The new system uses rotational paired seats and is intended to offer travellers the option of sitting facing others in a ’convivial’ setting, or in the privacy of their own personal ’zone’.
Seymour Powell design director Nick Talbot says the concept has already received interest from one major rail operator.
Talbot says, ’There’s a need for travelling customers to have more control over their environment. There seems to be almost no flexibility on the [current] space, whether you want a “party” atmosphere or a romantic, private one. People want to have more control over privacy, lighting and noise.’
Seymour Powell proposes to use an aircraft-style rigid back shell on the seats, and intends to add utility units and appropriate lighting, allowing users to control the space and ambience to suit their needs.
Talbot says, ’In the case of rail vehicles, we envisage passengers would pre-book a specific layout to suit their needs. In some circumstances, the seat occupants could reconfigure their space according to their requirements at the time.
’For rail operators in the business and premium segment this means being able to offer customers increased convenience and/or privacy according to personal choice.’
Seymour Powell’s design would allow the space to be used for meetings, dining or sleeping, as the seats are designed to convert to loungers or beds.
Seymour Powell design director Nick Talbot has been working with the consultancy’s senior designer Jeremy White on the project for about 18 months
The idea emerged partly as a spin-off from Seymour Powell’s other work, as well as the growing demand for flexibility and bespoke services from consumers
The design also follows a precedent set by China’s high-speed trains, where seats can be rotated at the end of a journey so that once the train turns around, the seats can face the direction the train is travelling in