Factory Design creates compact flat bed for airlines

The airline industry is set to benefit from a new lightweight, compact flat bed, created by Factory Design.

The model is being unveiled this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia in Hong Kong. A number of airlines have reportedly expressed ‘interest’ in the model, but Factory will not confirm if any contracts have been signed.

The flat bed seat has been designed in conjunction with engineer James Thompson at manufacturer, Thompson Solutions. Factory started work on the designs in May.

It represents a ‘big leap forward in aviation’ because the seat is constructed from carbon fibre and uses a minimal chassis that is not heavily dependent on motor drives, making the seat very light, says Adrian Berry, partner at Factory.

The seat has a compact, flexible structure/ in some places the edges are just 1mm thick. More seats can reportedly be installed on aeroplanes than was previously possible with traditional models. The design allows for more leg room and the seats can be aligned to minimise the number of times passengers step over each other’s legs.

‘We can change the seating configuration, this really is pushing the boundaries of airport seat design,’ adds Berry.

The technological development comes as increasing numbers of airlines – such as Malaysia Airlines and British Airways – roll out flat beds across their first and business class categories.

Factory has designed a ‘push and twist’ foil-cutter for Le Creuset to sit alongside the existing Screwball range. It has been designed as ‘requiring less dexterity, with excellent gift appeal’, says Gary Cooke, international marketing manager at Le Creuset.

Flat beds take off

2004 Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite includes flat beds developed by in-house design team, led by Joe Ferry, with London furniture design group Pearson Lloyd

2002 Singapore Airlines launches flat bed business class seat by Italy’s Avio Interiors

1999 Tangerine teams up with British Airways’ in-house product innovation team, Drive Inc and Davis Associates to develop flat beds for BA’s Club World Service. Follows ‘flying beds’ designed by Design Acumen for BA’s first class passengers three years earlier

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