In this overview of onboard trends in cabin design, group editor Colette Doyle does the Bossa Nova with Embraer; explores the fascinating partnership between the Royal College of Art and agency PriestmanGoode; discovers the Lseat, specifically developed to make economy airline passengers more comfortable; learns about TSI’s involvement in the Turquality programme and delves into Jamco’s Blue Sky initiative
Embraer bosses it with the all-new Bossa Nova interior
Embraer has delivered its first Phenom 300E with the new Bossa Nova interior to charity Patient Airlift Services (PALS). Coming just two months after the first delivery of the new, enhanced Phenom 300E, this particular aircraft delivery is said to be set apart by its “compelling purpose and exclusive interior design package”.
PALS was established in 2010 by a group of pilots in the Northeast United States. In conjunction with the organisation’s ten-year anniversary, co-founder Joe Howley took delivery of a new Phenom 300E at a ceremony held recently at Embraer’s Global Customer Centre in Melbourne, Florida. The aircraft will be used to advance the organisation’s mission to arrange free transportation for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment, or follow‑up who are unable, or cannot afford, to fly commercially.
Announced simultaneously with the new, enhanced Phenom 300E, the optional Bossa Nova edition interior for the light jet was named for the Brazilian style of jazz music. Portuguese for “new trend,” Bossa Nova encompasses a package of Embraer’s latest interior developments, with features such as carbon fibre accents and Embraer’s exclusive Ipanema sew style. It’s also the first of the Phenom 300 series to feature piano-black surfaces.
Embraer’s Design DNA abounds in the Phenom 300E, which is set apart from others in the light jet category by its “extensive opportunities for customisation”, according to the company. The Bossa Nova interior was first introduced with the debut of the Phenom 300E’s larger siblings, the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600, and won best design in the 2019 International Yacht & Aviation Awards in Venice.
Designed to be sustainable
Algae may not be the first material that comes to mind when thinking of luxury finishes on board an aircraft, but award-winning design agency PriestmanGoode recently partnered with the Royal College of Art to explore just such an option.
As part of a yearly industry brief in conjunction with the college’s MA Textiles course, the project challenged students to examine the possibility of using waste or by-products materials to create a new aesthetic that would be sustainable, desirable, tactile and functional for transport environments in 2030.
This year’s winner was Yanjie Zhang, who explored how algae could be used as the raw material for a series of products with different textures. Research has shown that alginate fibre is widely used in medical materials because it deodorises, has antibacterial properties and is super-absorbent. It can also help people feel warm as it has good far-infrared radiation efficiency.
Zhang combined sodium alginate with alginate fibre, transforming them from powder to solid gel and then into threads for weaving. For the colour she chose spirulina powder as a natural colourant and adjusted it by changing the ratio of the colourant to water. This not only retained the green colour of the seaweed, but also ensured the products have a low environmental impact. Developing materials of different textures allowed her to create a range of products for the travel journey including a blanket, pillowcase and cutlery (pictured above).
Commenting on the collaboration, Maria Kafel-Bentkowska, head of colour, material and finish at PriestmanGoode, said: “Working closely with educational institutions and nurturing the next generation of design leaders is something that’s always been an important part of who we are as a company. Essentially, this gives students the opportunity to consider their practice in a broader context and apply their skills to real-life challenges.
“While in the past we have set the students briefs to design specific transport environments, this year we wanted to focus on sustainability and materials and task the students to explore the creation of new materials with a luxury aesthetic, made from waste or by-products. It proved a really great approach for innovation: the students weren’t constrained by having to fit their work to a particular transport environment, but rather were guided by the material itself and were more flexible as to which element of a transport journey their work wouldbest be applied.”
Other images featured relate to projects designed by the likes of You Mi Choi, who used tactile beading for Air France to bring couture techniques to the masses while promoting traditional French craft. A stress ball, beaded seat covers and travel neck pillows were researched, leading to a possible new product to be developed that helps alleviate panic attacks and flight anxiety.
Meanwhile, Somin Kim’s Sanitising Pop features packaging and a sanitiser ball made from plant-based materials. The packaging, made of biodegradable plastics whose main ingredients are agar powder finished with corn starch, is distributed as a single set containing cutlery and a sanitiser ball. The ball has a thin external layer made of vegetable material and a jelly-like hand sanitiser liquid within. Before the in-flight meal, passengers can simply pop the thin outer membrane, which is also made from a biodegradable material, to clean their hands.
