As part of PearsonLloyd’s ongoing independent research into new solutions for airline in-flight furniture seating, the studio explored how economy seating should perform in long haul scenarios and developed a concept that exceeds contemporary economy class offer.
Our seat is designed with the main ambition to increase passenger space and visual sight lines and to optimise the ergonomic potential, comfort and value within the framework of the class. The project also sought to challenge material expectations.
The outcome is a modular design which gives a new ergonomic performance both from a physical and emotional perspective and uses materials efficiently, producing an enhanced passenger experience.
Key Design Features
One of the key design features is the separation of the head rest from the back by introducing a central spine and neck to support the head rest. This maximises passenger’s personal space and creates increased sight lines through the cabin by narrowing the seat from the rear.
From the rear, the central spine houses all functional parts for the passenger, visually separating them from the upholstered part of the seat in front. The outcomes are slim volumes and reduced mass at head height which facilitate egress into the aisle.
This clear demarcation of space also means that passenger’s knees can now sit on either side of the spine, following the ergonomic curve of the back and thus maximising space. The seat layout has been optimised to allow for a greater recline in the upright position (TTL) , as well as to enable the passenger to recline further, whilst relaxing, without impeding the aft passenger’s sense of space.
Other design features, include a bi fold tray table which extends laterally to take up minimum passenger space and maximise the seat’s real estate, and upper and lower stowage areas to reduce unnecessary passenger movement during the flight, placing items where needed. The seat design is characterised by slim forms and a sense of efficiency, which is subsequently softened by flowing perimeter lines and padded contoured features on the front face.
Current trends in aviation materials reflect wider themes dominated by the idea of convergence; where otherwise distinct areas of life meet and influence design practices. Today, craftmanship collides with technology, lifestyle with performance, experience with functionality and domesticity with mobility. All of these layers are framed within the lens of energy efficiency and product sustainability. As an outcome of this process, materials act as a bridge between separate fields to bring advanced and often surprising characteristics and experiences to different sectors.
Making the user the focal point of the design process and combining knowledge gained from a range of projects to cross-pollinate sectors, the boundaries between aviation and workplace, transportation or hospitality design are eliminated; this is reflected in recent developments in textiles and aviation materials.
Accordingly for the Economy Class Seat, a carbon fibre internal structure is covered on the rear with recycled plastic containing a high percentage of sun flower seed, while the covers are composed of a recycled wool mix which are held away from the foam with a ‘spacer-knit’, aiding air flow next to the passengers skin. All aluminium parts are constructed from recycled aircraft aluminium.
Visualisation: Neutral Digital