Embraer
Embraer

Cabin Interiors 2020

The trend continues toward expansive cabin interiors that offer flexible zoning as well as comforts and functionality that mirror the home and office.

Bombardier’s Global 7500, for example, won a Red Dot Design Award for a cabin scheme that incorporates a largest-in-class galley with exposed appliances for a home-kitchen feel and the industry’s first dedicated stateroom with a fixed bed.

Bombardier
Bombardier

An Airbus Corporate Jets 350XWB project—completed by Italy-based Peninfarina in partnership with AMAC Aerospace and delivered last year—features a central open space sculpted by a flowing band that leads to a clutch of sofas, a place for dining or meetings, and a chaise-lounge-furnished area. “The space was conceived to foster interaction among people using it,” says Marco Becucci, a senior architect at Pininfarina.

AMAC
AMAC
Pininfarina
Pininfarina

Design concepts increasingly emphasize customizable open areas. Lufthansa Technik’s as-yet-unrealized SkyRetreat, unveiled last September, encompasses three zones: a variable-sized utility area at the rear; an observation deck that extends the cabin into the aircraft´s cockpit; and an open space that allows for communal lounging or the creation of private spaces.

Lufthansa
Lufthansa

Paris-based Pierrejean Vision’s “Stop, let’s breathe” open interiors manifesto treats the cabin as a “never-ending lounge,” anchored throughout its length by a double-helix-inspired, adjustable modular sofa equipped with small sliding tables, lamps, stowage, and shiatsu massage functionality. Inflatable flooring sections will double as pop-up seating. Within the open space, clients can choose the location of their galley, fixed stateroom, and spa shower (within areas certifiable for passenger accommodations); once installed, other “islands”—a conference room, dining corner, kids’ rooms, meditation space—are freely located and can be customized to the purpose of each trip.

“The concept is like a white sheet of paper: draw, write, create your own environment, and make each flight a new story, your own story,” says the studio’s chairman, Jacques Pierrejean.

Designers are helping to make passengers’ adjustment to a new destination, climate, and time zone easier by lowering cabin pressures; offering more control over zonal heating, air conditioning, and humidity; and delivering larger windows with smart shades for customizable natural light. Bombardier has made windows in its Global 7500 fully 80 percent bigger than windows in comparably sized aircraft. Greenpoint Technologies’ head of design, Annika Wicklund, is experimenting with various window groupings and shades of window tint, aiming to move beyond the traditional supplier-provided double VIP window with single ledge, which frames two windows together per passenger setting.

Bombardier
Bombardier
Greenpoint Technologies
Greenpoint Technologies

Gyms and spaces for yoga and meditation will soon be offered as standard on some bizliners. Last year at the European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (EBACE), U.K.-based Winch Design showed its Yoga Concept for the ACJneo or BBJ MAX, which features bamboo silk carpets, cork flooring, and vegan leathers. Pierrejean, meanwhile, is working with doctors to develop an on-board gym.

There’s been a big uptick in the use of natural materials and tones, and of nature- and ecological-informed concepts, generally. Thinly planed stone veneers—which can be heated from beneath when used as flooring—give the impression of luxurious granite or marble without the weight. Soft goods are trending in neutral colors, especially creams and grays, although Jacques Pierrejean says that he anticipates a shift toward more green and blue tones.

Lufthansa Technik’s SkyRetreat concept features a minimalistic approach based on natural materials for a yacht-inspired “barefoot retreat” feel, while its Red Dot Award–winning Nature’s Touch concept for narrow-body aircraft, presented at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in 2019, combines Confucianist and modern philosophy with Chinese aesthetic motifs.

“Textiles and subtle stripes simulating bamboo wood grain are complemented by natural materials such as marble, leather, wool, and silk,” explains Lufthansa Technik’s Wieland Timm. “The exuberant diversification of colors and textures expresses the vitality of nature.” 

Embraer’s Praeterra concept for the Praetor 600, shortlisted for an International Yacht & Aviation Award, focuses on materials sourced from sustainable new growth, upcycling, and components intended to have a second life. Seat coverings are crafted from bamboo and cotton composite, with wool and recycled materials from old employee uniforms. The team recycled ocean plastics to create a lens from which a “tree of life” inlay is illuminated on the aft bulkhead.

Interior lines and finishes are also trending toward the organic. Arched doorways and curved side ledges and armrests contribute to a soothing visual and spatial experience, as does hidden stowage, which keeps personal devices, other technology, and associated clutter out of sight. 