Another project from this year’s crop of RCA students was Outside In by Ella Smith; the concept was to recreate elements of a train interior for Swedish rail company SJ. Forests cover over half of Sweden’s land mass, so Smith experimented with utilising bark, as it is a by-product of the abundant and fast-growing Silver Birch tree. The flexibility of the bark makes it an incredibly versatile and pliable material, which lends itself well to the contours and different elements of the interior of the train.
Sweet dreams with the Lseat
Since more airline passengers than ever are likely to be travelling in economy class from now on, given the impact of the pandemic on the global economy, it’s hardly surprising that airlines are looking for innovative seating solutions that will cater to this
One such proposition is the Belgian-patented Lseat, an economy class passenger seat that converts from sitting to sleep mode without the use of electricity or need for crew assistance.
The Lseat switches from sitting to sleeping position by lowering the seat and using space underneath the seat in front to recline, for a small mark-up on the economy fare. As the pitch between seat rows stays the same, the company said the airline “does not suffer any loss in passenger cabin density, while enjoying increased revenue and services”.
Full new installation of the Lseat can be done overnight. For retrofit solutions, a kit is adaptable for many types of seats in order not to have to alter the integrity of the existing seat. For retrofit, the recline is not modified; the sleep surface comes with the change in shape of the lower seat level and extension below the passenger seat in front.
Lseat founder and CEO Yves Hendrickx says he believes the prototype represents the future, pointing to the fact that wide-body aircrafts such as the A380 and B777 need to find new ways to attract customers and to fill their planes. Meanwhile, single-aisle aircrafts with long-range capabilities, such as the A320neo, will start to adapt their short-haul cabins to long-haul standards.
Airlines benefit by being able to offer an improved economy class passenger experience: higher fees lead to extra revenue. An annual minimum of $35k per seat is expected, according to Hendrickx, who notes that it represents an opportunity to boost revenues fivefold for airlines, while passengers need only pay a small premium ($50) to enjoy a new and vastly more comfortable way of travelling in economy.
TSI promotes Turkey brands programme
TSI Seats has been accepted into the Turquality Support Programme, which aims to create global Turkish brands. The company is the first aircraft seats manufacturer to be officially recognised in the programme.
Turquality is an accreditation system designed not only to elevate participating companies to the level of international benchmarks, but also to create awareness of internationally accepted values of quality and novelty as conveyed by these brands. Its goal is to facilitate and support the success of Turkish brands in the international arena.
Creating a brand is extremely important in the global business landscape. Success in the long run is almost impossible for companies only focusing on export figures. In 2019, TSI Seats set its sights on becoming part of the Turquality programme; it examined the criteria and put in prep work for an entire year in order to gain acceptance.
The company was established in 2012 in order to design, manufacture,modify and merchandise aircraft seats and spare parts. TSI promises customised solutions in a timely manner. Pre-certified seats can be delivered in less than three months, while the company has recently completed projects that started at the design stage with Airbus and Boeing in less than 16 months; a timeframe, it notes, far below the industry average.
TSI Seats aims to be in the top five aircraft seat manufacturers in the global market by 2025, and is looking to increase its production capacity, currently 50,000 pax per year, to 100,000 annually.
The Turkish government pays half of the costs associated with the Turquality programme, including patent and trademark registration expenses, environment and quality certificates, employment costs in foreign countries, promotional materials, advertising and marketing activities and IT consulting.
Jamco opts for blue sky thinking
Jamco Corporation is proposing to clean up the aviation industry with its new Project Blue Sky initiative, a global,collaborative enterprise to develop and produce touchless, hygienic cabin interior products for the aerospace industry.
Project Blue Sky features the latest in hygienic and touchless air cabin technologies, including seats, cabin dividers and lavatories, as well as improved disinfection technologies for use throughout the cabin. The initiative is born out of Jamco’s commitment to help ease the transition to a “new normal” and a new era of cleanliness in the commercial aerospace industry.
The initiative includes the development of products such as the Clean Cabin
Divider, a transparent seat divider affixed above the seat which acts as a barrier to limit the potential transmission of germs. The new product was designed with consideration for passenger visibility and security, cost-effective header design and passenger comfort.
In the lavatory, products such as the Hands-Free Toilet Seat/Lid, Hands-Free Waste Flap and Touchless Faucet all help to minimise contact in high-touch areas, reducing the possible spread of germs and the need for disinfection.
Jamco is also working to revolutionise the process of aircraft disinfection by utilising UV. Since ultraviolet rays have been proven to destroy the DNA structure of viruses and bacteria, the company is actively pursuing the development of such technology. Jamco’s UV disinfection concept includes installing new, human-safe UV technology in lavatories, galleys and seating areas to enable disinfection and germ elimination during flight.