The finalists for each of the eight Crystal Cabin Award categories have been announced.
Airbus’s Lower Deck Pax Experience Modules (pictured right) offer a new use for the space underneath the passenger cabin, as a lounge area or quiet zone for Economy Class passengers on ultra-long haul routes. Emirates’ new Boeing 777 First Class Fully Enclosed Suites offer an array of high-tech components such as video calls from the passenger to the crew and virtual windows for suites located in the centre of the plane. This means that every seat has a guaranteed window view. Finally, Safran’s Essential Business Class removes heavy mechanical components, instead relying on innovative cushion structures to provide 25% less weight and almost 20% more space for the passenger.
Collins Aerospace’s Flex Duet self-service counter for snacks and drinks can be opened up like a closet door, folding in front of the aircraft door to give a purpose to otherwise unused space. The X-Tend Seat from Airbus increases efficiency in individual seating rows by partially folding down the seat cushion when the passenger stands up. This provides the passenger with more freedom of movement within the row, while the airline can compress the seating pitch in emergency exit rows. Diehl Aviation is offering greater seat pitch independence with its Flexible Passenger Service Unit system. The modules, containing air vents and reading lamps for example, are not fixed in place above the seats but repositioned for optimal passenger convenience.
Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment
The nanoe air filtration system by Panasonic extracts pungent smells from the cabin improving the air quality, but currently only for Business Class. Air New Zealand has made its popular Skycouch available in a family edition, with new belts and safety guards ensuring that even babies and infants can be safely put to bed here. Diehl Aviation is once again represented with its UV-LED Water Disinfection Unit – a retrofit antibacterial filter for the toilet area, which makes, for the first time, tap water reliably drinkable onboard.
In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity
The virtual windows from Collins Aerospace, already in use in the airline’s concept that has made the finals in another category, is up against Global Eagle’s Low-Earth Orbit Satellite, which provides extra-fast broadband internet for airborne clients, even in regions currently subject to poor connectivity, such as polar regions. United Airlines offers connectivity between the passenger and the in-flight entertainment system, with its “Entertainment for All” (left) providing passengers with diverse, semantically valid settings to personalise the multimedia experience onboard.
Material & Components
Collins Aerospace’s LED Reading Light replaces existing cabin reading lamps with LED technology where a single lamp can illuminate several seats. The Lumina concept from KYDEX is a thermal plastic that can conduct light and provides mood lighting via plastic panels in the cabin. Finally, the Flexible Door from Safran is a thinly coated element integrated in the side wall of the Business Class seating berth that can be drawn across between the seat and the aisle, like a blind, when needed.
Passenger Comfort Hardware
The Active Noise Control technology for Business Class seats from Panasonic filters the cabin and engine background noise by itself at the press of a button. Calming music or bird noises can be added if required, accompanied by the appropriate lighting. Seat manufacturer RECARO has enhanced its long-haul route seat with a number of comfort elements that make it a little more like an armchair at home. This includes a flexibly adjustable head and neck support as well as movable back and leg upholstery. The Moments concept by French design studio Style & Design significantly extends the seating space in Business Class, offering a range of sofa-like positions for sitting, lying and tuning, without costing the airline in terms of precious space.
Finalist Sahngseok Lee from Hongik University in Korea has designed the 1 For All concept (right) in collaboration with seating manufacturer Adient. It interweaves the various seat classes to achieve the maximum possible use of space. Clément Heinen of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has redesigned Business Class, in collaboration with Safran. The innovative “Stratus” seat can not only be ergonomically tilted, it can also be turned into a standing desk for completing office work. Joseph Lane from the University of Cincinnati has developed the SkyDining app, allowing passengers to order a meal from a restaurant at the departure airport in advance, using their smartphones. The meal is delivered to the airport at the gate and served hot during the flight — in an environmentally friendly cardboard box.
The Ultraflex Zone from AIM Altitude allows passengers of all classes to use the snack bar, relax in lounge chairs, work on a presentation at a laptop workstation or do something for their physical comfort in the yoga zone. The Peacock Suite from Paperclip Design in Hong Kong offers more space for airlines to vary their First Class products, with flexible partitions and seating arrangements allowing for individual products to be put together on a flight-by-flight basis as required, ranging from family compartments to three-room luxury suites. Boeing’s Smart Cabin transforms the aircraft interior into an “Internet of Things” for crew members, enabling all components to be digitally managed and controlled with voice commands, from lighting to seating and even lavatories.
To win one of the coveted snow-white 3D printed trophies, the 24 finalists now have to present their ideas in person to the 27 members of the international expert jury. Winners will be announced at a prestigious Gala Dinner taking place in the trading floor hall of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce on 2 April, as part of the Aircraft Interiors Expo (2–4 April in Hamburg).