Business class seats have improved immensely over the years. Modern business class is all about direct aisle access, lie-flat capabilities, and more privacy than ever. But despite all the improvements, it’s still very much an airline seat, a million miles away from our squashy armchair at home. But could it be made more domesticated in the future?
Taking a bed-first approach
French design house Style & Design presented their concept for the premium cabin back in 2019. Taking cues from residential furnishings as well as the automotive industry, the firm developed a concept that could shake up the future of the premium cabin. The idea started by turning the development of aircraft seats on its head.
For most seat developers, the seat is the part that comes first. Designers form a comfortable, certifiable seat and then set about turning it into something that could serve as a bed. The end result is a product that is neither the most comfortable seat nor a particularly adequate bed. But what if the bed came first?
Laurent Stritter, Style & Design’s vice president for aerospace, spoke to Runway Girl Network in 2019 about the company’s design process. He said,
“The holy grail there was to come up with a real bed, with flat and joined surfaces, with the right layers and thickness of foam which we could then, with very simple and basic movements, transform into a super-comfy seat favorable to active sitting.”
Active sitting describes the ability to move around in situ, to find the most comfortable position, and to change position frequently during a long flight. Active sitting has plenty of health benefits, too, from reducing the risk of DVTs to improving posture and back health. It’s an often-overlooked niche of passenger experience, and one which Style & Design wanted to fix.
The end result was something really very different, and which promises to be more supportive, more comfortable and a healthier alternative for all. Style & Design calls this concept ‘Moments.’
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By beginning with a bed, Style & Design has produced a seat that gives the true feeling of being on a mattress. In bed mode, the seat is supportive from head to toe, even for side sleepers. The challenge then was to transform this awesome bed into a safe and comfortable seat as well.
Style & Design achieved this by removing the majority of the moving parts from the process. The only parts of the seat that move are a rising leg rest and an adjustable lumbar support. As the leg rest is full width, rather than a small ottoman in a cubby, passengers can adjust and wriggle to their hearts’ content to find the perfect position.
The crowning glory of the seat is the huge squashy pillow, which moves to accommodate the passenger’s height and preference. Transforming between bed and seat is accomplished by simply adjusting the cushions, removing the need for complex mechanics and the associated weight of these.
An additional touch that is an interesting feature is the inflight entertainment screen, or rather lack of it. Rather than having a physical screen, with all the weight and maintenance that requires, functionality is delivered by a small, lightweight projector behind the passenger’s head.
While eating or working, the projection is displayed on the back of the seat in front. Touch surface sensors allow for the usual control of the display, leaving space for a huge tray table – perfect for working and dining. In movie mode, the large tray table flips up to provide a surface for the projection, giving the passenger full widescreen viewing and more space to get comfortable in the cabin.
Would you like to fly in a Moments seat? Let us know in the comments.