Yoga on a plane? Innovation firm designs modular aircraft cabins to bring leisure to the skies

Flyers of the future may be able to enjoy a session of yoga, a gym workout or a fine dining restaurant experience during their journey, thanks to a proposed modular system in aircraft cabins.

A³, the innovation arm of aerospace giant Airbus, launched the Transpose company – which has since become independent – in 2016, with a mission “to change the way aircraft cabins are manufactured and monetised”.

The concept is to create modular cabins with simplified and standardised interfaces that enable large sections to be quickly switched out, depending on the requirements of passengers.

Among the possibilities tested by Transpose are health clubs, yoga studios, bars, restaurants and children’s play areas – all of which could be used by passengers mid-flight.

Designers and engineers have collaborated with the company to develop a proof-of-concept and the construction of a full-scale A330 cabin mock-up, featuring nine modules, in a warehouse in San Jose.

“The architecture of commercial aircraft cabin has changed very little since the dawn of commercial flight, largely due to the complexity of cabin systems, and the hyper-specific structural engineering undertaken in the name of weight-savings,” said Transpose in a statement.

“When taken together, these two factors make designing a new aircraft interior difficult and quite time-consuming, as well as creating barriers to the introduction of new experiences in flying aircraft.

“Recognising that there was no scarcity of novel cabin concepts, A³ looked instead at designing a system that would lower the risks associated with testing out these creative new ideas in service.”

The company claims that airlines will be able to use the modularity of the cabins to fit market demand and improve business performance. They estimate customers will pay up to 35 per cent more for meaningfully different experiences and are “fostering a dialogue” with regulators, brands and leaders in aerospace “to explore how to make modular cabin approaches a reality for passengers”.

Earlier this year, the concept won a Fast Company Innovation By Design Award, bestowed upon designers and businesses solving the problems of today and tomorrow.

Despite allowing Transpose, led by project executive Jason Chua, to establish itself as an independent entity, Airbus remains a stakeholder in the company.

Transpose  Airbus  innovation  airlines  design  modular cabins  Jason Chua 
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