PearsonLloyd has designed and consulted for the aviation sector since 2001, with a particular focus on aircraft seating. Working with brands such as Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Star Alliance, the studio has not only applied its ergonomic knowledge – honed from years of experience developing task chairs for other sectors – it has introduced a culture of furniture design to a sector previously dominated by product and industrial design.
The studio’s most recent work for the airline industry is a new generation of highly efficient, fully flat business class seats and cabin interior for Deutsche Lufthansa, which successfully
re-positioned the brand.
PearsonLloyd developed a completely modular seat and cabin system to work across Lufthansa’s entire fleet. Easy to move components mean the seats can be re-organised pre-flight depending on the number of customers flying per class.
To provide customers with a comfortable and private in-flight environment, without sacrificing on head-count, PearsonLloyd specified a ‘V’ configuration that angles passengers diagonally towards each other: while passenger feet are in close proximity, shoulders and head-space are further apart. Exploiting this,a shell and seat were developed that gives passengers a great sense of privacy. Just a tilt of the head, however, enables travellers to face towards each other.
PearsonLloyd worked with engineers to fine-tune every element of the modular system: from tray table and screen positions to the nuts and bolts of the chair. Unlike most airline seats, the shell surround is easily replaceable making the seat service friendly.
Virgin Atlantic commissioned PearsonLloyd to re-design its upper class suite in 2001. The studio re-thought the layout, aesthetic and ergonomics of the seating and surrounding environment, and brought a culture of furniture design to the industry: a new vision for upper class travel.
The Virgin Atlantic upper class chair pulls out into a truly flat bed. The chair was used to represent Virgin in its advertising campaign, and was subsequently licensed out to Air New Zealand, enabling Virgin to offset the development costs.
Virgin commissioned PearsonLloyd to build a new premium economy and economy seat, and create a coherent design language across the plane. At the time, PearsonLloyd was the only design firm to be commissioned twice by the same airline. The premium economy seats were re-engineered to create more legroom, increase the recline range, and create a sense of ownership and control by visually separating the screen and table amenities from the seat in front.
While the skeleton of the economy seat remained the same, PearsonLloyd’s refresh of the chair reduced the parts used by around 50% and reduced the overall weight of the chair by 30%.
PearsonLloyd carries out ongoing independent research into new solutions for airline in-flight furniture seating. This recently developed concept chair for short-haul economy class exploits the lack of need for an integrated screen to allow for an ultra thin, ultra light seat; increasing passenger legroom. The headrest bends away from the passenger behind, creating an illusion of space.
The studio’s modular premium economy seat is the most integrated example of function and technology designed by PearsonLloyd to date.
PearsonLloyd consults for a number of airline brands. Most recently it worked with Star Alliance to develop a design strategy for economy seating, across the alliance’s member airlines.