At this years’ Red Cabin Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit in London, tangerine’s Chief Creative Officer Matt Round and JAL’s Manager, Product & Service Development, Mr. Ohkubo Takahiro, presented a joint talk on Wednesday 4th December titled, ‘Infusing tradition with innovation – a cabin interior design collaboration between JAL and tangerine’. Red Cabin is a global innovation summit where industry leaders come together to discuss the big issues impacting aircraft interiors.
Round and Ohkubo spoke on the strategy underpinning the design of JALs’ recently launched A350-900s and the successful outcome of a three-year collaboration between the two companies. With the upcoming Olympics and a government initiative to increase their inbound traffic, all eyes are on Japan. JAL placed a historic order of 31 A350-XWB; their first-ever Airbus aircraft. Ohkubo explained how JAL’s ambition was to attract more international flyers to its airline, as international travel to Japan is increasing. JAL, therefore, needed a new design concept to embody its brand values, ‘The traditional innovative spirit of Japan’ in a modern, contemporary design. A key aim of the project was to offer passengers something special.
tangerine’s design team had an acute understanding of Japanese culture and international passenger’s needs. They identified that the aircraft would need to offer an authentic experience of Japanese culture without alienating the domestic market through clichéd motifs. The challenge was not to deliver a ‘Japanese style’ cabin, but rather to provide passengers with a truly special experience, expressing a sense of ‘Omotenashi’, a phrase used to describe Japanese thoughtfulness.
tangerine created a design strategy called ‘Infused Essence’ to appeal to both domestic and international customers. During their talk, Round explained that the ‘Infused Essence’ design strategy defined the spirit of Japan as “subtle yet strong, restrained yet distinctive, different elements combined in harmony.”
The Infused Essence strategy is implemented through the design of every touchpoint, from the cabin interior architecture to the seating and the staff behaviour. Round explained how having ideas is one thing but turning them into a reality requires collaboration between people with different skills including different departments within the airline, designers, manufacturers and the supply chain. He stated that “Design strategy sets the direction of travel. People make it happen”.
“Since the launch in July, our customer satisfaction score for the new A350 has seen an increase of 15 points (Survey satisfaction unit),” revealed Ohkubo.
tangerine’s partnership with JAL was executed through close collaboration despite the thousands of miles between the two company’s headquarters in London and Tokyo. With both men speaking fondly of the one-of-a-kind collaborative experience, tangerine’s Matt Round emphasised that “it’s really the people who make it happen.”
As the aviation industry evolves, the importance of collaboration and open, honest discussion between airlines, manufacturers and designers scale with it. Tangerine and JAL have shown the importance of this relationship and the outstanding results that can be obtained through collaboration.