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Aviation In the press
Interior carpet and fabric innovations fly under the radar
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Rather like reupholstering a beloved chair or sofa, it’s often astonishing how much of a change it can make to alter the fabrics within an airline seating product or across a cabin. Just look to Finnair, which with one fell swoop brought its business class cabin up to date in partnership with JPA Design, using new carpets, seat cushions and soft product.

“An enhanced sense of tactility is achieved through the texture,” Alessia Giardino, senior designer for colours & materials, trends & brand at JPA Design, tells Runway Girl Network about the Finnair project. JPA created a “wool crepe-like weave that creates a soft feel for the seat cover. The surface quality ensures durability, whilst having the ability of reflecting light in different ways. It’s a dynamic and purposeful fabric, whose twisted fibres reveal fresh and natural colours inspired by the Finnair landscape.”

More widely, Giardino says, “textiles have undertaken a huge development in recent years, and their application is increasingly growing in interior design for transport. Traditionally fabric has been conveying tales of history, cultures and country craftsmanship. Comparably today they are ‘weaving’ together technology, aesthetic and functionality, reflecting a brand’s personality and ultimately allowing the user to experience and interact better within the space, through all the senses.”

That’s all very design-y, of course, as might be expected from a leading design house. But it’s clear from discussing both carpets and fabrics with a variety of suppliers and manufacturers at the Aircraft Interiors Expo that there are innovations galore for any airline that has the interest and motivation to bring something new into the cabin.

Passengers, meanwhile, have greater expectations than before, especially as premium airlines market themselves as a holistically designed journey.

“There is a growing need for tactility and a craving for sensory experiences,” JPA’s Giardino says. “Whether woven or knitted, materials are multi-dimensional and fabric embraces that too in order to establish a stronger emotional, unified connection with the user.”

Moreover, fabric is being used increasingly throughout the cabin, notes Giardino. “They are used more frequently on vertical surfaces, on lateral walls where passengers can lean against, or to integrate tech features that can blend in without being intrusive for the users. That answers the double need for a space that feels more domestic and human, as well as having a functional quality, such as soundproofing.”

As elsewhere in the industry, the design devil is in the details — but so is the design divinity. Whether it’s at trade shows, with Lantal’s three-dimensional touch-and feel moodboards, Botany Design’s swathes of swatches, and design houses engaging with an increasingly wide range of airlines, or elsewhere in the process, there is a wealth of expertise and information out there for carriers keen to ensure that they make the most of this fast-changing interiors opportunity.

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