APEX Insight: Aeromexico’s new generation of Rockwell Collins’ MiQ seat features design enhancements by New Territory. APEX Media spoke with Luke Miles, the design studio’s cofounder and creative director, who shared details on the seat’s development and highlighted the importance of flexible and lasting design.
Aeromexico’s updated version of Rockwell Collins’ MiQ business-class seat, which features design enhancements by New Territory, will be installed on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Aeromexico has purchased 60 of these aircraft with an option to buy 30 more.
“We are very interested in design that has longevity and can be future-proofed,” said Luke Miles, cofounder and creative director of New Territory. “We see a gap in that area; where you have to constantly replenish the seat itself or modify the dress covers, in terms of color. I think central to this design was the idea of the seat back having a graphical language, that you can swap out.”
A number of functional elements of the MiQ seat can be switched out to create a new appearance. These customizable parts include the shell on the headrest that holds the new “IFE zone,” the fixed magazine pocket and soft pockets on the back.
The IFE zone comes with a bevel that extends the screen, cleaning up the visuals to create a theatrical frame for the IFE screen. New Territory focused on adding features to the back of the seat, for example, lighting over the fixed magazine pocket enhances the area.
“But the seat back is your real estate as a passenger.”
“Of course, the front of the seat is incredibly important as you approach it, for your appreciation of comfort. You are going to be sitting in it for the duration [of the flight]. But the seat back is your real estate as a passenger,” Miles said. Angles cut into the central structure between the seats also give passengers a sense of their own space, with a pocket for small items or a smartphone.
New Territory also made the tray table larger and added a tablet holder, which considers how today’s passengers may want to use the surface. The seats’ appearance can be updated by changing these design elements.
According to Miles, the Rockwell Collins MiQ seat was an ideal baseline for this design, because of the strength of its original engineering. “What we were excited about was the quality of build of the MiQ,” he explained. “The platform is a very elegantly designed and engineered seat. If you look at the packaging of things like tray tables, the movement, how the thing articulates – the mechanics of – it was all engineered in a very intelligent way.
The MiQ seat also features built-in accessibility features, like armrests that can be lowered flush to the seat cushion, making it easier for passengers with limited mobility to get in and out. “That’s a very nice example of something that [Rockwell Collins] considered at the outset,” Miles said.
While the New Territory design MiQ seat is feature-rich, it is understated. “We wanted to create within the cabin – because it is an extension of the brand – a sense of freedom,” Miles said. “When you walk through the cabin you want to see a form that, where it’s repeated down the cabin, is very elegant – not too cluttered and not noisy, not too busy. It feels repeated in an elegant way. For me, that gives a sense of a calmer interior environment, and quite a contemporary design language.”