the Community.

Recent rises in urban living costs, the pandemic, and the rise of remote work are fueling a trend towards de-urbanization. This trend, coupled with an immediate need for climate change action presents a broad set of opportunities for the sustainable revitalization of regional communities. Strategically planned, designed and developed Advanced Air Mobility infrastructure can immediately help communities capitalize on this shift.

For one, vertiport terminals sited at general use airports can double as centralized electricity hubs that harvest, store and operate on clean energy. Beyond their own self-sufficiency, they can serve as a ‘home’ or ‘dock’ for electric municipal vehicles such as school buses when not in use. Surplus reserves can be equitably fed to the surrounding community.

Thinking more broadly, one can foresee the compounding benefits that a network of ‘mobility hubs’ will bring through new tourism and business models, let alone freight services. And let’s not underestimate the allure of living further from the workplace in more affordable, picturesque and family-centric settings; comfortable in the knowledge that an affordable, energy efficient and fast commute is at our disposal.