Comlux’s latest ACJ320neo delivery features slow-close and nesting lids and zero-vibration drawer slides. Gulfstream’s G700, meanwhile, incorporates an autonomous table that deploys in 20 seconds, converting club and table seating to a six-place conference and dining space.

“Drawers that slide more easily, cabin doors that open and close in a more streamlined manner, device stowage systems that fold silently into side ledges, and tables that silently raise and lower are all in demand,” says Shannon Gill, managing director of MSB Aerospace, which supplies customized, precision-engineered hi-lo tables for large aircraft.

MSB
MSB

Carbon-fiber veneers have filtered into business jet design from the automotive field, and composite veneers remain popular because of their weight-saving capability and uniformity in application and repair. Brian Barnett, at Collins Aerospace, says the composite veneers account for 40 percent of his business. 

There’s a trend back to all-natural materials for surfaces, too. This year, Barnett is offering clients a bundle from a 10,000-pound sumptuous bronze-tone walnut burl from California’s Sutter Mill, certified as the largest burl of its kind in the world. Other popular textures include matte and satin lacquers, matte-effect finishes on wood veneers, brushed metal fixtures, and metal effects. 

Collins Aerospace, meanwhile, offers a metallic paint that can be layered over weight-saving, high-density foam or wood to look like an inlaid metal strip or to show grain. And Embraer’s Praeterra concept includes surfaces made of composite recycled aluminum, copper, and nickel detailed via the Japanese mokume gane process (which translates to “wood grain metal”) to eliminate metal plating.

Business jet seats have seen big changes, with designers taking inspiration from residential, automotive, and hospitality seating to create designs that are more fluid, both in aesthetics and functionality.

Bombardier’s patented Nuage seat and chaise are set on fully floating bases for precision tracking and swiveling without visible floor rails. Flat, the chaise can accommodate three people; and it follows the contours of the body for lounging and sleeping.

Italian aircraft interior specialist Iacobucci HF Aerospace is integrating a chair by Pierrejean Vision—which features independently adjustable lumbar and shoulder-support architecture—into its portfolio.

D├ęcor and soft furnishings also reference the at-home experience.

“More monuments with the illusion of freestanding furniture, carpets that are intricately cut to give the appearance of layered rugs, or paintings and decoration [are] directly incorporated into the fixed elements of the cabin,” says Grischa Schmidt, senior director of Jet Aviation’s interior design studio. 

While deployment of composite surface covering historically focused on its lightweight, soundproofing qualities, there’s been a trend toward decorative use. Savannah, Georgia–based MSB Aerospace’s sound-dampening, high-density foam panel can be covered in materials of the owners’ choice with bespoke patterns and text. Deconel, a foam-backed covering handmade in Texas, can be painted, embossed/debossed, 3D sculpted, beaded, embroidered, and inlaid. It also allows the integration of other materials, such as linen or hair-on cowhides, that would otherwise fail burn testing. 

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Galley design has always been tailored to clients’ cultural, religious, and service preferences—for instance, whether they engage a large staff versus one or two crewmembers and whether they wish to make their own food and drinks. The latest business jet dining fit-outs go further to extend clients’ on-ground lifestyles and are adaptable for conviviality when cooking, as well as for formal and informal dining.

Gulfstream’s G700 “ultragalley” has more than 10 feet of counter space, the most in the industry, to accommodate personal chefs, catering, and principals who enjoy cooking for friends and family and want to plug in their own certified equipment.

Completion centers say demand for inserts to safely stow and display bespoke ceramics, china, glassware, and flatware has risen exponentially, as has interest in cocktail lounges. Winch Design has delivered full-service bars, complete with fridges, custom glass and backlit-bottle displays, stools, onyx bar tops, integrated backlit ice buckets, and TV screens, as well as inconspicuous credenzas that rise at the touch of a button to reveal favorite malt whiskies and custom glassware.

Winch Design
Winch Design

Business jet bathrooms are also starting to look like those in homes and hotels.

Gulfstream’s G700 master-bath option includes a stand-up shower with shower wand and a large bench. The master lavatory in Greenpoint Technologies’ BBJ 777X Lotus concept features adjustable oversized shower heads, heated floors, towel warmers, black marble vanities with curved vessel sinks and monitors embedded in the mirrors, and an accent wall with organic greenery.

While a bathtub remains out of the question, Jacques Pierrejean is experimenting with the use of pressured water jets within a waterproofed cubicle to create a spa-style massage experience. He’s also hoping to install up to three showers on a prospective Airbus A350 commission.

“Bathrooms are moving from being purely functional spaces to being part of the overall lifestyle and wellness concept of the interior,” says designer Greig Jolly of Winch Design.

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