Aircraft cabin design shortlisted for Crystal Cabin Awards 2022

(CNN) — From the concept of an aircraft with an “underwater” turn to an AI-powered product scanner that regulates the eating habits of passengers, the Crystal Cabin Awards 2022 shortlist highlights compelling ideas that could be the future of aviation.

The shortlisted concepts are divided into eight categories, from innovative cabin design that redefines the passenger experience to environmentally friendly concepts that can help the aviation industry operate more sustainably.

Angus Baigent, marketing and public relations manager for Hamburg Aviation, the agency that organizes the Crystal Cabin Awards and represents the aviation industry in the German city, said: CNN Travel that the Crystal Cabin jury is looking for concepts that are not only visually striking, but also offer something fundamentally new for both airlines and passengers.

Cabins of futuristic aircraft

AirSleeper is a double-decker cabin concept.

Contributed by MMILLENNIUM

Next-generation cabin design shortlisted for this year includes the AirSleeper double-deck concept from engineering firm MMILLENNUMM.

MMILLENNIUMM CEO Indy Rajasingham suggests that this is also the goal of AirSleeper – the seat offers travelers at both levels the potential for recumbent beds as well as a place to work or relax.

AirSleeper has been operating since 2010.

“We’re excited that the future we envisioned and created ten years ago is starting to pick up pace as these concepts gain public acceptance,” Rajasingham told CNN Travel.

Another innovative cabin design shortlisted for this year is Explorer Concept by Lufthansa Technik, an offshoot of Germany’s national airline. The Explorer is a private jet with an internal projection system that allows you to cover the cockpit ceiling and some of its walls with incredible projections, including underwater scenes.
AirSleeper and Explorer are still under development, but other Crystal Cabin nominees such as Collins Aerospace Business Airlounge Non-Reclining Seat, are further away. Airlounge, the brainchild of design agency PriestmanGoode, is produced in partnership with Finnish airline Finnair and design agency Tangerine and aims to create a cocoon-like private space for travelers.
Airlounge is a business class seat that does not recline.

Airlounge is a business class seat that does not recline.

Provided by Collins Aerospace, Finnair, PriestmanGoode, Tangerine

Another nominee, The Booth by Virgin Atlantic, designed by the British airline in collaboration with Factorydesign and produced by interior design company AIM Altitude, premiered late last year. Currently implemented on one of Virgin Atlantic’s A350 aircraft in high-end cabins, The Booth is a lounge-style sofa for two surrounded by touch screens and complemented by a table.

The shortlist includes not only recognized names in aviation – one of the categories of the Crystal Cabin Award is specifically targeted at applications from universities. Nominees in this category for 2022 include Reutlingen University student Chiayi Yu’s design for a swivel airplane seat called Shift Cabin Interior and Ken Kirtland’s design for short haul electric service called Portal.

Baigent from Hamburg Aviation noted that it was interesting to watch students approach the cockpit.

“People who work in an academic context […] their approach to some of these issues or some of these design issues will be very different,” Baigent said.

Legacy of the pandemic

Booth is a new cabin concept pioneered by Virgin Atlantic.

Booth is a new cabin concept pioneered by Virgin Atlantic.

Provided by Virgin Atlantic, Factorydesign, AIM Altitude

The enduring legacy of the pandemic is also reflected in some of the nominees, including Style and Design’s Switch seat, which is a premium economy cabin with fewer passengers dispersed across armchair-like seats.

Nominees in the Clean Cabin category — a new 2021 entry that has been delayed this year as well — include Pexco Aerospace’s AirShield device, created in collaboration with design company Teague, which is designed to improve airflow in aircraft by creating an invisible “screen” . around the passengers.

Teague is also nominated for the Elevate cab design, which visualizes a premium cab with floating seats. Instead of being fixed to the floor, the Elevate cabin furniture will be connected to the side wall and walkway. Teague, who was nominated for this design in collaboration with aerospace manufacturer NORDAM, suggested in a statement that his Elevate concept could increase space for aircraft passengers.

Teague's Elevate Salon Concept Imagines "floating" places.

The concept of the Teague Elevate cabin involves “floating” seats.

Courtesy of Teague, NORDAM

Other nominees are focused on making aircraft cockpits more sustainable: Aircraft seat cushion manufacturer Metzo, in collaboration with manufacturing company The Vita Group, was nominated for a proposed recycling system for old aircraft cushions.

Biometric and artificial intelligence technologies are also being used in some of the shortlisted projects. The AI-powered Airspace Food Scanner from Airbus Operations is designed to collect on-board passenger food consumption data, allowing airlines to serve them accordingly.

Meanwhile, tech company Gentex Corporation is proposing a camera-based biometric iris scanning system that could be embedded in the back of an aircraft seat, and MYZONE by ACM Aircraft Cabin Modification is introducing noise-cancelling technology into aircraft seat headrests.

Looking to the future

Baigent said the shortlist showed the “near-future scope” of aircraft cabin design and the “far future.”

He added that the range of concepts on offer is indicative of the ever-changing aviation landscape.

“When you look back 20 or 30 years to 2022, it will be a very different experience than it is now, but I think you can really see where some of these projects are going,” Baigent said.

The Crystal Cabin finalists are expected to be announced at the end of May and the winners, selected by a jury of 28 aviation experts, will be awarded at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany in June.

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