Work / Cathay Pacific

Harmonious CMF design and a tiny revolution in Economy class comfort  

With 22 A350-900 XWB new aircraft ordered, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways issued a request for proposal in 2013 for the design of its brand new long-haul fleet. We won the project to create the colour, material and finish for the whole aircraft, as well as design of the Economy Class seating. The challenge was to set a creative direction for the whole cabin, which extends Cathay Pacific’s brand expression, and to innovate in Economy Class to provide the best possible passenger experience.


  • Product Design
  • Design Engineering
  • Colour, material & finish
  • User Experience & UI
  • Trend Forecasting & Vision Setting


For the cabin look & feel we set out to capture the visual magic and “wow” of Hong Kong, playing with the contrast between the city and the countryside. Infusing traditional Hong Kong influences with the extraordinary contrast of the city’s fast-paced modern vibe.

Innovating and improving comfort within economy class can be really challenging, but we championed the passengers’ desire for more seat comfort and introduced a generous shelf to support their tablet and a convenient place to store and charge their devices and valuables.

With 214 of the A350-900’s 280 seats dedicated to Economy Class, we had to think strategically, and use an exhaustive attention to detail to find the right solutions for Cathay Pacific’s customers.



Interior finishes are inspired by Asian minimalist tradition throughout the A350.  The laminates on the bulkhead features an embossed irregular-striped pattern that is evocative of bamboo, complementing the natural textured finishes that are incorporated throughout the interior across all classes.

Green is an essential colour palette for Cathay Pacific’s brand and three subtly distinctive shades of green are used to distinguish rows of seating in economy class.

Driven by research into passenger’s habits and needs, we created a range of concepts for innovative design solutions that improved the economy class passenger experience.


This juxtaposition between Hong Kong’s traditional rural setting and the fast-spaced hi-tech city is harmonised across all of the interiors finishes, soft furnishings, and colour palette.

A tiny revolution took place in the economy class seating, where we created a proprietary designed six-way headrest that is unique to Cathay Pacific. This patented innovation provides significantly improved lateral support to the passenger’s head when resting or sleeping, which is crucial for rest and sleep when seated in a subtly reclined position.

The growing BYOD on-board trend is catered for with a combined shelf and storage area, that provides a dedicated place tablets and other devices, stowage for small personal belongings and a drinks holder, all in one place.

The six-way headrest on Cathay’s A350 is a tiny revolution.

Cynthia Drescher, Journalist at Runway Girl Network

Creative Leap


Propriety designed six-way economy headrest