This ‘floating business class’ is now a step closer to reality

After winning big at the Crystal Cabin Awards in Germany, the innovative design could be coming to a plane near you.

By Chris Ashton, June 16 2022
This ‘floating business class’ is now a step closer to reality

Enter any premium business class and you have a fair idea what to expect: flat beds, an ottoman for your feet, and plenty of storage. However, these often come at the expense of space to move and stretch out… but what if they didn’t?

That’s the idea behind ‘Elevate’, an innovative design which recently took top prize for ‘Cabin Concepts’ at the Crystal Cabin Awards in Hamburg on June 14. And it could be a game-changer.

Unlike all aircraft today that use floor mounted seating tracks, Elevate suspends suite furniture from sidewall attachments to maximise space and create a twin-aisle experience on a single-aisle plane.

There's ample room to stretch out in this one-of-a-kind concept
There's ample room to stretch out in this one-of-a-kind concept

It also results in a neat party trick where the seats look as if they’re ‘floating’ above the floor.

Judged by a panel of industry experts, the now award-winning concept was described as a “visually arresting design [that] uses floating furniture attached to wall braces to give a freer, more organic and more immersive feel than comparable premium accommodation concepts for single-aisle aircraft.”

Intended for first and business class cabins, the suite envelopes the living space to create a private zone, transforming it from mere seat into a residential oasis.

Elevate also marks a refreshing change from some of the latest business suites which have opted to hide passengers away behind high walls and sliding doors.

Renders show a light, bright space with a soothing colour palette and timber screens, as well as custom lighting, a neat slide-out dining tray, and marble-look coffee table. It somehow even makes overhead storage bins look sexy.

A soothing colour scheme and bamboo decals create a leafy oasis in the sky
A soothing colour scheme and bamboo decals create a leafy oasis in the sky

Designed by Seattle-based firm Teague, in collaboration with advanced composite engineers Nordam, who developed the sidemount braces, the next-gen suite is also significantly lighter than its competitors in the sky, helping to make flights more fuel-efficient.

If the design makes you weak at the knees, there’s a good reason for that: industry leader Anthony Harcup, Senior Director of Airline Experience at Teague, was also behind Etihad’s iconic A380 Residence and First Class Apartments.

“At a time when passenger wellbeing and sustainability are industry priorities, ‘Elevate’ heralds-in a new generation of beautiful, simplified cabin products that will enable airlines to deliver exceptional experiences for their passengers with the economic efficiency that these smaller aircraft were designed to deliver,” explains Harcup.

Elevate is made possible by the unique 'Nbrace' system from Nordam
Elevate is made possible by the unique 'Nbrace' system from Nordam

While the concept has primarily been designed to solve pain points for passengers, it also has several advantages for airlines too, with its familiar reverse herringbone layout and solid state design making it easier to engineer and install, and no reduction in passenger numbers.

Whether airlines will incorporate any elements of the design is yet to be seen. But, with a win now under its belt, it’s certainly a step closer to becoming reality. 

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 126

I love it! If only...

Although the timber slats do remind me of the sides of my cot and playpen when I was a toddler...

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 77

And (wood) add far too much weight to ever be used by any airline in the real world.

The name "Elevate" just wins me over, not the green or the fake timber.

11 May 2016

Total posts 9

The material could be replaced for lightweight but it seems only to utilise the space in the first row rather than coming up with a revolutionary idea to give more space to all paxes. Still, it is an innovative idea, I like it.

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 152

It’s a smart concept, “concept” being the operative word. Quite tasteful, although lower yield and moving more towards First turf than simply J-class. The timber-look adds a nice neo-mid-century modern touch, presuming it would be light-weight material if to become a reality.

06 Feb 2021

Total posts 53

The top photo, compared to the others, looks like it has been taken with a Real Estate Agents camera with their typical wide angle lens to make it look larger than it actually is.  As JKH noted, it looks more first than business, and like a lot of suggested seat designs and formats, I suspect will never appear in an aircraft.  


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