If you haven’t toured the Waterfront Seat yet, this is a good time to sit up and get excited.

This futuristic and smart business class seat–developed through a collaboration between Panasonic Avionics, TEAGUE, Formation Design and B/E Aerospace–has been recognised with a Gold Spark design award for its innovation and future-vision.

As Spark Design Award organisers explain, “Our criteria for excellence are the same for all the Spark categories—and are based on the Spark core vision—designing our future. Spark’s mission is to initiate positive design-led change, by highlighting the best new ideas and the best new solutions. Sparks are big ideas embodied as great designs.”

So why did Spark Design Award Judges show so much love for the Waterfront? Just LOOK at it!

It comes down to the blend of design and technology applied to personalising the passenger experience, making a passenger onboard feel very much at home.

  • Waterfront offers seamless and holistic integration of next generation IFE and personal electronic devices for immediate passenger recognition, customised programming and personalised travel updates. 
  • Personalised environmental controls, including seat warming, cooling, and flow of air.  
  • Lighting automatically adjusts to passenger activity onboard. Want to read, watch a film, dine, rest, sleep? Waterfront adapts to whatever you’re into.
  • A 24-inch 4K touchscreen fitted in an edge-to-edge glass structure provides an unparalleled viewing experience.
  • A Panasonic Avionics IFE system is enhanced by “smart-programming” from paired personal devices and entertainment apps. Pairing is enabled through Bluetooth and NFC.
  • There’s also a tablet-like IFE controller which can serve as a second-screen viewer.
  • The seat can be equipped with an international AC charger, multiple USB charging ports, and the option of an inductive charging surface.    

“Business Class seats have always offered an exceptional physical experience. But the physical experience—the hardware—is only half the equation now. So we collaboratively designed a next-generation Business Class seat that cohesively unifies both physical and digital touch points,” TEAGUE explains.

If that’s not a spark of inspiration, I don’t know what.

The Waterfront was one of the most exciting things I saw at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

My main question after taking the Waterfront for a test drive was: “Just how soon can I fly on one of these?”

The answer, of course, lies with airlines. Given the heated competition to offer premium  customers the best experience possible, it shouldn’t be long now.

For those of us who mainly fly at the back of the plane, take comfort that this same brilliant team has already considered the needs of Economy passengers. The Panasonic Avionics Jazz seat, revealed in 2015, includes many flight-improving high-tech features.

 

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