In ancient past, it was under the baobab tree, around the fireplace, or by the warmest room in the cave.
In Athens it was the agora, the main square.
In the days of ancient Rome it was the Forum or the baths.
During the dark ages it was the markets, guilds and bazaars.
In medieval times it was the cathedral, the mosque or the church.
Then during recent centuries it has been the exchanges, the golf club, the clubs and most recently the business hotel lobbies and meeting rooms.
As far back as we know and throughout western civilization, we humans have always had principal meeting places we return to, where we meet, connect, worship, do business or just get impressions and share information.
Some key factors that has been common for these meeting places are that parts of them, the most attractive parts, have usually been exclusive. The inner sanctum and the core rituals have often been for the elite and places where the common people want to go but have not had access, unless promoted by merit, deed, corruption or inheritance.
For some time I have thought that the principal meeting places are now virtual, online websites like MySpace, LinkedIn, ASMALLWORLD and Facebook. I was slow to catch on to this, until my friend Andreas Stormwinge pointed it out to me some years ago.
To some extent it is true that the principal meeting places are now online, but reviewing my thought, I came think we are not entirely there yet in our development, when physical meetings can be replaced by only meeting online.
Then recently I realized that I was in fact wrong and that modern real-world, exclusive members only meeting places can still have the attraction of the cathedrals of older ages.
it was my colleague Christer Asplund who pointed this out to me, while we did an early morning transfer in Istanbul. Whilst there we both realized that the new cathedral in the global village can be the airport lounge.
In the airport lounge, we meet people from across the world. We arrive, we stay briefly and we return there in a ritualistic manner, and we improve friendships, do business and meet new people.
In the pictures below, behold the new 500 square meter lounge of Turkish Airways and Star Alliance.
Like with older meeting places, access to the lounge is restricted. You are only allowed to enter if you have a First Class or Business Class ticket or a hold a Star Alliance Honorary Circle Card or a Gold Card. Thus to gain access you must pay a higher price or gain status points by loyalty to the owner of the club.
So, in fact, as revealed so often, there is nothing new under the sun.
What you see above is not an imaginary seven star hotel, but the new Turkish Airlines International CIP Lounge in Istanbul.
Tonight I found a new cathedral. A 2,100 square meter Senator lounge opened a few days ago at the A terminal at Frankfurt airport. It is quite impressive with sofas and tables with four chairs dominating the interior landscape. Food is provided through a generous pasta bar and counter with a substantial choice of snacks.