Image via Almadesign, Lda

APEX Media: The “Crystal Cabin Award Winners: Where Are They Now?” series provides updates on past CCA-winning concepts. The 2018 Crystal Cabin Award application deadline is November 3.

Almadesign, Lda is helping to shape the future airline passenger experience with the LIFE Project, which won a Crystal Cabin Award in the Visionary Concepts category in 2012. The Portuguese design company partnered with SETsa, Couro Azul, INEGI, Amorim Cork Composites and Embraer to create an aircraft cabin that features state-of-the-art technology, like floating seats and an immersive infotainment system, while leaving a small environmental footprint. The LIFE Project has since inspired two eco-friendly spin-off projects, DesAIR and NewFACE which both made the Crystal Cabin Award shortlists, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

“The CCA was one of the strongest global recognition of our work by the aviation industry, our partners and peers.” – Elizabeth Remelgado, Almadesign, Lda

The submission phase for the 2018 Crystal Cabin Award, which recognizes the most significant innovations in aircraft interiors, onboard technology, passenger comfort, efficiency, safety and design, is currently active. Candidates may enter by filling out an application form by November 3. The awards now include seven categories, including a new Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity category. Crystal Cabin Award winners will be announced at a ceremony held during Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place from April 10 to 12 in Hamburg.



Elizabeth Remelgado, senior designer at Almadesign, Lda, gives APEX Media an update on the LIFE Project.

Can you provide a description of  the winning concept?

LIFE is an aircraft cabin concept focusing on the use of natural materials. Combining state-of-the-art technology and materials like leather and cork, LIFE presents a vision for a sophisticated cabin with a small environmental footprint. The concept’s design is inspired by the symbiotic relationship between natural and artificial elements.

What makes this concept unique?

LIFE is prepared for business (club seating and executive area) and private use (bedroom and toilet). An immersive spherical infotainment system serves for both work and leisure purposes. The innovative design of the windows, conceptually integrated in a composite isogrid airframe, provides great visibility and natural light.

How does the concept improve the airline passenger experience?

The interactive sphere with an immersive infotainment system serves for both work and leisure purposes, being LIFE’s central feature for the passenger experience. The floating seat concept, the window design and interactive lighting system are also concepts which improve the flight experience and passenger comfort. The use of natural materials highlights the eco-efficient conscience of the manufacturer and for the passenger, a natural contact with all the surrounding surfaces.

How has the concept developed since winning a Crystal Cabin Award?

The concept was further developed in a spin-off project called NewFACE. The composite isogrid structure was developed in a twin engine, v-tail aircraft concept design. This project was a collaboration between the same partners and developed interior and exterior configurations for 2030, focused on eco-efficient solutions and passengers’ needs. Some of the specific material and technological solutions proposed in LIFE were also further developed in a spin-off project called DesAIR, in which a galley for an executive jet was developed, using a novel approach to a recyclable thermoplastic cork core composite material.

How has the Crystal Cabin Award contributed to the development of this concept?

The Crystal Cabin Award strongly contributed to the dissemination of Almadesign’s work, and had a central role in internationalizing the company’s design services. Since then, Almadesign reinforced its role as a player in the aviation sector, with new global clients and partnerships in innovation projects and R&D. This pathway in the aviation sector led to the work developed together with Portuguese flagship airline TAP Air Portugal, in the retrofit projects for the short and long-haul fleet aircraft. The cabin interiors were fully redesigned by Almadesign and the project for TAP’s new Airbus A330 NEO is on its way to completion.

Have you since, or would you still like to enter any other projects for a CCA?

Almadesign has applied three times since 2012: with the DesAIR Project in 2015, the NewFACE (Boxwing) Project in 2016 and together with TAP on the cabin interior design for the short-haul fleet retrofit – all of which were shortlisted.